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Duplicate Work Orders

by Terry Taylor

We have all experienced duplicate work orders in our work order system. The problem is generally rooted in the way the current system is designed and in how it functions. Thereby becoming a systemic problem for the organization. It creates wasted time for planners, frustration with the creators of the work orders, and over-states the size of the backlog.

There is a very simple solution for this problem. It is a “Problem Tag”. Yes, the problem tag is a very old solution to a very old,but still common problem.

This tag should be used anytime a problem is reported and will be logged into the work order system. It serves several key purposes:

  • 1. It’s a visual clue to eliminate duplication of work orders. If a tag is present and a second person identifies the problem, it’s safe to assume that the problem was reported.
  • 2. Eliminates location confusion. The tag allows for the exact location of the problem. An example: A problem is noted on a steam trap where dozens of the same steam trap exist in a small area. Imagine if you are the planner scoping the job or the craftsperson going to repair, it would be difficult and time consuming to find the right steam trap if it’s not clearly identified.
  • 3. Allows for better investigation of the problem. The problem tag identifies the person who reported the problem allowing for follow up questions of what happened.
  • 4. Improves follow up and performance management. The problem tag includes the dateit was placed. Therefore, the aging of the problem is very easy for others to see.

Using this simple solution has the effect of solving some very annoying and costly problems.

For this system to work, it is essential to work in a somewhat organized fashion with the backlog. If problems aren't fixed, your production line will eventually look like a Christmas tree of problem tags.