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EAM/CMMS software gives you dozens of ways to improve asset reliability. Developing a PM program is one of the more common. But a method that has a big potential to increase uptime—and the one that’s most underutilized—is the use of Problem-Failure-Action Codes on corrective maintenance work orders.

  • Problem Codes define the problem you’re having with a piece of equipment—seized, leaking, overheating, etc.SwainSmith
  • Failure Codes designate “what” is failing—bearing noisy, seal/gasket leaking, valve worn, etc.
  • Action Codes define what action the technician took to correct the issue.

Together these codes are extremely powerful. When applied consistently to corrective maintenance work orders, they provide visibility into asset failures. Just having a work order is not enough. If you want rich and actionable information, you need detail. And this begins with codes. Problem-Failure-Action codes allow you to trend and identify the most common and expensive problems and failures. So instead of hunting around in the dark, you’ll know exactly where to spend your time and money—and have the data to back you up. You’ll also have a history of the specific action the technician took to rectify the problem. This provides insight into maintenance activities and can be a good resource if the equipment problem reoccurs.

Problem-failure codes should also be equipment class specific. Equipment-class-specific codes are tied to the class of equipment that is on the work order. If you’re a technician working on a centrifugal pump, then you just need to see codes that are tied to that class of pump. No technician wants to search through a software look-up table that is packed full of codes unrelated to the equipment they are fixing. Good failure analysis starts with good data collection and specificity.

Problem and failure codes are key to solving reliability issues. When used properly, they allow you to aggregate failure data across the equipment registry—giving you the information you need to drive analysis, reduce failures, and increase asset uptime. Developing great problem-failure-action codes doesn’t have to be difficult. Prebuilt coding libraries can speed up development for a fraction of what it would cost to build code sets from scratch. Download a sample set of problem-failure-action codes! See how they are structured and how they can help you improve reliability.

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