What we do
When you come to AST we will analyse and evaluate your requirement then explore solutions to achieve your aim.
Listen to your requirement
Understand your unique specification
Plan a personalised solution
Develop a solution incorporating authoring, design and translation
Your product is our product
We think of ourselves as an extension of your business and product. All documentation we provide carries with it the AST name and reputation, so you can be
assured we care as much as you do.
Clarity of delivery
Part of our planning process is to identify clear stages for delivery and invoicing. This ensures advanced knowledge of what will be delivered and invoiced, and clarity on when.
Your deadline is our deadline
We will consider your deadline and prioritise your needs. Not every customer needs their manual delivered to a tight deadline:
- Often the material needs to be gathered
- The information is not yet available
- The technical experts are not available
- Business and staff have other priorities
But when you do we will always prioritise your needs.
Apply most suitable cost approach for your purchasing method or budgetary needs. Pricing method options:
- Menu pricing (where measurable standard cost can be established)
How we do it
Our technical authoring team will bring to your documentation:
- Symmetry with your existing branding
- Speed of access to information
- Customer ability to self-help
We will work with your teams including:
- Your technical team to extract their expert knowledge
- Your suppliers to encourage them to provide the right information for your documentation
- Your client to ensure your delivery meets your contractual obligations
The delivered document type and method is matched to our client's needs and end-user suitability. Traditionally this has been
Word & PDF and for many it still is. As online delivery and access has become more commonplace we have incorporated these traditional
file types into web-based HTML deliveries. Where necessary professional technical authoring software is used to build custom online documentation.
AST uses the most up to date software programs making use of the latest available features, and prolonging the compatibility
period for each delivery method.
We use 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) security to protect held files, and 128-bit AES to protect files during
the transfer stage.
We analyse internal costs and monitor time usage against milestones for time overruns, as this often indications areas
of the documentation process that need investigating, addressing and a suitable response.
Why you need it
- Large projects require many specialist teams of experts to deliver successfully
- They are too complex for any team to ‘have a go’ at any element outside their core skillset
- AST has filled the role of sub-contract technical authors on many major projects
- AST are used to delivering documentation on large projects with multiple stakeholders and layers of hierarchy, working with multiple engineering teams sometimes spread over many locations
- AST are used to managing large volumes of information from multiple sources and of varying type and complexity
- AST will explore methods for improving the gathering, organising and processing of information, to streamline the process and maintain consistency throughout the documentation. We often do this through process automation using computer programming tools
- AST can work with contractors to offer competitive tender pricing to help them win work. We can look at ways of applying efficiencies to the documentation process to reduce costs where this is a deal-breaking factor
Expanding companies outgrowing DIY manuals
- Successful companies eventually outgrow in-house generated manuals
- As sales grow, product portfolios diversify, documentation volume becomes too great for staff to maintain
- In-house staff become too busy with their main duties
- Successful companies naturally desire more professional technical publications
- Products become more technologically advanced, more feature rich, adding a new level of sophistication and complexity that increasingly becomes more difficult to document
- Skilled professional authors are required to break down the features into processes in a clear, logical structured way
- Customers need to be able to use all of the available features and maintain the product safely.
Products with no documentation
- Early stage companies often provide little or no end user documentation with their products
- Can you be sure customers are using your product properly? Are they getting the most out of your product? Are they maintaining it correctly?
- Professional documentation will add to the useability of your product
- It could be costing you repeat purchases and lost customer recommendations
- All products are an investment, from development to launch, marketing to achieving sales. Professional documentation is the final investment adding the finishing touch complimenting the product
Existing manual redevelopment
- Good quality existing manuals can be improved further to match your customer expectations by incorporating customer feedback
- You may wish to incorporate up to date technology and delivery methods to improve accessibility
- A common improvement to useability is to produce a subset from existing manuals. Making a more practical concise, quick reference alternative to the full manual
- Repositioning a manual for translation by reducing word count to reduce translation cost
- Environmental focus may drive redevelopment to transition manuals online, reducing the reliance on paper usage.
Product benefits of professional manuals
- Satisfy end-user
- Use product first time
- Repeat use
- Utilise all features of product
- Increase sales of ancillary products (spare parts / accessories by highlighting need)
- Happy customer
- Buy again
- Avoid misuse or personal injury
- Avoid mistakes through incorrect use
- Avoid incorrect maintenance
- Avoid incorrect installation
- Avoid damage to equipment
- Avoid warranty issues (due to incorrect maintenance / install / use)
Process benefits of professional manuals
- Avoid mistakes or incorrect use
- Prevent lost time due to mistakes or incorrect use
- Prevent lost time searching for information if badly written
- Prevent lost sales due to lack of procedural knowledge or ease of use
- Utilise all information available
- Satisfy end-user
- Happy team member and customer