Work assignments are made in the Assignments tab of Work Order Tracking application and require either a Labor or Crew. The Responsibility section found at the bottom of the main Work Order tab should be considered as the “ownership” of the work order and requires a Person, and not a Labor record, it should not be considered a “work assignment”.

We should all be planning work and using Job Plans, but emergency work is a good example where we may not have time to plan. So how should we assign a work order in a way that is consistent with the methods we would use if we excelled at planning and scheduling work? How can we create work assignments in the simplest manner possible? This article will focus on the use of the Assignments tab in the Work Order Tracking application without using Job Plans or creating records in the Plans tab.

I’ve extended the article to also provide an end-to-end process for an emergency work order that includes changing the location and asset after the work order assignment has been completed, entering a downtime record, creating a follow-up work order and showing how easy it is to do basic planning on that work order, still without using a Job Plan.

In the next article I will return to the Assignments tab and dive a bit deeper.

Emergency work needs investigation

I’ve created a new work order 1292 – Emergency heating issue at Needham with location NEEDHAM and work type EM – Emergency. At this point I do not know where the problem exists, or which asset is causing the issue.

On the Assignments tab I’ve used the New Row button, tabbed to the Labor field and used the Select Value filtering for Craft of PLUMB – Plumber. I’ve then selected AWA – Andy Warren, who we have an open Purchase Order with for plumbing works.

Notice the Scheduled Start on the Assignment and the Scheduled Start and Finish on the work order are both null. The assignment status defaults to WAITASGN – Waiting for Assignment. It comes from the Synonym Domain ASSTAT with other values of ASSIGNED, STARTED, INTERPT (Interrupted), COMPLETE.

When AWA – Andy Warren has been selected, the craft PLUMB has been added to the assignment record and the Scheduled Start set as time now. The default was 1:00 hour, but I have changed that to 3:00 hours and saved the record. The Scheduled Start and Scheduled Finish on the work order have been set based on the work hours of the work assignment.

With a labor or crew added to the work assignment its status is changed from WAITASGN to ASSIGNED. The work order status is still at its default, WAPPR – Waiting for Approval.

I’ve used the Approve Work Order button and added a memo “AWA dispatched after phone call, ETA 30 minutes”. The status has now been changed to APPR – Approved.

That’s all that is needed to perform a simple work assignment of the type that would be a dispatch of a technician or crew to a job. It is hardly anything more that it would be to select AWA – Andy Warren in the Lead field in the Responsibility section on the main Work Order tab – an “ownership” change, yet I am sure many Maximo clients do just this. If clients wish to move to using Maximo Scheduler, then moving to this way of performing a simple work assignment would be considered the first step.

Arrival of Technician, Change Status to In Progress

The plumber, AWA – Andy Warren, calls-in when he has arrived at site to give an update. I’ve used the Initiate Work Order action to change status to INPRG – In Progress and entered a memo “AWA arrived at site”. Time now is 16:12 on 27th November 2020.

When you change status to INPRG – In Progress, the Actual Start date on the work order is set to the status change date 16:12 on 27th November 2020. There is no change to the work assignment, its status is still ASSIGNED.

In the Organizations application and Work Order Options action menu there is an action Other Organization Options which has a setting for “Set Actual Start Date” that determines when the actual start date is set. The radio button defaults to “On Change Status Initiate”, i.e. on changing status to INPRG as we have seen. Rarely, if ever, would the actual start be set on completion of the work order.

Completion of Work Assignment

If you use the Complete Assignment button before the number of hours has elapsed from the Scheduled Start of the assignment you will receive the error message “BMXAA2641E – You cannot enter actual labor with future dates and times.” You need to adjust the number of hours that fits between the Scheduled Start and time now.

AWA – Andy Warren has called to say that he has managed to release a motor that was stuck so no parts are needed this time, but he recommends getting it replaced and he has provided the part details. This would be done on a follow-up work order. The main boiler was down for 5 hours. Andy is now leaving site.

In the Assignments tab I’ve changed the Hours to 1:30, which includes Andy’s travel hours, and I can now use the Complete Assignment button. The assignment status is changed to COMPLETE. As this is the only work assignment the work order’s status has also been set to COMP – Complete.

When the status is changed to COMP – Complete, the Actual Finish date on the work order is set to the status change date 16:42 on 27th November 2020. But notice that the Actual Start has been adjusted back to 15:12 from 16:12 because we said that the work assignment took 1:30 hours.

On the Actuals tab you can see that a time record has been created by using the Complete Assignment button with 1:30 of Regular Hours and a Start Time of 15:12 an End Time of 16:42 and a Line Cost of $34.50 (rate 23.00 x 1.5 hours). As Andy is an outside vendor the Actual Labor record will need to be approved in the Labor Reporting application.

Correcting the Location/Asset

On the main Work Order tab, I’ve used the new Drilldown dialog from Needham to drilldown to the motor for the Feed Water Pump that had stuck. This new Drilldown dialog was introduced in Maximo 7.6.1.2.

You may get the message “BMXAA4510E – The location and asset combination you have entered would default a different GL account than is currently specified on the work order. Would you like to update the work orders GL account based on the new asset/location combination? Clicking Cancel will return you with no changes.” There are buttons for Yes, No and Cancel and we chose Yes to reset the GL account.

For you to be able to change the Location and Asset fields at approval state or later then the Maximo Administrator will need to change the Edit Rules found in the Organizations application under the Work Order Options action menu.

By default, the Location and Asset cannot be modified at APPR, INPRG or COMP work order status, but you should have this enabled if you do not plan all of your work. I don’t think this is realistic in many industries, emergency work is a great example of a need to retrospectively change the location and/or asset to reflect the actual asset that failed, so my preference is to have this enabled.

Checking whether there is a replacement asset

The operating location BR451 selected has just the one asset, 49332 – “Motor- 10hp/1750rpm/TEFC/254T Frame/440v/3ph/60hz” so this is also filled on the work order. This is the motor we need to order for the follow-up work order, unless there is a spare in the storeroom.

The work order’s GL Account, 6210-300-??? is a partial GL Account, not all segments have been filled. It is used as a default for actual labor, material, service and tool transactions. It has been derived from the GL Account on the operating location BR451. If there had been a GL Account on asset 49332 then its GL segments would have taken priority over those segments derived from the operating location.

You can navigate from the asset field to the Assets application using the detail menu and action Go to Assets. The Rotating Item field indicates the part, MOT10 and in its detail menu you can use the View Item Availability action. There are no quantities to be found in any of the storerooms, but if I navigated to the Purchasing tab you would find quantity 5 on order with PO 1066 and no reservations. When we come to place the follow-up work order we need to create a reservation on the CENTRAL storeroom for item MOT10, but I’ll leave that to last, as when I create the follow-up record it will switch to the new work order.

Modify the GL Account of Existing Actual Labor

The first thing I will do is go to the Actuals tab and change the Debit GL Account of the actual labor record created when we completed the work assignment. I have used the GL Account Navigator and changed the first segment – Cost Center to 6210 to align with that derived from the operating location.

It is a good idea to change the location and asset first, before you use the Complete Assignment button on the Assignments tab, that will save you from having to update the actual labor transaction.

Report Asset Downtime

Now that we have the correct asset, I can report downtime using the Report Downtime action. There is a radio button with two options, so I have switched to Report Downtime rather than Change Status. The End Date is the Actual Finish of the work order. The Start Date defaults to the Reported Date, the date/time the work order was created. I have entered the hours, 5:00 and selected a downtime code BRKDWN. If you know the exact start and end times you can modify these and make the hours reflect the difference, but you don’t have to, many clients will just accept the defaults and estimate the downtime hours.

Create a Follow-up Work Order

I’ve used the action Create Work Order and Maximo creates a follow-up work order and navigates to it, work order 1295 in this case. The work order details are copied across from the originating work order, I have changed the description to “Replace motor asset as it has been sticking”. I’ve also now changed the work type to CM – Corrective Maintenance.

When you use the Create Work Order action a dialog may open for you to select a Repair Facility. Either select a repair facility or use the OK button leaving the repair facility fields empty and this will create the work order. This is controlled by the check box “Enable Repair Facilities” found in the Other Organization Options action in the Organizations application and Work Order Options action menu.

It is good to plan work orders that you create. On the Plans tab, and Labor subtab I’ve created 3:00 hours of a craft PLUMB – Plumber and selected Vendor AJWARREN.

On the Materials subtab I have created a request on the CENTRAL storeroom for a quantity of 1 of the rotating item MOT10, a stocked item, Stock Category STK. The Required Date defaults to time now and you should adjust this to make it realistic.

Don’t forget to use the Change Status action to approve (APPR) the follow-up work order, as no reservations will be created until you do.

There are four fields in the second column which provides the status of materials coming from the storeroom “Storeroom Material Status”, from a purchase order “Direct Issue Material Status” or the status of all materials in the work order and its descendant work orders “Work Package Material Status”. You can refresh all three queries by using the button next to the field “Material Status Last Updated”.

The action and dialog for the Storeroom Material Status field shows our request for item MOT10 on the CENTRAL storeroom has created a hard reservation, the reservation type is APHARD – Automatic Hard, Maximo supports both hard and soft reservations on storerooms. The Available Quantity of -1 is derived from the current quantity less all hard reservations, the current quantity was zero.

On the Related Records tab of work order 1295 you can see that it originated from work order 1292.

If you navigated from this work order to work order 1292 and looked at its Related Records tab you can see that work order 1295 has a relationship type of FOLLOWUP.

Close Work Order

On work order 1292 if you try to close the work order when there are unapproved financial transactions, you will receive the error message “BMXAA4042E – The status cannot be changed for the selected records.” The only transaction was the 1.5 hours of time for AWA – Andy Warren. As he works for a vendor we need to approve his time from the Labor Reporting application.

In Labor Reporting I’ve filtered for Labor AWA then used the selection box on the left-hand side before using the action Approve Labor. There is no dialog box, but when approved the Approved check box is now set.

Actual Labor records that are approved can no longer be modified, the financial transaction may already have been passed through to a finance or payroll system.

On work order 1292 I can now use the Change Status action and select the New Status as Closed.

The View Costs action shows you that there were 1.50 of External Labor Hours, and the External Labor Cost was $34.50 and this was also the Total Cost for the work order. As there were no child work orders the Work Package Costs on the right-hand side give the same figures, the work package costs are the hours and costs for the work order and all of its descendants in its work order hierarchy.

You might find that after you change status that you have difficulty finding your closed work orders, don’t worry they still exist. You need to use the All Records in the Available Queries in the Navigation Panel, then you will be able to find your work order, by filtering for it, =1292 in the Work Order column, in this case. Just entering 1292 will have found other records containing 1292 in the work order number, e.g. 11292 or 12921.

All the other queries in the Work Order Tracking application filter out history work orders.