Hardly any engineering product is free of trouble and it has to go through service work, corrective or preventive. Fixing a mechanical pencil with a jammed lead is relatively an easy task for a mechanical engineer, whereas maintaining a power plant requires thorough planning, material handling, work order processing, and huge workforce. Naturally service work for large structures require a well designed database. The authors have shown  the importance of feeding service information back to the designer for authorization so the serviceperson will not “invent” maintenance work that may lead to product failure. This paper further suggests opening the whole service process to the public. The idea is especially valuable for some industries that need public acceptance, e.g., nuclear power generation. Nuclear power generation is often a subject of debate for public acceptance. This paper discusses two incidents of cover-ups by utility companies that caused large setback in their public acceptance, one case of overreaction triggered by the media showing dramatic accident scenes without explaining what was going wrong, and an example of poor management that cost a utility company its credence with the public. Up to the time of these incidents utility companies, out of the mindset of “Public do not understand our highly technical operation so telling them what is going on just creates confusion,” tended not to fully explain events that may have affected the public. Thanks to the way information flows around the world these days, even though we may not follow the “techy” words, there are those that understand the phenomena and are good at rephrasing the information so we can easily understand them. The utility company in the poor management case, Chugoku Electric Power Company (ENERGIA), in its efforts to recover the public trust, started a new service information system on the web that opens information about troubles and nonconformance in their plants to the public. This paper explains this new system that is currently in operation. It is a total change in the way a utility company interacts with the public. The courageous step by ENERGIA raises the public knowledge and awareness of nuclear power generation and assures security and safety to the society. The INTERNET is making it harder for companies, administration, educational institutions or any other entities to operate without public acceptance. Opening information is a way we all have to get used to in the coming years.
- Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
Service Information Database for Consumer Acceptance
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Iino, K, Nakao, M, & Hayashi, T. "Service Information Database for Consumer Acceptance." Proceedings of the ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference. Volume 9: 23rd International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology; 16th Design for Manufacturing and the Life Cycle Conference. Washington, DC, USA. August 28–31, 2011. pp. 579-585. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/DETC2011-47309
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