When we started Sim Ops, just over a year ago, we sat down and listed the services for which we thought there would be a demand and which we thought we could offer in a better way than other companies. At that time we included the provision of FSRs, but didn’t really expect much take up, how wrong we were.
What is the FSR and what do they do?
FSE vs FSR; there was a time when, after the installation team had departed, the post qualification party was over and operations begun, the Training Device Manufacturers’ (TDM) representative would step in and correct most of the remaining issues. This person being an Engineer and referred to as a Field Service Engineer (FSE). But now that is not really possible. For software the most the TDM’s representative can achieve is to implement new loads provided from the design team and undertake testing which is useful to the TDM but not necessarily what the end user wants to pay for.
What is of use to the end-user is assistance in starting their maintenance regime (particularly where the device is the end-user’s first) and reinforcement training as well as providing a valuable link between the end user and the TDM. This is better described as what we call the Field Service Representative (FSR).
Who has used our services and why
Interestingly we have had contracts from established TDMs as well as new entrants to the FSTD operator market. With the motivation to look for alternative ways of operating in the Covid driven environment we find ourselves in (see below), it seems to have been the availability of resources at the right time and right location that was the main factor. In effect Sim Ops allows the TDMs to use us as a surge capacity, without having the costs of maintaining a large workforce.
The COVID factor.
As with every other aspect of our industry, and every other aspect of our lives, Covid has certainly played its part. In particular, restrictions on travel have made it more necessary to use locally based people, this of course is where we at Sim Ops were able to step in and help with our network of contractors based across the world. Like many other things in our daily lives that have changed as a result of Covid , like working from home and travelling less, at Sim Ops we see that this may become more of a normal way of doing things going forward.
What’s in it for the end-user?
One of the reasons we hadn’t expected this service to be popular was that we thought the device end-users (the TDM’s Customer) would perhaps be against the idea. “I’ve paid you for this service and I expect your employee”. But, as we mention above, the days when an FSR could do software corrections are now over and the other FSTD maintenance or update services are not so dependent on access to Intellectual Property (IP). For assistance with maintenance if the Sim Ops FSR cannot interpret the TDM’s documentation what chance would a new FSTD operator’s sim technician team stand, without prior simulator experience?!
The Honest Broker
One advantage of using a Sim Ops FSR that we had not foreseen is that, when testing deficiency corrections, they become the “honest broker”. As an independent the FSR can then act as a dispassionate arbitrator should, as sometimes happens, disputes occur.
Although we have not done this yet we believe that there would be a big advantage for all if there was a contractual reliability and/or availability demonstration period post qualification of any device delivery.
How can Sim Ops Help
One of the strengths of Sim Ops is the depth and breadth of our network, we are able to provide qualified personnel at reasonable rates in many of the countries in the world, so far we have never failed to find the right people in the right country; prior to assignment each FSR undergoes training on the specific device if it differs from previous experience. If you want to get local, contact us.