3 Lifecycle Asset Management Lessons From 'Star Wars'

Monday, December 04, 2017

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Remember the Millennium Falcon from “Star Wars”? It was a starship forever on the verge of breaking down and being captured by the Empire. Princess Leia Organa even called it a “bucket of bolts” during one high-pressure escape, highlighting its volatile performance as well as its unusual mix of old and new technologies. Sure, it had a hyperdrive for traveling at the speed of light, but it also had old-fashioned, manually operated weapons systems and numerous hastily tacked-on customizations.

Like many other starships in the “Star Wars” universe, the Millennium Falcon would have benefited from more precise lifecycle asset management. Was it overdue for repairs that might have enabled a smoother ride? Could a different spacecraft have been leased with more favorable and transparent contractual terms than the ones governing original transfer of the Millennium Falcon?

Let’s explore these questions and others to look at how you can optimize maintenance contracts for your own organization, in a galaxy far, far closer than “Star Wars.” Here are three key lessons we can draw from the hit movie franchise:

1. Auditing assets is the only way to find discrepancies

In “The Empire Strikes Back,” C-3PO informed Han Solo that the Millennium Falcon’s hyperdrive motivator had been damaged — the first time Solo was told of this critical issue. Solo’s manual auditing of the ship’s systems wasn’t ultimately fatal to its upkeep, but an automated indicator that flagged issues and kept asset information updated in real time would have saved the crew a lot of time, not to mention last-minute repair drama.

Similarly, a cloud-based platform such as LAMP from LaSalle Solutions provides timely, comprehensive auditing of devices, so you know right away what needs attention. This insight in turn leads to reduced instances of costly downtime across these infrastructures, along with easier management of the relevant maintenance contracts.

2. Clear terms are essential for maintenance contracts

The Millennium Falcon was self-maintained by its crew. Solo and Chewbacca spent valuable time putting out literal and figurative fires around its decks, when they could have been focused on more important tasks, such as supporting the Rebel Alliance.

They ended up in this situation in part because of the ad hoc way in which the Millennium Falcon was initially procured: It was won as an ante in a card game. There was no contract governing the transfer, detailing the current conditions of the ship’s equipment or making provisions for damages and repairs. 

You should secure much more straightforward terms when managing your IT and capital equipment and the contracts associated with them. Clear leasing agreements, automated oversight via LAMP and trusted partners such as LaSalle can help you get the best value from your IT refresh programs and stay on top of maintenance contract management, too.

3. Be sure to have a sustainable path to infrastructure upgrades

Throughout both the main “Star Wars” films and the numerous books, TV shows and games that supplement them, the Millennium Falcon went through an eventual lifecycle. It began as a smuggling freighter, was repurposed as a combat ship in “Return of the Jedi” and was later outfitted with add-ons such as a lightning gun.

These modifications were likely costly, plus they were behind many of the technical hiccups that frequently got the Millennium Falcon and its crew into trouble. Modern enterprise can’t afford similar levels of expense, uncertainty and opacity in how they deal with their equipment leases and maintenance contracts.

The good news is that they don’t have to. By partnering with LaSalle, you gain access to our decades of expertise across leasing, procurement and maintenance contracts, allowing you to set a sustainable trajectory for lifecycle asset management of all your vital equipment. Our diverse mix of solutions — including leasing programs and our cloud-based asset and maintenance contract management platform, LAMP — has a proven track record.

Learn more at elasalle.com.

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