Case Study: RJ Reynolds leaves LinkOne for AIC

The world’s most successful manufacturers and operators always strive to optimize productivity and yield more value from their facilities.  A critical area of this process lies in reducing equipment downtime, which can be helped by quickly finding spare parts information and adding such data into Work Orders.  While paper parts catalogs have long been an industry standard for this process, many forward-thinking businesses sought to enhance the way they manage parts information by leveraging Interactive or Electronic Parts Catalogs, such as LinkOne.

The benefits of the LinkOne solution are clear, but fundamental flaws in its architecture and lack of content conversion services left businesses at a difficult crossroads: they want the benefits of a modern parts catalog, and better administrative tools, without wasting the resources they sunk into a LinkOne implementation.

In recent years, some of America’s largest manufacturers, RJ Reynolds, has found a better way forward with Asset Information Center (AIC).  They moved off LinkOne and found AIC to be much better at managing parts information and reducing equipment downtime. In this article, we will share their quotes and insights learned in the process.


Experience with LinkOne

“There were still some people around here who had struggled going through LinkOne after ten years of use.

Outdated Architecture

LinkOne was developed in the early 90’s, a time where the “web world” didn’t exist. Its objective was to convert “paper-based parts catalogs” into an electronic format, which limited its functionality to “PDFs bolted onto the Bill of Materials in an on-premise only PC application.”  While many LinkOne users were able to access basic parts information, they missed out on the strategic benefits of a more interactive solution with mobile offline access, advanced administrative tools, part-level reliability reporting and easy access to dynamic information.


Same Parts, Different Data

“LinkOne allows users to manually make their own edits. Doing this for ten years, this creates many different variations for each part, description, SAP numbers, etc.”

Each ‘item’ (or part) in LinkOne is treated independently, meaning that an item in two different pages have no relation with one another, even though they might represent the same spare part.  Due to this, data quality is often compromised during the inefficient process of updating hundreds of identical parts individually.  Identical items, across hundreds of pages, often have varying information and there is no way to “apply all” for an update.

Big problems come up when the LinkOne customer wants to incorporate Material Master information into the catalogs and keep this up to date.  Adding and updating SAP Codes, adding and updating part numbers, enhancing descriptions, etc. are all tasks that have to be done for every instance of a part.  This forces admins to republish dozens or hundreds of books every time while compromising the integrity of their data.


Content Conversion Services

Software aside, we all understand the value of finding parts faster and reducing equipment downtime.  The question is, “How does LinkOne convert my parts data into an interactive format?”  The answer is, “They don’t.”  Hundreds of businesses have found out, after buying LinkOne, that they offer very limited and extremely expensive services to convert parts information.  As project costs inflated every year with license fees, maintenance, and additional services, many LinkOne users began exploring the most robust way to manage parts information, which brought them to AIC.


Introducing: Asset Information Center

“Ease of use of AIC is twelve on a scale of ten.  It knows what you’re searching for before you even search for it.”


Modern Architecture

AIC was developed in 2012, a time where the “web world” was fully developed and mature, and offers both Cloud and On-Premise solutions.  Its robust architecture provides a single graphical point of reference for all parts information, from a variety of data sources, on any device.  Built with users in mind, technicians can do much more than just find parts faster, they can: access real-time ERP data, easily integrate with other systems, generate part-level reliability reports to make smarter maintenance decisions, and view training videos and documents associated with each part.


Dynamic Information

LinkOne is an Electronic Parts Catalog.  AIC’s functionality extends so much further, that the original title doesn’t even describe it, which is why its users refer to it as an Interactive Parts Catalog.  With easy integration to any ERP, AIC provides a rich variety of useful information in a centralized and easy to digest view.  Callouts on the parts catalogs are hot-pointed to the Bill of Materials and can be easily color coded to show if there is stock on hand or useful reliability information.


Global Parts Data

“AIC highlighted our data problem from LinkOne. Once they did a one-time cleanup, it was a massive problem fixed for good.”

With AIC, users can view and edit global data very easily.  Its unique architecture automatically fixes incorrect information associated with parts if they vary from the Material Master.  Not only does this reduce hundreds of errors in the process, but also provides an incredibly efficient mechanism for maintaining parts information.


World-Class Services

Metanoia is the most experienced catalog conversion agency in the world.  For over 20 years, we have been the go-to service provider for premier businesses moving from Physical to Interactive access of parts and reliability information.  Metanoia has built over a million pages of interactive parts catalogs and builds Bills of Materials (BOMs) for clients during implementation.


In Summary

Interactive Parts Catalogs are the core of our business.  With over 20 years of experience with LinkOne, we identified massive gaps in their architecture.  Our clients demanded a premium Interactive Parts Catalog solution, so we built AIC.  No other business has rivaling experience and focus as Metanoia in this field.