Well If I answer this question in one word, it’s YES. OEM definitely needs IETM.
Then I need to justify why “YES” And about alternatives if any.
Now IETM has become a mandatory deliverable when OEM is supplying any Electrical, Mechanical or electronic systems to the Navy/IAF/Army
All manuals i.e. UHB, Technical Manuals soft copies / PDFs anyhow how will be given on DVD and the same will also be given as Hard copies. IETM software /DVD is also supplied along with them.
What exactly is ETM?
In simpler words, it’s an electronic copy of your user manuals. PDF is also an electronic manual. Let’s assume that your system has 20 Documents around 5000 pages altogether and you have delivered them on DVD. When a problem arises, the operator needs to refer hard copy for a solution.
Suppose, there is an issue with a piece of equipment, i.e. receiver. Now, the user has to refer User manual, maintenance manual, and troubleshooting manual which may be more documents to resolve the issue. Referring to 5-6 hard copy manuals will be difficult. And moreover, we cannot do “Ctrl +F” searches as we can do in PDF.
Hence refereeing Hardcopy is difficult. Then how about referring to PDF? Yes, certainly, a PDF is better than a HARD copy. Still, we need to refer to multiple pages and multiple documents. Switching between pages and documents is also very difficult. Cross-reference is also a challenge or limitation in PDF.
In such a scenario, IETM is very handy and user-friendly. With a single click, we can get complete information from all 5000 pages and we can have filters to narrow down our search criteria we can have hyperlinks within the manuals and also to other manuals, hyperlinks to Images, videos, and drawings for more clarity on the issue that we are searching.
The Main Purpose Of IETM
IETM: is to fasten the search process. A user should find the required information in seconds. The user interface will allow users to reach a specific point very easily and conveniently.
Users can do annotations and book markings too. Like Google, IETM also saves search history and can suggest related keywords or Best matches, etc. These IETMs are password protected hence, an unauthorized person cannot access the documents.
We can increase or decrease the font size. We can see it in full screen. IETM is browser-based hence it uses very less system resources and is very fast. IETM is developed in angular and Node JS hence, the software adjusts in all sizes of monitors/displays.
IETM also contains all the manuals and drawings arranged in a predefined manner and in the proper Table of Content. Hence, users can also refer to original manuals and drawings too.
Glossaries and observations also add flavor to the usage.
IETM can be served as a “DIGITAL LIBRARY” or “Repository”on the equipment.
One MNC/OEM has provided complete Documents, Images, Videos, Drawings illustrations, test documents, and Acceptance Letters everything into IETM apart from regular User manuals and production manuals. It is like a one-stop solution for every reference.
If OEM has any 3d Videos then we can plug them into IETM too.
The bottom line is that IETMs are a really very effective method to refer to manuals. Coming back to the question, of do we really need IETM, then the straight- forward answer is if your Tender document says so, then you need to deliver IETM.
There are NO alternatives for IETM. IETM has specific guidelines mentioned by the Joint Service Group –(JSG).
My tender does not specify Level 3 or Level -4. What should I do?
We have come across a few Tenders, especially 3-4 years back tenders, where the client has just mentioned IETM only. Did not mention whether it is Level 3 or Level -4.
Generally, the cost for Level 4 is almost double of cost of Level -3. Hence you can take decisions based on the size of systems i.e. number of pages etc.
If pages are below 1000, you can propose or deliver Level -3.