3  FM quick reads on work orders

1. Maintenance Strategy: Work-Order Management


Scheduling work orders causes significant pain and heartburn for most maintenance and engineering departments trying to escape the grasp of chaos and become world-class organizations. One third critical strategy to successful work-order scheduling is to never overschedule your maintenance team, writes Michael Cowley, CPMM, is president of CE Maintenance Solutions:

"Too many organizations believe if they overschedule technicians, they will get more done each week. The truth is completely the opposite. When you continually overschedule, customers think nothing is a high priority for the department. Nothing is more important than anything else, so workers just plod along, moving on to whatever they believe is the next most important assignment.

"The key to determining the appropriate level of scheduling is to take total available hours, subtract the normal amount of reactive work, and subtract the normal lost hours, such as personal time, vacation, and meetings. Planners then should schedule 95-100 percent of the remaining available hours.

"The difference between 95 percent and 100 percent depends on the complexity of the work. If the task is extremely complex and involves other work sources, such as contractors, perhaps schedule at 95 percent. If you are in total control of all work, then the percentage can edge toward 100 percent.

"No matter the amount of work scheduled, you should always have some work in your back pocket to fill gaps in the schedule. Fill-in work is defined as tasks technicians can stop and start easily without affecting the outcome.

"Once you succeed at regularly completing more than 95 percent of scheduled work, you can increase the total hours scheduled. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if schedule compliance drops below 85-90 percent, back off a little on the scheduled amount and identify the cause of the decrease. Once you figure it out, you can begin to increase the scheduled percentage.

"The keys to successful scheduling are setting goals, having a solid plan to begin scheduling work, and always having a method to measure your progress."


2.  Maintenance: Focus on Work-Order Management

Scheduling work orders causes significant pain and heartburn for most maintenance and engineering departments trying to escape the grasp of chaos and become world-class organizations.

Maintenance and engineering managers have tried work-order scheduling in many forms, but most have found only limited success because they overlook key strategies and building blocks essential for making work-order scheduling successful. One of the first issues managers need to address is the reason they want to schedule. In other words, why is it important to the department, the organization and customers?

The first reason is that it can improve customer service. We must have a structured maintenance process that allows us to promise to our customers when we will be on the job site to perform the promised work. Think of waiting for the cable guy. Departments too often continue the habit of promising to do things but then rarely showing up on time. The results are reduced customer satisfaction, lower morale, and increased daily work chaos.

If we want to improve customer satisfaction and customers' willingness to work with the maintenance organization, we must be reliable and perform as we promise. Doing so will change their perception of the maintenance department and change the perception of maintenance from being part of the problem to being part of the asset-management solution.

The second reason work-order scheduling is important is that it improves labor efficiency. If departments successfully schedule work, the cost to perform that work drops significantly because planners can better coordinate labor and materials. When the cost to perform work drops, it indicates technicians completed the work more efficiently, meaning the maintenance department can complete more work with the same amount of staff.

The third reason for work-order scheduling is that it improves the work's quality and increases worker safety.

3.  Asset Data Management: Four Software Solutions

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor — Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is the functionality of four asset data management systems, or ADM systems.

Four of the most common ADM systems include: computerized maintenance management systems, or CMMS; enterprise asset management systems, or EAM; computer-aided facility management, CAFM, systems; and integrated workplace management systems, or IWMS.

Maintenance and engineering managers tend to be most familiar with two types of ADM technologies:

First is CMMS. Departments that provide asset management and customer services should consider a CMMS, which supports core maintenance activities necessary to keep assets performing optimally and cost-effectively. Modules associated with CMMS technologies include: asset and equipment management; inventory parts management; work management for vendor and staff time; work-order management; a help desk; and inspections management.

Second is CAFM. This technology benefits departments that manage leases, space, building operations and maintenance. Increasingly, managers also require project controls to effectively plan, coordinate, and execute large projects. While most CAFM tools support asset management and maintenance operations, many do not provide the depth of functionality in this area of a CMMS.

Beyond CMMS and CAFM, managers can consider two additional ADM options:

The first is EAM. These applications provide more functionality to support large-scale project management, energy monitoring, reliability maintenance, planning, scheduling, and integration with building-automation systems. EAM technologies also can integrate with platforms for enterprise resource planning and human resources.

And, finally, IWMS. This application provides a comprehensive platform to manage complex relationships involving properties, buildings, equipment, space, resources, contracts, and schedules.


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