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6 min read

Should we be monitoring our work order health?

With the growth of IoT sensors (and equally as important, the improved accessibility to the sensor data) coupled with the growth in process automation and BI, we are seeing a significant growth in both Asset Health monitoring and in the sophistication behind these health scores.

But if, for example, you ran an airline company, I am not sure what confidence your customers/passengers would have in your organisation if they knew your monitoring report listed ten aeroplanes, and whilst they were all shown as healthy, you actually operate and fly twelve aeroplanes and two are missing from report, because they are missing from the asset register totally, or they do did not have their PMs setup, or IoT sensors needed to drive the health scores. 

A little over dramatic, but hopefully you understand the point I am trying to make – that missing assets can reduce the value of our health score reporting.  Additionally, each asset class can have different maintenance and sensor requirements, so asset classification becomes as important as being able to account for each asset.  Therefore, when embarking on an Asset Health project, one of the first items we should look at and assess is the quality of asset register and if there is any ongoing monitoring of the register quality. 

Asset Health monitoring requires (at least should require) some level of Asset Register health monitoring.

Ok, you are already aware of that.  But it gets me thinking and asking what else in our maintenance management system should get a health score? 
I have already mentioned PMs, which is a reasonably obvious choice, but monitoring PMs can be easily incorporated into both the Asset and the Asset Register health monitoring, so depending on your situation your PMs may not require separate monitoring.

What about the Work Order?

I am sure most organisations would monitor the health of a $10M capital project, but what monitoring is in place on the $10M R&M budget? We have thousands of little jobs (WOs) hitting the budget – most of which are probably independent of each other, so we should just monitor the budget spend right?

Let me ask this, do you monitor your work order backlog?  If so, why?  A common answer is to understand workload or for resource management purposes, but we also are wanting some assurances that the pump with a vibration issue who’s work order is in the backlog is not going to vibrate itself to failure in the meantime.  And this is an example of how work order health can impact asset health. 

Our Asset Health monitor could have a formular that includes the number of open WOs against it, and some organisations have work order SLAs we can monitor against, but does that help prevent that pump vibrating to death before we get to the WO? 

So, my question, and point of this blog, is to ask should we be monitoring our work order health

I do not have the answer (and naturally there is not one answer as each organisation has differences).  I am curious as to people’s view on the concept of monitoring work order health.  Having a larger percentage of work orders completing successfully (however you choose to define that), is likely to save money and help extend asset life. 

How, or what could we monitor?

Questions that come to mind for me include:

  • Do we know how well each work order type is adhering to its process?
  • How well are our work orders moving through these processes?
  • What proportion of work orders fail? (Let us just say for simplicity that doing the work required on the work order is success and being closed out without the work going ahead is failure).

I think this is more than monitoring service level agreements (SLAs) and could extend into the ability to identify work that is at risk of not being completed successfully and look at real-time business process monitoring (add a little AI and it could even tell you what you need to do to get work orders back on track). 

Naturally there are hurdles.  With Asset Health monitoring we have a reliance on the quality of the asset register, so with work order monitoring we are going to have to ensure our work orders are typed/classified, and have planned details to measure against but we need and should have that information or requirement already, eh? 


CameronCameron Simpson
Lead Consultant

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