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Work Order Failure Hierarchy and Murphy’s Law

No matter how well your Work Order Failure Hierarchy is researched and constructed, Murphy's Law will get you. There will ALWAYS be some problem or cause, and sometimes remedy, that isn't included in the list.

Example: Overhead Door Controller- Problem: Door won't open/close

Cause: Controller hit by fork truck

Remedy: Replaced Controller - requested installation of bollards

Usually, these are one-off occurrences, but forcing them into an inappropriate ‘bucket’ can skew any attempts at failure analysis. One common solution is to include a Problem or Cause Code for ‘OTHER’ or ‘MISC’. However, human nature and the time constraints of the workplace almost guarantee that a generic selection will be entered inappropriately, if made available. This again skews the results and dilutes the effectiveness of any failure tracking efforts.

These effects can be mitigated somewhat:

  1. Force the generic code to the bottom of the list by modifying the code name and reminding craftsman to enter details: ‘Zcode-enter explanation’. This makes it less likely to be the easiest selection.
  2. If your programming allows, add a Code that automatically opens a text entry box, and won’t accept the selection unless information is entered in the box. This should also be placed at the end of the selection list.
  3. Set up a report for Planners, Supervisors, or even an individual KPI, that counts and allows review of any generic codes used.

Other than that, sorry, but it comes down to enforcement.

NOTE: The same process could be used to reduce the occurrence of unexplained  ‘Complete’ or ‘Done’ entries on Corrective Work Orders.

This tip is by Addie Hostettler of Management Resources Group, Inc.

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