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Authored by Paul Gorman, Account Executive, ImageSoft

We all remember the old adage about teaching old dogs new tricks. Being a bit of an old dog myself, I can relate to that tired, old mutt relaxing on the front porch in a pool of sunshine. 

The adage could just as easily apply to your tired, old asset management or work order system.  These systems do only what needs to be done.  Like the dog, they are not going to fetch your slippers or go get the newspaper for you.

What is Work Order Processing?

Work order processing, at its most basic, is a container of information about a job that needs to be done and can be assigned to someone to do it.  The person who does it tells the system when it is done. As an information management system, tracking the assignments, who they are assigned to, and the status of the assignments pretty much encompasses what we are looking for this system to do.

But I Heard CMMS Is Better? Is That True?

In contrast to work order processing, new and snappy CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management Systems) have so many bells and whistles that it can be hard to see that the underlying functionality is still a basic work order system. The information in a CMMS database supports various functions of the system, which enable the following capabilities:

  1. Resource and labor management: track available employees and equipment certifications. Assign specific tasks and assemble crews. Organize shifts and manage pay rates.
  • Asset registry: store, access and share asset information such as:
  • Manufacturer, model, serial number and equipment class and type
  • Associated costs and codes
  • Location and position
  • Performance and downtime statistics
  • Associated documentation, video and images, such as repair manuals, safety procedures and warranties
  • Availability of meters, sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) instrumentation
  • Work order management: typically viewed as the main function of CMMS, work order management includes information such as:
  • Work order number
  • Description and priority
  • Order type (repair, replace, scheduled)
  • Cause and remedy codes
  • Personnel assigned and materials used

Work order management also includes capabilities to:

  • Automate work order generation
  • Reserve materials and equipment
  • Schedule and assign employees, crews and shifts
  • Review status and track downtime
  • Record planned and actual costs
  • Attach associated documentation, repair and safety media
  • Preventive maintenance: Automate work order initiation based on time, usage or triggered events. Use preventive maintenance to organize and associate assets across multiple orders. Users can also sequence and schedule preventive work orders.
  • Materials and inventory management: Inventory, distribute and reclaim maintenance and repair operation (MRO) equipment and materials across storage areas, distribution centers and facilities. Manage suppliers, track inventory costs and automate resupply.
  • Reporting, analysis and auditing: Generate reports across maintenance categories, such as asset availability, materials usage, labor and material costs, supplier assessments and more. Analyze information to understand asset availability, performance trends, MRO inventory optimization and other information – all which support business decisions, and gather and organize information for audits.

What I just described is very buzzy and slick.  It is also a couple million bucks. 

I Don’t Have A Million Bucks for Me, Let Alone This “CMMS”

So you don’t have a couple million to replace your tired, old work order system – now what are you to do?  Let’s start by disproving a well-worn saying about teaching old dogs new tricks:

Say your old work order systems does not have an asset registry. Rather than replace the entire work order product, simply add OnBase and maintain an asset registry in OnBase. And if there are, say, 25 people involved in your work order/maintenance department, you can add some OnBase Premier Seat Licenses and an OnBase integration module (Application Enabler) to store all of the asset collateral documents, maintenance manuals, “as built” drawings and statistics in a configured asset folder, which is integrated to any related work order record.  Users of the Work Order system can then easily access any of that content directly from the specific work order. 

This option won’t cost you a million bucks and still provides you with identical functionality.

Let’s up the ante: how about adding the OnBase GIS module so your work orders are viewable and retrievable directly from your Asset Layers in your ESRI solution? Again, this is state-of-the-art technology without the million-dollar price tag. The GIS module is priced at (and I’m just doing some quick math here) about 1/1000th of the fancy, new work order system, which may not even have this functionality yet.

Add the OnBase Reporting Dashboards module and you can replicate any type of reporting functionality that a brand shiny new CMMS product can boast – for literally a fraction of a fraction of the cost.

There You Have It: Old Dog, New Trick

The OnBase product is designed to augment existing solutions. Rather than replace at great expense, enhance and expand with OnBase to get the benefits without the costs. 

See – old dog, new trick!