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How to improve the efficient utilization of test resources

Validation is a crucial part of vehicle development. Accordingly, the need for investments in test systems is increasing. The efficient utilization of existing test resources holds an enormous potential for process optimization and cost savings. The following article shows how to leverage this potential.

Advance planning

One good measure for increasing test resource utilization is transparently planning test activities in advance. If tests are well planned and prepared, if all resources are available at the testing time and technicians don’t  have to search for resources when starting a test, unnecessary downtime is avoided. A good overview over the upcoming tests and transparent information about the current planning help to identify empty slots and to optimize the occupancy rate of each test bench or other testing resource.

Effective testing process

Besides the early planning of all activities it is very important that participants which are in charge of tasks have all information available to execute them. Missing or unclear information when starting a task leads to time consuming communication and research and therefore also has a negative effect on test efficiency and test resource utilization. This emphasizes that a clear testing process is necessary which ensures the completeness and accuracy of all available data at the different process stages.

Measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s):

Another factor for the utilization is the measurement and tracking of key performance indicators. Only if the utilization is regularly traced and analyzed it can be increased on an ongoing basis. Some actions for improvement might have more impact than others. The effect of those diverse actions to increase efficiency or utilization will become only visible if KPIs are regularly calculated, published and analyzed.

Effective handling of late changes and late test requests

Practice shows that – on the one hand – testing departments have a high interest in planning tests far in advance. But on the other hand, their customer prefer to be very flexible with their testing orders. Both have their reasons. A planning in advance helps the test department to reach a higher efficiency and utilization rate and reduces the error rate as well. However, business does not always allow to request tests several weeks in advance. Generally we can say:

“The higher the utilization rate, the more difficult it is to integrate late changes and last minute tests. Or vice versa: The more a test department has to cope with late changes and last minutes tests, the lower is the utilization rate and test efficiency”

To keep the impact of late changes onto the test resource utilization to a minimum a test planning process is required which allows to integrate ongoing and late changes with as little efforts as possible and with avoiding the creation of problems in already planned test.

Our value proposition

Peak Test Management Suite embraces those factors in one software and offers you a wholistic approach to request, plan and manage all testing activities in your test department therefore acting as the base for improving efficiency and utilization in your test department on an ongoing basis.