Monday, January 13, 2020

Blankets Are For Children Not Work Orders

Do you use and excessive amount of blanket work orders in your CMMS or eAM? Have you defined excessive? Do you have rules as to what can be on a blanket work order? Let's take a few minutes to talk about what blankets are and why you don't want too many in your eAM. Blanket work orders can contain or become a slush fund of hours and materials spend that leads to very poor asset management decisions. Why you say? Many organizations create them so that they can enter their maintenance time or order parts very quickly in the eAM. Capturing your time of course, is very good, but if it is not charged to a specific work order with an associated asset or piece of equipment then it does not provide much information on failure rates, recurrences, or historical cost. One reason we have an eAM is to be able to see labor and parts consumption by asset or piece of equipment so that we can then make good business decisions when it comes to replacement and refurbishment. If the cost to inspect a line or to repair a breakdown is going to a blanket work order then likely it is not being charged to an asset. Over the years, I have seen blanket work orders written at the area or line level with hundreds of hours of labor and hundreds of random parts assigned to them. None of that spend is hitting the asset history and none of those parts are associated with the equipment bill of materials.
There are times when a blanket work order makes sense. A few examples would be for tracking training hours for a team of techs or for tracking time used for operations support or even tracking morning meeting time. In these cases, we are not losing historical data and in fact are tracking a meaningful metric with the blanket work order.
The best way I have seen to limit the creation of blanket work orders is to ask yourself these two questions before you create one: 
  • Does this need to be charged to the asset for historical cost reporting? 
  • Would we want to know how often this reoccurs at the asset level? 
If yes, then create the specific individual work order tied to the specific asset or piece of equipment. So its not that all blankets are bad but their is a good and bad way to use them. Are you using them where they add value or where they obscure the very data we need to make good decisions?

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