There is more to Work Assignments than you may think and naturally many Maximo practitioners look at Assignments as being a product of planning work or applying a Job Plan, which of course they are. But you can plan work in the Assignments tab of the Work Order Tracking application without using Job Plans or the Plans tab.
This article provides an overview of how the Assignments table window functions, all performed without creating a Job Plan or using the Plans tab of the Work Order Tracking application. The overview captures the main points from several other articles which provide the details, together stretching to more than 30 pages, too much for one article.
This overview is a summary of each article or section within those articles, and hence can be used to navigate from this overview to the detailed article. To get an overview of the Available Labor dialog or the action Reschedule/Unassign Assignments, you will need to reference multiple sections.
Simple Work Assignments in Work Order Tracking
A work assignment is a record that exists in the Assignments tab and Assignments table window of the Work Order Tracking application. I like to call it a work assignment because the term assignment may confuse this with using the fields in the Responsibility section at the bottom of the main Work Order tab, fields like Supervisor, Lead, Owner, Crew, etc. I prefer to think of these fields as providing “ownership” of the work order.
If you only assign by using the Responsibility fields, if you only determine “ownership”, then you cannot make much progress in using the Maximo Scheduler applications. If you use work assignments, then it is a relatively small step to make use of some of the Maximo Scheduler graphical applications. However, the Graphical Scheduling application does require you to use Job Plans and use the Plans tab of the Work Order Tracking application.
If you are currently assigning ownership but want to use the Maximo Scheduler then using the Assignments tab is a good first step to take, it gets you used to reviewing the work assignments and creating the data that it relies upon.
This first article introduces how to create simple work assignments, the sort of assignment that you might do for an emergency work order or call-out where there is no time to plan. In this scenario you are dispatching a labor or crew to a work order with an immediate scheduled start.
The main Assignment points from this article were:
- You can create work assignments at any open status, WAPPR, APPR, … COMP.
- When you enter a Labor on the assignment the Craft, Skill Level, Vendor and Contract are derived from the Labor’s default record.
- If you use the Select Value on the assignment’s Labor field, you can pick primary or secondary craft records for the Labor.
- Selecting or typing a labor will move the assignment status to ASSIGNED, the assignments Scheduled Start will be time now, and the assignment hours will be 1:00.
- Moving the work order to a status of INPRG – In Progress, does not change the assignment statuses they remain at ASSIGNED. The assignment status is not changed to STARTED.
- Using the Complete Assignments button:
- changes the assignment status to COMPLETE
- writes an actual labor transaction which may or may not be approved depending on a setting in the Organizations application. The default is approved for internal labor, and not approved for external labor.
- may result in an error if the assignment hours have not yet elapsed. This is the labor hours tolerance, how many hours in the future you can report actual time, default is 0:00. For example, you thought the assignment would need 3 hours, but technician reports in after 1.5 hours that they have finished. Maximo will not allow you to book 3 hours, you will need to adjust the assignment hours to 1.5 before using the Complete Assignments button.
Work Order Tracking – Assignments without Work Zones
With the first article focused on showing that you can dispatch labor from the Assignments tab, the second article shows that you can also plan future work from the Assignments tab. It does this without introducing the extra filtering conditions that work zones provides, that is the subject of the third article.
Planning Future Labor Assignments
When you use the New Row button on the Assignments table window you do not need to assign immediately you can plan future work.
The main Assignment points from this section were:
- Assignments without an assignee are at WAITASGN – Waiting to be Assigned status.
- If the task field is left blank, then the work order’s Scheduled Start and Finish are derived from the earliest Scheduled Start of the assignments and the work order’s Scheduled Finish is derived from the latest Scheduled Start plus Hours from the assignments.
- There is no quantity field as there is in the Plans tab, a two-person job requires two assignment records, there is no link between these assignments.
- Tasks can be added in the Actuals tab, so you can still plan against tasks even if you have no access to the Plans tab.
- Creating future assignments but not assigning the Labor or Crew will allow you to use Assignment Manager, Graphical Work Week or Graphical Assignment applications.
Assignments – Available Labor without Work Zones
When assignment records have been created with a future Scheduled Start date, then when it is time to assign, the Available Labor button is used. The behaviour of this dialog differs if work zones are being used. In this section we did not have any location or asset references, and so no work zone filtering.
The main Assignment points from this section were:
- The Craft and/or Skill Level on the assignment is used to filter Labor based on their default craft/skill level and not their secondary craft/skill level.
- The date of the Scheduled Start of the assignment is used as the From date in the Available Labor dialog.
- The Start Time of the Labor shown will be the earliest time that the labor is available in the date range between the Available Labor dialog’s From and To dates.
- If a Labor has no Calendar/Shift they will not appear. An inactive Labor will also not appear in the Available Labor dialog.
- When an Available Labor is selected the assignment’s status is changed to ASSIGNED and the Scheduled Start of the assignment is changed to the earliest time that the labor is available in their shift. If they were already assigned work between 07:00 and 09:00 then the Scheduled Start would be 09:00 for the next assignment.
- The work order’s Scheduled Start and Scheduled Finish are not updated if the assignment references a task and the assignments’ Schedule Start is changed, the tasks’ Scheduled Start, and Scheduled Finish are updated instead.
- You can unassign an assignment by removing the Labor from the assignment, the assignment status is returned to WAITASGN.
- The Select Value on the Labor field will additionally show labor that have the craft and/or skill level defined as a secondary craft and/or skill level.
- When labor exist in multiple shifts the shift is shown and the Start Time is the earliest the labor is available to start within that shift.
- If the Scheduled Start of the assignment is in the future, then the From date in the Available Labor dialog starts from this date. If the Scheduled Start is in the past, then the From date shown in this dialog will be today.
Reschedule/Unassign Assignments – Assignments Reference Tasks
The action Reschedule/Unassign Assignments can be used from any of the tabs of the Work Order Tracking application, how it behaves is dependent on whether you are referencing a work order or a task. This action is further discussed in the article Work Order Tracking – Assignments Miscellany. You might consider reading the first section of that article first.
The dialog that opens has two fields; they can be used together.
- When the action is used against an assignment that does not reference a task then the Reschedule Date field changes the Schedule Start and Schedule Finish dates on the work order to that specified.
- The check box Reschedule Assignments when unchecked will unassign the assignments, but only if the assignment does not reference a task. This is because in most cases the action to unassign is being made against the work order.
- Unassigned assignments will have no Labor or Scheduled Start and the assignment status will be reset to WAITASGN.
- To unassign from tasks you need to query the tasks from the List tab by first querying All Records, which selects both work orders and tasks, then querying the parent work order to find the tasks.
- If you use the action against tasks the Reschedule Date field is used to set the Scheduled Start date on the task record and the Scheduled Finish is set according to the assignment Hours.
Work Order Tracking – Assignments with Work Zones
The second article showed that you can plan future work from the assignments tab and introduced the Available Labor dialog which filters labor by their default craft and skill level. In this third article we show that the Available Labor dialog is additionally affected by locations and assets that reference a work zone.
A Task Influences Available Labor on an Assignment
There are differences when the assignment record references a task instead of the task field being left blank and hence the work assignment belongs directly to the work order.
- A Location or Asset can reference a Work Zone.
- Labor and Crews can reference one or more Work Zones, but only one can be referenced as the Default Work Zone.
- When the primary location on a work order references a work zone then work zone filtering occurs. The Available Labor are those labor who have the craft and/or skill level as their default craft and/or skill level, but also have the location’s work zone referenced as their default work zone.
- If the assignment record references a task and the task does not reference a location or asset, then work zone filtering will not occur in the Available Labor dialog.
- If the assignment references a task and the task does reference a location or asset with a work zone, then work zone filtering will be active in the Available Labor dialog. If the location or asset has no work zones, then it filters Labor according to their default craft and skill level.
Available Labor based on Work Zones
Work Zones are used to group Labor and Crews based on the locality of where they work. Work Zones can be considered during assignment optimization to reduce travel time. Work Zones could be used for the floors of a building or parts of an oil refinery or chemical plant as it can take time to travel between floors or areas. A work zone does not have to mean geographically dispersed areas although this is the most common use case.
- The Available Labor dialog filters to Labor that have their default work zone the same as that referenced on a location, when the asset field is null.
- The Select Value on the Labor field of an assignment record also performs work zone filtering.
- If you enter a Labor that has no work zone, or their work zones are not matched to that of the location or asset then a warning message will be given. The message is controlled by the setting “Warn if Assigned Outside of Work Zone?” in the Other Organization Options dialog found in the Organizations application.
- No warning message is given if the Labor is associated with the work zone of the Location or Asset irrespective of whether or not it is marked as their default work zone.
- If the assignment record requires a craft and skill level, then the Available Labor dialog matches on these two fields. It does not match to labor that have the same craft but with a higher ranked skill level. You can refilter to find the craft at multiple skill levels.
Work Zones on Locations and Assets
When a primary location references a work zone then work zone filtering occurs when selecting a labor for the assignment.
- If a work order has a primary location and asset, then only the asset is considered for work zone filtering.
- If the asset has no work zone association, then no work zone filtering occurs.
- Work Zone filtering will still occur in the Available Labor dialog if you remove the filtering by craft and skill level. The labor filtered may be from different work zones of the same asset, but they will have different work zone types.
Work Zone Type and Work Zone Filtering of Available Labor
There is a work zone field on the Assignment record which also influences work zone filtering. The main Assignment points from this section were:
- A location and asset can reference multiple work zones but only if they have different work zone types.
- If a location or asset references multiple work zones with different work zone types then each of those work zones is used as a filter in the Available Labor dialog, if the work zone on the assignment record is blank.
- Work Zone filtering will use the location and asset on the task when the assignment record references a task.
- The assignment record has a work zone field, this is filled only when the assignment references a craft with a Work Zone Type. If the assignment’s craft has no work zone type, then the work zone will not be displayed on the assignment record.
- The assignment record’s work zone can only be a work zone that belongs to the craft’s work zone type.
- When an assignment record references a task then the task’s asset is used to see if it references a work zone. If it does the work zone with a matching work zone type to that of the craft is used as the assignment’s work zone. If the asset has no work zone associations then the location’s work zone associations are used and the work zone with a match of work zone type to that of the craft is used as the assignment’s work zone.
- When an assignment record has a blank task field then the work order’s primary asset is used to see if it references a work zone. If it does the work zone with a matching work zone type to that of the craft is used as the assignment’s work zone. If the asset has no work zone associations then the location’s work zone associations are used and the work zone with a match of work zone type to that of the craft is used as the assignment’s work zone.
- In the Available Labor dialog the assignment record’s work zone will filter all labor records.
- If you want work zone filtering to be applied, then make sure the craft references a work zone type so that a work zone is added to the assignment record when the craft is referenced. This will save you from having to associate work zones to all of your assets; if the asset has no work zone and the assignment record has no work zone then no work zone filtering would occur, even if the location has work zone associations.
Work Order Tracking – Assignments Miscellany
This fourth article was a mixed bag of scenarios wrapping up items associated with Available Labor and Reschedule/Unassign Assignments dialogs, and how to handle assignments that cannot fit within the hours of one shift. It also introduced the Maximo Scheduler feature of Appointments, not Appointment Books which would be the subject of another article (or two).
In all four articles we have only dealt with labor and not yet crews. The article on crews, which is still to follow, will be at a much higher level as the expectation is that much of it will be familiar territory.
Reschedule/Unassign Assignments – Assignments Reference Work Order
When assignments only reference the work order and not a task then:
- Unchecking the field “Reschedule the assignments?” will unassign all assignments belonging to the work order, their Scheduled Start will be blank, and the assignment status will be WAITASGN.
- The work order’s Scheduled Start and Scheduled Finish are set to whatever you specify for the Reschedule Date in the dialog.
- The Reschedule of an existing assignment will not over allocate a Labor at the date/time you specify in the dialog but will schedule to the next available date/time on the assigned Labor’s shift.
Assignments for more than one shift
For assignments that will take longer than the hours of one shift then:
- create multiple assignments. If the same labor is to be assigned, then schedule each assignment at the start of the shift day/time and set the hours to the shift hours. The last assignment has the balance of hours.
- if the work order can be continued by a different shift, then still create multiple assignments but start each assignment at the start of each shift.
- if you set the hours to the total required for the assignment, then there is no splitting of the assignment at the end of the shift. The Scheduled Finish will be set by the number of hours on the assignment using a 24-hour clock. For example, assignment scheduled to start at 07:00 for 10 hours, then the Scheduled Finish will be at 17:00.
- take care to examine when the assignment will end relative to the end of the shift. If the assignment will finish after the shift end, then you should be modifying the availability of the assigned labor to provide them Extra Time. For the above example, the shift end is 15:00 and so 2 hours of Extra Time is needed.
- consider using the Assignment Manager application to split the assignment into multiple assignments if the work order is interruptible.
Fully Assigned Labor
In the Available Labor dialog there are fields in the Labor table window that need explanation.
- Start Time – this is the earliest start time in the shift of the labor when the labor is available. This is restricted to the date range set by the From and To dates. If no availability, then it is set to the end time of the last shift in the date range, or if there was a modified availability on this day to the last time that the Labor is available.
- Available Hours – this is the number of available hours on the date specified by the Start Time. The number of hours is reduced by existing assignments and adjusted according to modified availability on this day. It will show 0:00 even if negative hours will be shown in the Assignment Manager application for this day.
- Assigned – this check box will be set if the Available Hours is equal to zero.
The “Include Fully Assigned” checkbox is normally set and includes Labor where the Assigned field is checked. If unchecked, it should exclude Labor where the Assigned field is checked, it doesn’t seem to do that, the issue has been reported to IBM Support.
You can make an assignment with a Labor when there is no availability.
- If the Start Time and Hours are within the shift then the availability will become negative on the Scheduled Start date, you can see this in the Assignment Manager application.
- If you assign with the Start Time at the end of a shift, then the assignment occurs in non-working time and this is not visible in Assignment Manager which only considers assignment hours made within the shifts start and finish times. It would appear in Graphical Work Week as an assignment occurring in a non-working period (grey area) but you would need to be alert to spot this, as the assignment status is ASSIGNED you may ignore it.
In the Work Order Tracking – Assignments tab there are no warnings to let you know that:
- you are assigning when there is no availability.
- you are assigning in a period which is non-working time.
There are two fields on an assignment, Appointment Required and Appointment Made. These only appear if you are licensed for the Maximo Scheduler.
- The Appointment Required field on the work order is used as a default for the same field on a new task, but not on a new child work order.
- The Assignment’s Appointment Required checkbox is defaulted from the work order, and not the task, because when the new assignment is created the task field is generally blank.
- The Assignment’s Appointment Made checkbox when set will make the Scheduled Start field on the assignment record read-only. It locks the Scheduled Start date and time when the record is saved.
- If you uncheck the Appointment Made field and save the work order, it will enable the Scheduled Start field again.
- If you use the query “All Records” to find a task work order and on the Assignments tab you use the New Row button to create an assignment, then the Appointment Required field is copied from the task and not the work order, it is because the task is the record in focus.
Incidentally, there are no assignments on either the Quick Reporting or Activities and Tasks applications, they would exist behind the scenes, but they are not displayed in those applications.