June 05, 2012
Who Should Closeout Work Orders in the Work Order Software
How"s is this for a statement made to Maintenance Supervisor? "I can complete 50 assigned Work Orders for you every week if I DON"T have to use that!" (Pointing to the Work Order Software application open on his desktop computer.)
You can’t argue with the maintenance technician’s overstated logic, of course. Regardless however, the maintenance supervisor still requires his to be able to at least perform simple work order closing using the Work Order Software application. This encounter begs the question: "Who actually DOES enter the data necessary to fully complete work orders at your plant or facility?"
After working many years with these groups you would think I can come up with a definitive answer other than, "It Depends!" But, it depends…
Even if your frontline maintenance technicians are mobile they typically still have an opportunity to access their Work Order Software at a work station PC. In most organizations maintenance PCs may be located in maintenance shops, break areas or near a central locations. So, PC access shouldn’t be a problem.
But, the crux of the maintenance tech’s argument is that his group should ONLY be "turning wrenches" not "tapping keys". In his view, their expertise lies in a hands-on approach directly related to performing maintenance tasks to repair and maintain assets, not sitting in front of a PC.
Even with these two important objections noted, I would still reply, "Can’t he do both?" Why not? Completing the wrench-turning job at hand and then recording the work as completed in the Work Order Software only seems logical. So, let’s compromise! When the he maintenance tech finishes the physical aspects of the task, we’ll make the digital data entry task super simple. Quick and painless!
One approach is sometimes based on the "KISS" principle. In this scenario, the maintenance technician only records their "daily log" or trouble-call work orders at the PC. Other work transactions such as Preventive Maintenance work or Work Orders coming from plant/facility Work Requests are printed out on paper forms and then assigned to a maintenance tech. After the work is finished, these forms are returned to a maintenance lead or maintenance supervisor/manager. This supervisory person is then charged with electronically entering the completed work order by record the items manually written by the maintenance tech on this work order form.
This solution may provide the best of both worlds. Maintenance techs are empowered to finish their job assigned by the Work Order Software without spending too much time “hunting and pecking” at a PC. Supervisors and Managers maintain a "hands-on" oversight by observing every assigned Work Order and the results of each maintenance tech’s work product.