Promoting the Benefits of Work Order Software

Work order software (CMMS software) is a key part of a successful equipment maintenance program. Work orders are typically one or more tasks assigned to one or more maintenance personnel for the purpose of equipment item. These tasks are for preventive maintenance, projects, repair maintenance or other types of work. The maintenance staff enters, updates, assigns and closes work orders. This requires a certain level of commitment to the work order software and the expectation of benefits for the expended effort. As such, promoting the benefits of maintenance software is every bit as important and making the work order software easy to use.

What are the benefits of work order software to your organization?
How are the benefits of work order software promoted to maintenance employees?

Benefits of Work Order Software to Your Organization
The immediate and short-term benefits of using this software are as follows.

Easier delivery and communication of work assignments.
Balanced workload.
Improved spares management.
Better management and accountability of work assignments.
Improved equipment reliability.
Cost savings through analysis and resulting process improvement.

One of the main benefits this software is the ability to deliver the work assignments to personnel using a paperless system. Work orders are emailed in user-friendly formats such as Adobe Acrobat. This saves paper and consistently delivers the work assignments to the same place every time. Alternatively if a paper system is preferred, then automatic printing of assigned tasks is possible. Some more advanced software solutions provide scheduled automatic task assignments. This capability also frees up the maintenance manager as manual assignments ate reduced substantially with this automated system. Lastly, work orders are accessible directly from the software itself. This avoids email and paper use; however, access to a computer that either has the software loaded or has a web link to the CMMS system is required in this case.

Balancing the workload over time and resources is possible with a scheduling tool such as work order software. Organizing tasks based upon available resources optimizes these resources and results in more work completed in the same amount of time. Spares linked to work templates results in automatic spares usage and allocation to the task. This feature of many CMMS solutions results is consistent use of the correct spare part for the job and better accounting of spares use. Some CMMS systems provide live links to equipment runtime components (such as hour meters) further automating the work assignment procedure.

In addition to immediate and short-term CMMS benefits long-term benefits may accrue in as little as six months depending upon level of use. The more the software is used the greater the benefits in general. Below is a listing of some of the long-term benefits of using work management software.

Querying the work history database simplifies compliance reporting.
Analysis of work history guides the maintenance manager in allocation of work.
Reporting spares usage provides a guide for restocking.
Reliability and overall equipment effectiveness KPIs optimize task assignments adding tasks in some cases and removing tasks in other cases.

Promoting the Benefits of Work Order Software to Employees
Choosing equipment maintenance software that is intuitive and accessible is a key factor in promoting the use of the software. Additionally, user screen customization is beneficial in that it gives the user a sense of personalization and control over the system. This user-level customization generally relates to screen colors, default screen, screen labels and other preferred settings. Configuring the software so that maintenance users are able to manage their own work has benefits as well. Studies have shown that a sense of accomplishment with work is a primary job satisfaction indicator. Use of work order software provides this satisfaction as maintenance employees see exactly what work is required and close out their own work orders. In many cases, this leads to improved morale and greater productivity. This is only possible if user level roles and permissions are available within the software.

By adopting this management style, users feel empowered and feel a greater sense of ownership of the equipment they are working on. Once again, this leads to improved morale and productivity.

Another group of software user are the personnel that request work. Making it simple for an inexperienced worker to submit a repair ticket to the software encourages the use of the system. In many cases a web interface is best for this function as it is accessible from many locations and various devices.

Promoting the benefits of work order software benefits your organization with the ultimate result of improving equipment reliability and the reducing maintenance costs.

Developing Innovative Products

Phase 0: Feasibility Analysis

The goal of this phase is to identify existing technology to achieve the intended high-level function. If technology can be purchased as opposed to developed, the scope of subsequent development phases changes.

Simply put, product development companies research and assess the probability that the current technology can be used to reach the intended functionality of the product. By doing this, the development efforts are reduced, which in financial terms represent a great reduction in development costs.

Moreover, if the technology is not yet available, then the assessment can result in longer development cycles and the focus moves into creating the new technology (if humanly possible) that can accomplish the functionality of the product.

This is an important part of the in any product development process because it is safer and financially responsible to understand the constraints that a product can have prior to starting a full development cycle. A feasibility study can cost between 7 -15 thousand dollars. It might be sound very expensive for some, but when it is much better than investing $100k+ to end up with a product that no manufacturer is able to produce.

Phase 1: Specification or PRD (Product Requirements Document) development

If your product is feasible, congratulations! you are a step closer to creating your product and you can move into documenting what is going to go into the product itself, aka the guts (product objective, core components, intended end-user, aesthetics, User interphase, etc).

In this phase, product design and engineering focus on documenting the critical functionality, constraints, and inputs to the design. This is a critical step to keep development focused, identify the high-risk areas, and ensure that scope creep is minimized later.

This document will help you communicate the key features of your product and how they are supposed to work to all members of your team. This will ensure that you keep everyone involved on the same page.

Without one, you are more likely to stay off track and miss deadlines. think about the PRD as your project management breakdown structure (BDS)

Phase 2: Concept Development

Initial shape development work identifies options for form, as well as possible approaches for complex mechanical engineering challenges. Initial flowchart of software/firmware also happens here, as well as concept design level user interface work. Aesthetic prototypes may be included in this Phase, if appropriate. Prototype in this phase will not typically be functional.

Phase 3: Initial Design and Engineering

Based on decisions made at the end a concept development phase, actual product design and engineering programming can start. In this phase, Level 1 prototypes are often used to test approaches to technical challenges.

Phase 4: Design Iteration

This part of the project is where we focus on rapid cycles, quickly developing designs and prototypes, as the depth of engineering work increases. This phase can include Level 2 and 3 prototypes, typically through multiple cycles. Some products require as many as twenty prototype cycles in this phase. Others may only require two or three.

Phase 5: Design Finalization / Optimization

With all assumptions tested and validated, the design can be finalized and then optimized for production. To properly optimize for production, product design and engineering teams take into account the target production volumes, as well as the requirements of the manufacturer. Regulatory work may start in this phase.

Phase 6: Manufacturing Start and Support

Before production starts, tooling is produced, and initial units are inspected. Final changes are negotiated with the manufacturer. Regulatory work also should wrap up in this phase.