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The Maintenance Management Blog

February 25, 2014

The Most Ridiculous Customer Work Orders of All Time

Aircraft Landing Gear Work Order required

As members of the facility, maintenance, and reliability industry, we encounter a lot of peculiar things in the line of duty. If you have ever taken over for a previous facilities manager, you have no doubt been mind-boggled by the "creative" ways they ran their maintenance management system - I know I have! However, perhaps the strangest aspect of our job is the customer work orders we receive. Sometimes they can be downright absurd. With that in mind, today I will be highlighting some of the most ridiculous customer work orders of all time.

Ridiculous Work Orders

Probably the funniest work order experiences I have heard about came from my friends in the information technology industry. Maybe it is a generational thing, but some people truly have a difficult time grasping anything tech-related.

I recall a story from a friend who serviced the computers in a school system. My friend received a call that every time a computer (one of about 20 in a particular room) was turned on, the lights went out. The request didn't state which computer was causing the issue and the issue did not occur every single time, so the initial thought was that it was being caused by a faulty circuit.

My friend called in the person in charge of handling that portion, they fixed the issue, and all was well – until the next day. Again, a computer was turned on, the entire class lost power, and again, a circuit was blown. This occurred several times over the week until, by total happenstance, one of the computer"s power supplies died and needed to be replaced. When my friend opened up the box, he saw the issue – the previous computer tech had wired the power supply wrong, causing a surge that tripped the circuits every time it was turned on. Problem solved!

For more funny IT-related work order requests, check out this list from Datamation.

The aerospace sector is another place where strange work orders are pretty frequent. Some of the funnier reports I have heard include pilots not being able to locate their engines (to which the response was: Look under your wing) to reports of "strange" or "funny" odors emanating from the cockpit – only to discover that these odd odiferous emanations were coming from the co-pilot. Maybe installing a shower would help?

Our brothers on the property management side also receive their fair share of hilarious and bizarre maintenance requests. I have heard of everything from alligators in bath tabs, flammable water from faucets, to flickering light issues – caused by ghosts! Instead of calling Ghostbusters, the tenant decided to call the property manager instead.

A great place to find interesting stories about customer work orders and requests is at the NotAlwaysRight website. Type in your industry/position in the search bar and you will be rewarded with some pretty good tales.


Lisa Richards

About the Author – Lisa Richards

Lisa Richards is an experienced professional in the field of industrial management and is an avid blogger about maintenance management systems and productivity innovation. Richards' undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering opened the door for her initial career path with a Midwest-based agricultural implement manufacturer with global market reach. Over a span of 10 years, Lisa worked her way through various staff leadership positions in the manufacturing process until reaching the operations manager level at a construction and forestry equipment facility. Lisa excelled at increasing productivity while maintaining or lowering operating budgets for her plant sites.

An Illinois native, Lisa recently returned to her suburban Chicago North Shore hometown to raise her family. Lisa has chosen to be active in her community and schools while her two young girls begin their own journey through life. Richards has now joined the MAPCON team as an educational outreach writer in support of their efforts to inform maintenance management specialists about the advantages in marrying advanced maintenance software with cutting-edge facility and industrial management strategies.

Filed under: Work Order — Lisa Richards on February 25, 2014