Repair and Supply Chain

Chris Chapman, Director of Technical Operations at Renova, overseeing the repair operations and implementing innovative solutions for clients' electronic devices

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How Renova's Tech Team Rises To The Occasion To Solve OEM Challenges

At Renova, we help businesses through our electronic repair services. We also help solve complex supply chain challenges. But lately, we are encountering more eclectic requests. Of course, a lot of these questions arise from the supply chain disruption and chip shortage.  Though our aftermarket services are customized to meet unique client demands, continues to stretch beyond our normal day-to-day – as do we all, vendors and customers alike.

We invited Chris Chapman, Director of Technical Operations at Renova to reflect on how we are solving both older and more recent challenges for our customers. 

At the very least, we wanted to share recent highlights how Renova helps our customers mitigate challenges with supply chain and PCBA Repair (Printed Circuit Board). 

What is your role at Renova?

I am the Director of Technical Operations. I oversee our Technical Team and ensure product moves efficiently from our tech room through quality assurance. I love working at Renova because every day is a new challenge to solve, which makes it exciting.

With the ongoing supply chain disruption, we have to think outside the box, allocate more time and energy in R&D, and find innovative ways to help our customers.

How would you describe Renova’s services?

We get the whole mix of customers, which gives us a unique perspective and skill set. It’s always nice to have technicians that can move from repairing surveillance equipment, self-service kiosk, or automotive technology. We cross train for that reason. We’re kind of like if you took a Prius and added a V8 engine. Wait, I think they already did that, but you get the idea.

We have the technical know-how and we can move quickly, whereas larger aftermarket services providers or reverse logistics hubs would be waiting on schematics, waiting on a project manager, and redlining a statement of work. I’d say that sets us apart.

How does Renova rise to the occasion and what challenges are OEMs experiencing?

First, we hear OEMs are unable to get parts abroad.  On our side, the disruption has been essentially the same for us, but we are able to get the components faster. We have a long history of finding “hard to come by parts” as we have dealt with the repair of legacy equipment for years.

It is one of the processes often required in rework or refurbishment. A lot of the repairs do not require CPU replacements and it when it comes to components, we almost always get them as needed. We have great relationships in place with our component suppliers.

Tell us about bandwidth and resource challenges many OEMs are experiencing.

I’d say bandwidth and staffing has been a critical challenge. One way, we are helping many of our customers is simply increasing repair output instead of buying new- as the chips needed for new just aren’t available. We are adding technicians on our side to handle the increase in product flow.

What would you recommend to OEM’s who are taking it on the chin because of the shortage?

First, don’t hesitate to turn to aftermarket services providers like Renova. In fact, most of the OEMs and CMs we support have their own internal repair teams and proprietary parts. We simply help out to address bandwidth challenges and projects that involve complex repair like BGA replacements, trace repair, diagnosing, and troubleshooting mainboards.

Secondly, focus a bit more on the sustainability of existing products. Not only is this good for our environment, but it is also sustainable regardless of supply chain disruptions.

A good first step is to determine what might be reclaimed from existing unused products and assemblies in your inventories. Overall, your customer will be grateful and buy new when it is available.

Can you tell us about a recent customer challenge that Renova helped solved?

A lot of the project work we do is highly proprietary. It’s always the lion and mouse story if you remember that one as a kid. A recent project we completed and I can only give everyone a basic summary.

We talked briefly about “Project Work”. We helped one of our customers through a recent supply chain conundrum, if you want to call it that. We received a volume-based order of devices that needed to be tested from our OEM customer.

What was the expected lead time on the project?

The OEM had a significant order from their CM (Contract Manufacturer) that got seized at a border on the way to their facility coming into North America. The units then sat in a warehouse for a period of time. Whether the lag was related to supply chain or covid-19, we don’t know, regardless, the warranty period was close to expiring. Renova was then engaged to put out the fire. Lead time was critical.

What other tasks were involved in this project?

Renova was tasked to support the complete testing and kitting process. The OEM wanted to ensure the units had been tested before reaching their end customer. Part of the testing involved heating the units to a specific temperature for 24 hour and multiple power cycles, upgrading software, de-assembling/assembling, and relabeling the units.  

Did Renova deliver?

Once the units arrived in our facility, it was all hands-on deck and we knocked out the project in two weeks, relabeling units so they can show they went through Renova’s thorough testing process required by the OEM. Yes, we delivered and in record time. 

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