Complete and accurate work order history is required to pass audits and make fact-based, data driven business decisions to improve operational reliability and maintenance effectiveness. Without it, the continuous improvement process (CIP) relies on an individual’s memory, opinions, and emotional perceptions which isn’t the best approach.
The maintenance optimization process should be run like a controlled experiment, where precise, incremental improvements incorporate analysis of the past. Work order history is the comprehensive repository of that past. Therefore, it’s essential that the quality of the historical data is high and properly maintained with strict adherence to a work order close-out procedure. This ensures that the following work order data is complete and accurate. (The importance of this information follows each bullet point.)
Additionally, it ensures that:
When multiple people perform the same procedure, variation is introduced, making historical data mining difficult. When individual interpretation of work order data (type, RFO code, etc.) differs, even slightly, it negatively impacts historical searches and sorts across thousands of records. This can be especially damaging to businesses if OSHA or FDA auditors request work order history that can’t be effectively produced because it wasn’t properly captured or categorized.
To eliminate variation and maximize data quality and consistency, the final review of a work order prior to a closeout should go through one person. The gatekeeper approach is always optimal and best performed by the maintenance planner/scheduler (MPS). This way, the MPS can perform the final quality check on the work that s/he initially generated, planned, and scheduled and close the loop on it. When only one person has visibility, that person ensures that all work order fields have been correctly and consistently filled out. If not, control of historical CMMS data is lost.
The work order close-out procedure should be well-defined and included in a comprehensive work order policy document that the entire site consistently follows. Everyone in the work order life cycle has a role to play to ensure data accuracy and integrity. The work order completion and close-out process flow includes critical steps to be performed by technicians, supervisors, and the MPS.
First, technicians should first complete the work as scheduled. Once completed, they should correctly record the following work order information:
After verifying that all work order information has been properly recorded, a follow-up work order should be initiated, if needed, and the work order status should be updated to “Completed”.
Supervisors should review all work completed by their crew and make note of important comments, compare actual time vs. estimated time, and verify the quality of the work order data entered into the CMMS. Supervisors should also perform random quality checks on the completed work by visiting the job site and verifying that the work was completed to acceptable standards; then coach and train their crew as needed.
The final work order close-out step should be conducted by the MPS, verifying data consistency. The work order should then be closed to history with confidence the historical value is intact.
The work order close-out process should not be taken lightly as it ensures complete and accurate work order data needed to seamlessly pass audits, improve operational reliability, and achieve maintenance excellence. When organizations achieve maintenance excellence and Make Reliability a Reality™, they transition their maintenance function from a cost center to a profit center and realize the following:
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