What Is A Workflow?
A workflow consists of an orchestrated and repeatable pattern of business activity enabled by the systematic organization of resources into processes that transform materials, provide services, or process information. (source Wikipedia)
A well organized maintenance management system will have fairly typical workflows (see the graphic below). For example – external users or customers send in maintenance work requests, you schedule preventive maintenance, create work orders and complete them and so on. Failures in these workflows can have a variety of consequences. In the graphic below we can have failures during each flow (represented by an arrow).
What Do These Workflow Failures Mean?
1. Work requests or breakdown reports ignored
External users (customers, equipment operators, etc.) can submit requests for maintenance work or report equipment breakdowns. If several requests come in each day, you may miss some of these requests in the queue. So the maintenance work never gets done. Say you ignore or miss alarms or problems reported on critical equipment. Cascading equipment failures may follow. This is where maintenance software is very useful. You can keep track of these requests and reports. You can use the information provided to create maintenance work orders for maintenance technicians. See How Maintenance Services Should Manage Maintenance Request Forms for more information.
2. Planned tasks not scheduled
Different equipment and facilities have different planned maintenance needs. For example changing air filters regularly on HVAC units, checking oil levels on specific machines and so on. Missing this preventive maintenance or not scheduling them properly can result in equipment breakdowns and other operational issues. With CMMS software you can schedule such planned maintenance and generate the work orders needed. See Using CMMS Software To Schedule Preventive Maintenance Work Orders for examples.
3. Work orders not sent out
The right maintenance technicians should receive the maintenance work orders once created. Your CMMS program can email these or send them as text messages to the technicians or outside contractors. Or you can print out the work orders and distribute them.
4. Technicians forget to do work or send back completion status
Maintenance software can be used to keep track of pending work orders and receive status updates from technicians. These can be received as email or text and used to update and close pending work orders. Plus if they forget to complete a work order or report the status, you can have the CMMS program send out reminders!
5. Poor reporting to management
Your management team will want regular and easy to understand reports on the maintenance departments work. Trying to do this manually will be hard. Use the CMMS software to make standard reports and compare performance with prior periods. See Key Maintenance Management Statistics For Maintenance Planners for the information you may need to provide.
We can see that many of these workflow failures can have a big impact on your maintenance program. Dropped or incomplete maintenance can result in cascading breakdowns. The maintenance department may be seen as incompetent. Not being able to give good and on-time reports to management is also bad. They will make decisions on maintenance budgets based on poor information. This may have a severe impact on the maintenance department. With a good CMMS software package maintenance managers and maintenance planners can avoid or reduce such problems.
Maintenance Management Software Selection Guide
Looking for CMMS software for your maintenance department? With hundreds of programs available making the right choice can be hard. Software review sites are not what they seem. Many are advertiser funded, so you may be guided to products that are not be suitable for you. This free “CMMS Software Selection Guide” has a variety of tips for your own evaluation. Use it to find the right product for your needs. Good luck!Free CMMS Software Selection Guide