Monday 10 April 2017

Work Order Activity Rules OK?

Setting up your work order activity rules for equipment or service management work orders is a critical piece of the puzzle. This is a quick guide on how it's done and what to consider for different types of orders.

Tip #1: Do not use numeric work order statuses for equipment and service work orders if you can avoid it. The reason being is that manufacturing work orders require numeric status values and mixing the two together can cause all sorts of head aches. And don't fall into the trap of thinking you'll never use manufacturing work orders because chances are you will, especially if you assemble kits or have rotable items.

For this post we'll use a corrective maintenance work order for the example. Order activity rules are defined by the combination of document type and work order type so in this example we will use WM for our maintenance orders with a type 1 which indicates are corrective as opposed to say a preventative activity.

Work order activity rules are defined by application P4826. Here are the rules we have set for this order type:

The first line item shown is the default status for this work order type. Because this is a corrective work order we are creating the order at effectively an unapproved status. Now you can have workflow kick in for the process of approvals but that is outside of the scope of this post. The Next Status field defines the default next status for the work order. The fields Allowed Status 1 through 5 define alternative allowed statuses.

So for a corrective work order at status M the options are to either approve the work by moving it to status MA or alternatively to reject the work request by moving it to status MM which is cancelled.

The other columns in the grid are as follows:

  • Subledger Inactive - when set to I this prevents any financial transactions being created or updated on a work order at this status. So it in effect locks the subledger.
  • Maint. Status - if this work order is linked to a PM Schedule record a move to this status will cause the PM Schedule item to change status.
  • Alert Status - if this work order is linked to a Condition Based Maintenance alert then moving to the selected status will update the associated alert to the defined status in this column.
  • Lock Flag - this determines whether changes can be made to the work order at this status. There are multiple options which will cover further in this post.
  • Edit Authority - this indicates the role that can make changes to claims at each status within Warranty Management. This is outside of the scope of this post.
So coming back to the first line, you can see that the subledger is inactive but the work order is open to being updated. The inactive flag is set at this status because we do not want users performing any transactions against an unapproved order. This includes being able to raise either requisitions or purchase orders against this work order.

You'll note the last line on this status flow is MM and there are no alternative statuses available. So if a user changes the work order status to cancelled then they will be unable to change the status.

With the subsequent lines we then define a default status plus a number of alternative statuses. Overall these rules should follow your business process flow for work orders. In this example the important points to note are:

  1. Once the order is approved there is still no ability to raise requisitions or purchase orders against it. The order must be moved to W/O in PLanning or higher status. You can also still choose to cancel the order at this point.
  2. W/O in Planning allows subledger transactions. Whilst this is required as the planner may need to raise orders against it, this does mean that one of the key controls to prevent actual financial transactions from being executed has been removed. That is, a user may be able to book time against a work order still in a planning state.
  3. The MH status is effectively the status where the work starts. All statuses up to this point are different states of planning.
  4. In this example, a work order at MH status can still be cancelled. This may not be appropriate as it is not recommended that a work order with costs already booked to it is cancelled. You may wish to introduce an alternative status for orders that are closed without the work being successfully completed.
  5. MJ status indicates that the all work order the order has been completed. We cannot lock the subledger at this status because there will still be financial transactions to complete. One of the main pain points for this is the processing of accounts payable. Without an unlocked subledger you will be unable to match vouchers. You'll notice at MJ status we set the locked flag to 3. This means that the work order can still be modified but when this status change occurs the completed date will be automatically populated.
  6. MK is the closed status of the work order where all financial activities have been completed. The lock flag is now changed to 4 to prevent any changes to the order. We still allow the status to move back to MJ as there may be a requirement to book further costs to the order.
Tip #2: If you are using PM schedules or Condition Based Maintenance alerts then MJ would be the status where you update the related record status. So in the case of the PM Schedule you would set the status 99 to indicate that the work has been completed and the PM task can be scheduled again. With the CBM alert you would set it to work completed so that it can be closed out.

Obviously you can make your work order status flows as complex or as simple as you wish. As minimum it is recommended that you have at least the following statuses:
  1. Work order ready
  2. Work in progress
  3. Work completed
  4. Work order closed
  5. Work order cancelled