We have been working with customers for over 35 years to implement CMMS / EAMS solutions worldwide. During this time we have seen many different approaches to try and integrate these systems into existing or new processes and procedures for the surrounding business environment. This series of “Success Topics” is our attempt to share some of the recurring topics that we feel provide the best return on investment of time and effort to address.

Work Order Management is central to equipment and facility maintenance. In this arena, there are two primary types of work order, preventive and corrective. Preventive are those tasks that are usually repeated on a periodic basis and used to maintain the proper operation of the equipment. Corrective are the tasks taken to fix problems or used to make one time changes to the equipment or process.

CMMS / EAMS Systems are often implemented to help manage the complex schedules of preventive maintenance tasks. Because of the emphasis on PM tasking less importance is placed on the management of corrective work orders. This results in many corrective tasks being poorly documented, and usually after the completion of the work. Planning these tasks and capturing useful information at the completion will greatly enhance an organizations ability to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the maintenance operation and improve product quality.

Why take the time to plan and document corrective maintenance?

The goal of any maintenance operation is to ensure the availability of equipment and to ensure that its operation meets the design goals for the process, in a cost effective manner. Current practices emphasize the migration from reactive maintenance to preventive and predictive tasks to reduce the occurrence of unplanned, corrective maintenance events. Therefore management sees time and money spent on corrective tasks as “bad” in the KPI measurement area. This seems to have resulted in the belief that corrective maintenance is not as important as the management of the preventive and predictive maintenance tasks.

What is being missed is the chance to both reduce the costs of the inevitable corrective tasks, as well as capturing the information needed to improve the preventive and predictive program.

There are two main topics to be discussed in this document, the planning of the corrective task and the capture of useful completion information.

Planning Corrective Work Orders

Too many organizations claim that there is no justification for having maintenance planners. But there is an argument that for the normal organization, the planning function can be performed by the existing supervisory staff. The goal here is to take the time to review the action before blindly sending someone out to fix the problem. What is meant by review is:

  • Parts Availability – are parts in inventory to do the task? By creating the work order and identifying the equipment, links to spare parts can be used to check on inventory availability. If materials need to be ordered, the Purchase Order can be created linking back to the task to improve communications when the part arrives and linking the costs to the task.
  • History – is this problem occurring too often? Having good history should result in a simple query to see how often this problem is occurring and possibly trigger a more extensive intervention to better address the problem.
  • Safety – what physical precautions and employee qualifications are required to make sure the work can be performed in a safe manner?
  • Schedule – when can the work be performed? Having a list of planned work makes it easier to interact with operations to determine when the tasks can be performed.

Capturing Useful Completion Information

A goal of having a CMMS / EAMS should be the ability to analyze history to improve the overall maintenance operation. To do this corrective actions need to be documented in a way that the CMMS/EAMS reporting system can make this job easier. There are a few approaches that help:

  • Equipment Downtime – by capturing the length of time that the equipment is out of service permits the reporting system to rank and identify bad actors – equipment with excessive issues.
  • Problem codes and Failure Codes – these codes enable an organized process to analyze equipment reliability issues without having to read through descriptions of work performed.
  • Parts Used – linking parts used to the tasks identifies what components are failing and factors into any reliability assessment.

How to Improve

In general, a review of the whole maintenance work flow should be done to integrate some level of planning of corrective work orders into the daily operation. The following are some recommendations for steps to be considered to ease this transition.

Work Request Generation

Operators should be trained to use the CMMS / EAMS system to enter problem reports or work requests. This improves communications between the operators and maintenance while documenting and starting the planning process. This step also identifies problems that have been already reported and permits operators to check on the status of resulting actions.

Parts Lists

Take the time to build good parts lists to link your inventory back to the equipment. This step alone will simplify the planning step and greatly improve efficiency of the whole maintenance process.

Improved Equipment Descriptions

If you want operations and maintenance staff to embrace the work order system, they need to be able to look up equipment information using their knowledge of the facility.

Simplified Problem Codes

Problem Codes are intended to be a way to designate the symptom of the problem. Keep this list to less than twenty (12 is better). These should point to the reason operations is reporting the problem.

Simplified Failure Codes

Failure Codes are used by maintenance to try and report why the problem occurred. Since most CMMS / EAMS system do not have an extensive Reliability Centered Maintenance function, the intent here is not to try and determine root causes as much as getting maintenance staff to report what they can determine.

Reliability Review Meetings

Management should have monthly meetings to review corrective actions that have occurred and make decisions to take actions to reduce unplanned events. These are when reports of work order history on the equipment is invaluable in identifying your bad actors and what actions should be taken.

To request a free live demo to learn more about how GP MaTe can assist with correct work orders click here.

About GP MaTe
GP MaTe is a User-friendly maintenance and material management system that facilitates maintenance planning and inventory control. Our product has many optional modules that support Safety (PSM, MOC and LOTO), Budgeting, Multi-plant information sharing, and Operator Tours and Data Collection. The system is available in many languages and supports vendor currency conversions.