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Equipment is getting older, work requests for maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) are coming in so fast your foreman is having daily anxiety attacks. However, the budget is tight and no new help is coming your way. What can you do? Take a deep breath and understand that there are some ways to do more with the same or lesser amounts of manpower and lower the stress at the same time.

Work Flow Quick Quiz

The first thing to do is to revisit how work requests are generated. Work requests are simply MRO requests from the field, plant or facility staff, to address a known issue. If the work requested is approved then it becomes a work order. Use the following quick quiz to see how your workflow compares to well organized and efficient companies.

  1. Are your work requests submitted online or via handheld device? Handheld devices reduce paper flow, remove transcription errors and increase efficiency as well as problem reporting speed. If yes score 20 points _________
  2. Are you using an EAM/CMMS to track work request submissions and work order completion? Manual work flow systems are inherently inefficient. Work requests and orders should be automated and information such as scheduling and results available immediately. If yes score 20 points _________
  3. Are work requests filled out with all the required information? Lack of information causes rework, second trips and prevents the accurate historical gathering of maintenance and repair data. If yes score 20 points _________
  4. Are work requests are tracked to determine the cause of the requests? For example was the work request a result of equipment failure, inspection or preventive maintenance. Good facility managers can identify the percentage of reactive vs. proactive work orders. A good rule of thumb is 80% proactive and 20% reactive. If yes score 20 points __________
  5. Are work orders prioritized and scheduled for action? It is critical that work requests affecting production be scheduled first followed by issues that are slowing production and the work that can stop production. The objective is to maximize uptime. The key to maintenance management is scheduling, scheduling, scheduling. If yes score 20 points _________

Total Score _________________Scoring the results

If you scored 100 points then you have the tools necessary to operate at the most efficient levels. Additional training might be helpful if the system is not being utilized to its fullest capabilities.

If you scored 60-80 points you are probably not utilizing your EAM/CMMS to its fullest capability. Add the needed features or look to a new EAM/CMMS solution that can provide relief.

If you scored 40 then your computerized maintenance management system needs an overhaul. There is a good probability you are either using only a fraction of the systems features or the system is outdated.

If you score 20 or less then the problem is your facility does not have the tools necessary to operate efficiently and effectively. Research and educate yourself on EAM/CMMS systems and how they impact efficiencies, labor costs and the useful lifecycle of assets.

Before implementing a new maintenance management program, be sure to understand your organizations workflow and how the system will impact facility operations. A good place to begin your review is by reading prior articles posted by Mintek and the short U.S. Department of Energy discussion on computerized maintenance management systems. Processing work request does not have to be a manual or unorganized process.

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Tell us how you handle the stress.