Sometimes, work orders may confuse rather than clarify. Though work orders exist to help organize maintenance and track the history of an asset, poorly documented data can be a costly obstacle to optimizing your maintenance processes. Poor work orders can happen for lots of reasons. For instance, perhaps a worker is under a tight schedule and will rush to complete their documentation, making up information as they go. Or maybe a worker that’s confused about the best way to record their work order will decide to put down some random information to get the work order out of the way. Mistakes can happen; we’re all human! But failing to realize the effects of such mistakes is where poor work orders can truly begin to affect the efficiency of your asset-intensive business.

The problems to anticipate

Poor planning: Poor work orders may not contain the criticality of an asset or a plant location, the estimated labour hours needed to complete a task, or the actual cost of performing maintenance on an asset. Ultimately, this is going to negatively impact a business’ ability to prioritize the most critical assets or locations where maintenance efforts should be focused, plan how long a maintenance task will take and schedule the best time for the maintenance to be carried out, or estimate how much their maintenance is actually going to cost them.

Poor assets: Poor work orders may lack a failure code that indicates the specific issue faced by an asset, or the failure codes used in work orders may be inaccurate due to the limited types of codes that are available to be used in the master data. If a certain asset is experiencing the same maintenance issue over and over again and is more worthwhile to replace entirely, or if a certain asset has significant safety risks or unknown damages, there would be no reliable way to report these problems. If no one knows for certain what issues exist due to poorly documented failure codes, this can cost an asset-intensive business more money as they maintain a poor-quality asset that should be replaced or that exposes them to more safety hazards.

Poor reporting: If work orders do not consistently and accurately document the information needed to determine which plants request maintenance the most frequently, which assets require the most maintenance, what types of failures are the most common, and what materials are used to fix them, then reporting on these metrics becomes incredibly challenging, By extension, taking steps towards optimizing your maintenance processes becomes even more challenging.

The domino effect

Ultimately, the issues presented by poor work orders may lead to more reactive maintenance that otherwise could have been prevented, costing a plant more money and downtime. They may also lead to a breakdown in communication across business units or plant locations as workers and senior leaders struggle to pinpoint and explain what exactly needs to be improved about their maintenance. However, with the right tools and the right attitude, managing and maintaining accurate, high quality work orders doesn’t have to be an exhausting ordeal. To start learning more about the quality of your own work orders, try reading one of our resources below, or book a demo with us to see the insights our Work Order Analysis solution can provide!

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