Why Use SOTS

SOTS is about communicating outage data between a TL 9000 certified company and its customers - efficiently, economically, and accurately. TL 9000 registration requires a certified organization to collect field performance data for the products within their scope of registration, but this can sometimes be very difficult. Field performance data, as the name implies, occurs outside of the TL 9000 certified organization's control, and many times events that would be reportable by the rules of TL 9000 are noted by the customer, but never reported to the TL 9000 certified organization. Quite often a product will recover on its own, or the customer's maintenance organization will address the problem without reporting the event to the supplier. This can lead to a fundamental disconnect: a customer that is frustrated by poor field performance, and a supplier who is completely unaware of the problem. This can allow problems, which could be quickly and economically addressed by the supplier, going on for extended periods of time. A supplier cannot correct unknown problems. SOTS addresses this disconnect by providing a method for the routine communication of field performance data between the customer organization and supplier organization.

There are certain measurements and data that can only be provided by the customer. Examples include outage events and product field population information. While outage events can be gathered by the Supplier in other ways, such as customer requests for assistance, the information gathered in that manner may be incomplete and not provide the information necessary to improve product quality. Without outage information and population data being systematically provided by all customer organizations for a given product, the information produced by the TL 9000 process will be incomplete. A simple example: if a Supplier has five major customers of approximately equal size, and one customer reports systematically (100% of outages) and the other four report sporadically (5% of outages), the result will be a significant understatement of the product failure rate (approximately 25% of the true failure rate). Therefore, it is necessary that there be a process for systematically relating outage event information and population data to the Suppliers.

While it would be possible for each user of TL 9000 to develop a process for communicating this information, efficiencies can be achieved by having a standard process and language for communicating the outage information. SOTS provides this process to efficiently and effectively exchange TL 9000 related information between organizations. Having an efficient outage collection process provides more complete input to the Supplier, resulting in more accurate product quality reporting.

While the primary audience for SOTS implementation is the Information Technology or Database professionals who work in the customer and TL 9000 certified organizations, Suppliers and Customer organizations may be very large with many departments that can benefit in different ways from the use of SOTS. Below are some ways that other departments can benefit from the use of SOTS:

  • Customer - Procurement
    More accurate product quality data will result in better purchasing decisions.
  • Customer - Operations
    Realistic view of product performance and a better view of network reliability.
  • Organization - Customer Support
    Better outage information, especially on small - short duration events, will better allow proactive product improvements and superior product support.
  • Customer/Organization - IT
    Having a specification for the information that needs to be exchanged between Customer and Organization, allows the IT department to know the requirements and to better support the outage reporting process.
  • Customer/Organization - Quality Management
    Accurate data is necessary for effective quality improvement initiatives.