ST4 as a risk management tool at Philips

Over 100 users on three continents at Philips use SCHEMA ST4 for tasks such as creating user manuals that are translated into as many as 35 languages. These figures show just how valuable ST4 is in networked structures. However, there is another interesting special feature when it comes to Philips: Philips Medical Systems DMC GmbH also uses ST4 at its site in Hamburg for service information for the medical technology department – creating and managing employee fault tree analyses directly in ST4.

We spoke to Sascha Bähr, who is in charge of administration for SCHEMA ST4 at Philips Medical Systems DMC GmbH, about this. At the SCHEMA Conference in May 2017, he demonstrated how Philips uses ST4 for fault tree analyses – an interesting use case.

What made you decide to use ST4 for fault tree analyses and what was the idea behind it? How are you benefiting from this now?

We used to create the fault tree analyses in Microsoft Visio in combination with PowerPoint. Although that was easy to do in both programs, when we wanted to update the trees, we had to spend a long time searching for the right place for the different use cases. We lost a lot of time having to do this. The tedious process of making adjustments was simply not user-friendly for our employees.

Since we started producing the fault tree analyses in ST4, all the information can be found and edited quickly. We simply jump to the exact position where content needs to be changed. We then update the fault tree analyses with a few clicks and the change is applied in all the relevant places. This means we can work far more quickly and the quality and efficiency of our work is improved.

At Philips, you produce X-ray tubes and diagnostic X-ray systems. Do you also use ST4 for product documentation and if so, in what way?

Yes, we don’t just use ST4 for fault tree analyses. For us, ST4 is a tool that allows us to centrally represent information and resources that are relevant for different departments.

Alongside fault tree analyses, we also perform the conventional tasks of producing service information and documentation for the end users of our medical products. ST4 ensures that we have all the product information that our technical writers need in one place.

What do you see as the benefits of ST4 for your department at Philips? What has improved since you introduced ST4?

Three features are particularly important for us: the reusability of information, version management and variant management.

Since we started working with ST4, we have been able to reuse all our information, which is required in different environments, centrally and, above all, in an automated manner. At the same time, we are able to trace changes that have been made and see the version status of the nodes and projects at a glance. Our projects also vary enormously in size, with our most extensive project being published in 31 different variants. Thanks to ST4, handling the complexity of our products has been made far easier – this also reduces lead times and we can guarantee the quality of our information products.

These advantages outweigh the disadvantage of not being able to work with the software as flexibly as before. Despite this, it gives rise to fewer errors and the consistency of the information remains constantly high.

Do you see further potential for using ST4 at Philips for future projects?

As in ST4 we have found a CMS that satisfies many of our requirements, we have our eyes peeled for other potential uses.

What would you still like to achieve with ST4?

There are certainly a couple of things we’d like to use ST4 for in future, which would take us in the direction of mobile documentation. These include being able to retrieve fault tree analyses using an app so that they can be used directly on the product. Another goal is to be able to generate our service information in HTML format rather than as a PDF, as at present. And last but not least, we would also find QR codes that link directly to the relevant information handy.

Thank you very much!




Sascha Bähr studied electrical engineering at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and technical writing at Hannover University of Applied Sciences. He has worked at Philips Medical Systems DMC GmbH in Hamburg since 1997 as an information architect and is responsible for X-ray screening systems and SCHEMA ST4 administration.

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