Saturday November 18, 2017

Peripheral Repair

By Michael Ramey and Claudia Hill

Many users of medium and large scale computers justify the purchase of major add-on equipment by forecasting it’s use over 8 to 10 years. On the other hand, many manufacturers of equipment for medium and large scale computers only like to provide support on their products until they reach the decline stage of the life cycle.   This situation creates a dilemma not only for the customer but for the manufacturer. The customer obviously needs a source of spare parts and supplies for a given product. Additonally,customers need a consistent source for technical support on that product. The manufacturer sold the product with the inherent promise of continuing support throughout the product's life. Failing to to honor that promise jeopardizes the future relationship between the manufacturer and it's customer. Pinetree Peripherals, 1nc was conceived in 1992
when the founder, Chuck Tilleman, noticed this kind of gap between StorageTek,a manufacturer of computer backup systems, and some of their largest customers. Being located in Longmont,CO, near STK, meant that a pool of trained and experienced technical personnel were available locally. Some were available full time while others worked part time to help establish test and repair procedures.   Since many of the affected customers were in Europe, Mr. Tilleman established a presence there by hiring an ex-technical support engineer from StorageTek to provide local support. Because European customers emphasized the need for ISO-9000 certification Pinetree designed it's processes and procedures to be compliant from the start. They achieved ISO 9002 certification in January of 1995.   Today PP1 boasts depot repair facilities for 9, 18 and 36 track tape subsystems.
They maintain a 10-day standard turn-around policy but offer expedited repair service and advanced exchange for customers facing machine down time. Pinetree's other services and capabilities include:
inventory stocking and management, asset reclaimation, manufacturing of custom cable assemblies and specialized board repair services. Pinetree performs on-line testing of parts to ensure the closest simulation of the customer’s environment.
  As a continuing step in it's quest for greater customer service, Pinetree has committed to the development of a fully integrated tracking and reporting system. All parts a bar-coded upon receipt and Pinetree's customer service reps can immediately inform customers of the status of their repairs. Eventually, Pinetree plans to make this information available via dial-up or Internet access.