Making resolutions for the year ahead is a time-honored tradition. Whether you are a goal-chaser who religiously checks off each resolution, or the one who just likes to follow the tradition, there’s no better time to reflect on the past year and plan for the next.
Here are seven resolutions you should make (and keep) to ensure business success in 2021:
Modernize, digitize, and optimize!
Enterprises with robust digitization initiatives were able to adapt quickly to the unexpected in 2020. The same companies will stand out in 2021, as they are able to work more productively, and from remote locations, seize opportunities faster, and exceed customer expectations by finding new ways to personalize engagement.
After a year of instability and uncertainty, companies are also looking for ways to optimize expenses. Automating your processes, empowering your employees to build applications in-house, and migrating your operations to the cloud are just some of the ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
Invest in security
Information security is paramount for enterprises across industries. And for good reason! The sheer amount of data available to enterprises today is unprecedented. You must invest in new-age technologies to strengthen your defence, improve risk management, and ensure remote and secure data access while complying with regulatory requirements.
Tap into blockchain capabilities to encrypt your data and stay vigilant to avoid security breaches.
Increase engagement with your customers
This goes beyond soliciting feedback from your customers after a transaction. Leverage social media and modern technologies to be where your customers are and to monitor their sentiments, needs, and complaints. Ensure meaningful responses and anytime-anywhere engagement with your customers in channels of their choice.
Use data to your advantage
It is easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of data available to your enterprise. Data can prove to be your best friend if you leverage analytical tools to glean meaning from the available information and foster a culture of data-driven decision making across your organization. The time is now to use modern technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning to further simplify and optimize your day-to=day operations .
Keep the learning going
Whether you choose to learn something business-related or pick up a completely unrelated skill, be intentional about enhancing your capabilities (and that of your employees!). Invite industry experts to talk about relevant issues, take a cooking class with your team, or introduce gamification—by trying something new, you can build team camaraderie and add value to your organization.
Take stock of your operations
Don’t just make do with broken processes—identify what’s working and what’s not. Use reporting and analytical tools to assess vulnerabilities, optimize processes, and eliminate inefficiencies. Remember, disjointed processes end up hurting your employee productivity and customer experience.
Give back to your community
Your company is inherently driven by its core values, so tap into those sentiments and find meaningful ways to give back to your community. Search for mentorship, volunteering, or donation opportunities that reflect your company’s mission!
So, tackle the projects you’ve been putting off, patch up those pesky business gaps, and keep your resolutions to make this year the best yet for your enterprise!
Most people in our industry know Nuix has powerful and scalable tools for solving eDiscovery, investigation, information governance, and other problems. What some may not know if that most of this technology can be run remotely, meaning work can continue and people can stay busy and safe all at the same time. Explore with us some of the scenarios and solutions we have at hand to keep the lights on while we navigate through a global pandemic.
Several remote workforce scenarios exist today using Nuix. Some of these use cases exist because of the COVID-19 pandemic, while others were in place well before. Some of these scenarios and solutions include:
The eDiscovery meat/data grinder. The process must keep moving forward; litigants will demand it.
Forensic investigation. Collect remotely and safely in a repeatable fashion.
Insolvency, bankruptcy, and accounting. Who is owed, by whom? How much is left? What contracts are valid or invalid? How will you sort out the mess? The hospitality and retail industries, along with others, have been hit hard. Fair distribution of assets and wealth is required considering the situation.
Fraud. During recovery, it’s an unfortunate reality that investigations into misappropriation of funds from the federal government will be necessary. The old adage “follow the money” holds true here; there’s a lot of money involved, hence a proportionate amount of fraud.
REAL SITUATIONS IN A CHANGED WORLD
We continue to hear about incredible applications of our software from customers faced with significant challenges.
Getting Ahead Of Insolvency And Bankruptcy
One large global customer had over 12 TB of data already collected and placed into the Nuix Discover® SaaS environment as they started to sort through insolvency materials. These materials will allow the firm to properly assign asset ownership and distribution for companies that have unfortunately had to shut down a result of COVID-19.
It will take years of discovery work to properly dispose of assets for thousands of companies affected by the pandemic. Using Nuix Discover in the cloud, the firm can start ranking assets and creditors using the software’s analytics capabilities and continuous active learning (CAL).
Field Work Using A Mobile Forensic Lab
It’s not uncommon for a mobile forensic lab to be “wheeled in” to a location to collect data for a forensic investigation. It is possible however to use the Nuix Portable Collector to make forensically sound images. It’s ideal especially for larger data quantities that can’t be reliably collected over the network in a timely manner and have them shipped to a static forensic lab. Just as clean rooms are often used for forensic investigations, you can adapt similar procedures allowing forensic examiners to ensure their safety while processing and investigation commence via the cloud or the web-based review and analytics interfaces.
Virtual Settlement Conferences
We have a partner that’s processing data centrally and distributing it using Nuix Investigate® to help its clients facilitate virtual legal settlement conferences.
To begin, unstructured data is being downloaded from networked drives at the rate of around 200 GB a day in batches. This data is sometimes custodian-based and sometimes based on matter or data type.
The partner then processes the data with Nuix Workstation and presents it online via a secure login to Nuix Investigate. The end customers—in this case, law firms—can then run various searches; tag, annotate, and redact; and then inform the partner that the data is ready for production. At this point, the partner produces a load file in Nuix Workstation and uploads it to a network drive securely via virtual private network.
Most litigation is settled outside of a courtroom. This fact, and the current environment, lends itself to a virtual remote working process. Many parties are likely to take the attitude of “Let’s just settle quickly rather than take our chances waiting for courts to reopen.”
The recent trend of law firms moving to e-signatures for official documents specifically to meet the needs of this unusual time further pressures the legal services community and legal software companies to ensure a safe and uninterrupted workflow.
Centralization Of Data
Because Nuix tools allow you to work via the web creating a data lake, serving many stakeholders (Legal/Compliance/Risk/Governance/Investigation) makes a ton of sense. Even the inverse sounds better and transparent to users—leave the data where it is, process it where it lives, and form a virtual data lake and manage the data via the web using Nuix Investigate and the functionality to promote data to Nuix Discover to keep the party going.
AN ECOSYSTEM OF VIRTUAL OPTIONS
Nuix Solutions Consultants can architect the solution suitable for all aspects of working from home. If you can describe what you want to do, we can design a safe and productive home office workflow using our existing suite of software.
Running Nuix Workstation In The Cloud? Yes You Can!
A little-known fact, Nuix Workstation and Nuix Investigate both run well in Azure, Google Cloud, or AWS virtual environments. Using the Aspera utility for uploading data quickly to the SaaS environment of your choice, it’s easy to process and enrich data, getting it ready for review and analytics quickly. You can use the same licenses you already have and install the products on cloud-based servers anywhere in the world while pulling licenses for servers in traditionally architected locations behind the firewall or in the cloud for no additional cost.
Nuix Discover SaaS
Nuix Discover SaaS has been available for years, putting linear review, advanced analytics, and so much more at legal teams’ fingertips. With a long, storied tradition of cloud support and continuous performance updates, look no further for your eDiscovery review needs.
The Nuix investigate user and group permissioning allows for incredibly granular separation of duties. Not only can you set up users within groups to have unique logins and access to only specific cases, you can even set specific permissions to operate within a given case. Restrictions to downloading, redacting, printing, and other operations exist for each user and group.
You can also change or elevate permissions at any time as well as changing or deleting logins for temporary users to further ensuring chain of custody. Separation of responsibility is now more important than ever since we can’t easily physically audit data or even the process used to produce it. Being able to demonstrate that a series of people were involved in the virtual chain of custody is increasingly important.
Licensing In The Cloud
Nuix’s Cloud Licensing Server allows high speed expansion to processing capability with no risk and makes burst licensing for when the big jobs land in your lap a reality.
Because Nuix Workstation and Nuix Investigate are now licensed by the Cloud Licensing Server, licenses are distributed via AWS instead of a physical license dongle, removing one more physical obstacle and, incidentally, keeping staff safe. As I mentioned above, if a matter increases in size, we can distribute “burst” licenses for specific timeframes to meet the challenge of unexpected or uncommonly large data sets.
With expectations that litigation will rise steadily in the coming months due to COVID recovery efforts, burst licensing could come in very handy.
Collect From Anywhere
With Nuix Enterprise Collection Center you can push the two flavors of Nuix agents to endpoints easily, drastically expanding your network collection capabilities. You can create collections for forensic as well as eDiscovery use cases and pull the data over the network.
Great news! It’s already sanitized—no hand sanitizer needed! The data (and devices housing it) never need to physically change hands. All this work collecting, processing, and reviewing the data can be “done from home” and work can continue with a highly defensible chain of custody built in.
MORE FLEXIBILITY WITH EVERY RELEASE
We didn’t start down the path toward flexibility through some prescient expectation of a global pandemic. Products like Nuix Discover and Nuix Investigate, along with our cloud licensing and endpoint software, just happen to meet the needs of a distributed workforce.
Let’s face it; modern organizations demand more options and employ more remote workers today than ever in history. I don’t have a statistic for that, but just look around and you can see it for yourself. While this pandemic will pass and many of you will go back to work in an office in the hopefully near future, the need still exists for options in your enterprise software solutions.
Until then, stay safe, and know that we continue to work to make our software more flexible and more useful to answer your biggest and most difficult data challenges.
At its core, the concept behind the Four Eyes principle is a simple one — it’s simply a matter of getting two different people to approve some type of action before it can be taken. You’ve no doubt heard the old saying of “two heads are better than one.” This is simply the same concept, applied to the larger world of business.
The Four Eyes principle is something that you see play out in a wide range of industries. In the legal profession, for example, many documents require two signatures for verification instead of one. In a retail environment, there may be a requirement to have at least two people unloading a truck or stocking shelves at the same time in an effort to reduce the risk of injury or theft. Even some data management systems require two people to approve updates to documents before those changes are committed to the data.
Regardless, what you’re really trying to do is increase accountability across the board. A second person might catch an error or other type of issue with a document that the first one missed.
Of course, in some environments, this is a lot easier said than done — particularly in those where data is spread out in a lot of different repositories and leaders may lack basic visibility into what is being stored where, when, and how. If you’re not actually sure where the most recent version of a document exists, it’s hard to get one person to sign off on it or review it — let alone two.
Thankfully, there is a solution that can allow you to leverage the full benefits of the Four Eyes principle to your advantage. A simple workflow process in an information management system like M-Files can not only make this easier than ever, but simple and efficient at the exact same time.
The Four Eyes Principle and M-Files: A Match Made in Heaven
Consider the Four Eyes principle within the context of a professional services firm, where two different people need to review the same document before it makes its way into the hands of a client. Here, this protocol provides a level of quality control on all client deliverables — not to mention a series of checks and balances to make sure that important items are getting out the door on-time.
If for just one example, a firm has finalized an updated corporate tax return for a client, it will obviously need to be reviewed by at least two people — the accountant that prepared it and the client’s account manager.
With an information management solution like M-Files, you don’t necessarily need these two people to be in constant communication with one another because the system is designed to handle every step of the process. As soon as that corporate tax return is completed, that information automatically gets assigned to a workflow that instantly notifies the reviewing parties. This happens regardless of where the information is stored or in which data repository it may exist. M-Files connects disparate repositories, creating a single source of truth for information across a business.
At that point, all collaborators can then co-author the document and add notes for further changes. Only once everything is formally approved by all key stakeholders will the document be authorized as a client deliverable. This helps make sure that only the best quality version of the document makes its way to the client, thus improving their experience and avoiding unnecessary delays as well.
Without getting too in the weeds, four-eye approval workflows can be configured however the company prefers.
Consecutive, Down-the-Line Approval. One such configuration is a consecutive approval workflow, where the document flows to the first approver and then on to the second afterward.
Concurrent, Parallel Approval. Another option has review and approval done concurrently, and after both have completed their review, the document process is complete.
The configuration is completely up to the user. Either way, this type of workflow automation is a great way to create an audit trail of advisory deliverables to track who made what changes, when, and why. If anything about the document comes into question in the future, you can always see who made which revisions and get insight into what their justifications were. This isn’t just helpful for tracking the overall status of documents as they make their way around your business — it’s also absolutely essential for compliance and even legal reasons, as well.
Generally speaking, the organizations that tend to have a difficult time successfully implementing the Four Eyes principle are ones that don’t really have control over their data in the first place. They tend to lack a way to really track the progress of documents that are in play, creating a situation where two different people may be working from different versions of a document — causing unnecessary errors along the way.
The right information management system like M-Files, on the other hand, is built to keep these types of situations from happening. M-Files can help break down those data silos so that communication and collaboration are easier than ever before. This in turn creates the most important benefit of all: a situation where the Four Eyes principle is executed quickly and seamlessly.
While it’s absolutely true that no two digital transformations are created equally, maybe the most important factor for digital transformation at scale is that it begins and ends as true company-wide efforts. Without a clear understanding of the importance of the project — along with buy-in from any and all key stakeholders along the way — your efforts will be doomed to failure before they’ve even had a chance to really get going.
Regardless of the nature of your project, any digital transformation will require several factors to ensure its success. Not only will they help make sure that everyone is always on the same page and moving forward, but they will also be invaluable in terms of mitigating risk and avoiding a lot of the mistakes that cause serious issues as well.
Define an Ample Budget
Even modest digital transformations still require an upfront capital investment to be successful — which means the number one game-changing factor to help scale your own efforts involves preparing for these costs as soon as you can.
While it’s true that the costs of your efforts to embrace emerging technologies will obviously vary depending on a number of factors that are unique to your business, experts recommend that you should expect to budget around a 5% operating cost which itself will be determined by the marketing and your unique company.
But when you consider the money you could be leaving on the table by not making an effort to keep up with your competitors in a technological capacity, it’s easy to see why this investment is such an important one to make for most people.
The Importance of a Well-Defined Plan
Once you know exactly what results you want from your digital transformation, you need to define the steps needed to make that vision a reality. In other words, you need a well-defined plan and you need one BEFORE your digital transformation begins.
It may take a bit of trial and error to determine the exact course of action for your company, but doing so will make sure that everyone understands what is expected of them and why their role is so important. It will also help avoid confusion later on.
Choosing the Right Technologies: Things to Consider
Since technology itself is at the heart of digital transformation at scale, it stands to reason that you should spend a great deal of time thinking about which ones you’re trying to embrace and, more importantly, why.
But it would be a mistake to start with the technology itself and buy into something simply because it’s “new” or “state-of-the-art.” Think about what your business needs to accomplish that it currently cannot and make a list of those technologies that can help make that happen.
Are you trying to execute a digital transformation with an emphasis on cloud-based services to reduce your overhead and empower collaboration? Do you want to be able to employ artificial intelligence tools to derive more from your business’ data? Do you want to bring in automation so that you can offload a lot of those menial tasks, freeing up the valuable time of your human employees to focus on those matters that really need them?
If your business is constantly battling data silos and lost productivity due to poor communication and collaboration, for example, an information management solution like M-Files would absolutely be one of those technologies that can help solve these challenges. By connecting information across your enterprise into a single, secure repository, insight can finally flow freely across your organization for the first time. Everyone who needs access to information to do their job has it, thus making it easier to work together and derive superior results for your clients as well.
Along the same lines, you’ll also want to make an effort to implement these technologies with minimal disruption to existing operations. A solution like M-Files can help enormously to that end, as it works natively with a lot of the software you’re probably already using and won’t necessarily require employees to change their workflows or undergo a massive data migration.
Change Management Best Practices to Be Aware Of
Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing — but it can be if your employees aren’t engaged all throughout your digital transformation. This is why change management matters so much to your effort’s success — if employees are unwilling to change for the sake of your company’s future, engagement will suffer. This will put you farther away from your goal, not closer to it.
Always be transparent about what shape your digital transformation is taking and allow employees to prepare on their own terms to get them more comfortable. Make sure you provide training on any new tools and keep those communication lines open so that you can address any and all concerns someone may have.
Digital Transformation at Scale: Setting Benchmarks for Success
Finally, you need to understand that “success” in terms of digital transformation isn’t as clear-cut as you may think. There is no set amount of time for how long it is supposed to take, for example. The only metrics you should be paying attention to are those that speak directly to what you were trying to accomplish, to begin with.
To put it another way, your benchmarks for success will be unique to your business — but it’s important you set them now and measure them continually to help guarantee progress is moving along as it should be. Consistently monitoring and measuring key performance indicators relative to your goals will at the very least always help confirm you’re headed in the right direction. This will also help make sure that everyone stays focused, that people are ready to learn and adapt as new challenges arise, and it will also help confirm that the approach you’re taking is the right one. That last point may very well be the most important benefit of all.
Automation in the workplace is when computers perform the types of tasks that would normally require human intervention, thus freeing up the valuable time of living, breathing employees so that they can focus on those matters that truly need them. These days, modern-day automation systems leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to perform everything from speech recognition to translation between languages to tasks that require visual perception and much, much more.
But really, the benefit here is about more than just allowing employees to work “smarter, not harder.” Workplace automation doesn’t just eliminate those manual, repetitive processes — it eliminates the error-prone ones, too. It’s not about replacing your human employees at all — it’s about supporting and empowering them in a way that allows them to do better work on a daily basis, all while getting guaranteed, repeatable results with the right workflow automation solutions by your side.
It’s also something that impacts every department in a business: from human resources to customer support to finance and beyond.
The Human Resources Impact of Automation in the Workplace
According to one recent study, it’s estimated that every time you have to replace a salaried employee, it will cost you the equivalent of between six and nine months of that salary to do so. If you’re replacing an employee who previously made $60,000 a year, for example, it will cost you between $30,000 and $45,000 to fill that position once things like recruiting and training expenses are accounted for.
It is exactly this type of pain point that workplace automation can help solve, as companies have already had a great deal of success with AI-enabled bots that have significantly improved their talent acquisition process. Not only can a bot be trained to track down high-value candidates based on certain keywords in both their resume and in the job description that they’re applying for, but they can also help schedule interviews too. All of this frees up actual human resources employees to spend more time working one-on-one with those candidates, rather than wading through massive volumes of paperwork in an effort to find them in the first place.
Better Technology, Better Customer Service
Customer service has long been one of the major competitive advantages for most businesses, as a massive 42% of consumers say that they would gladly pay more money for a friendly, welcoming experience. Another 52% say that they would pay more for a speedy, efficient customer experience, according to the same source.
This, too, is an area that can be positively impacted by automation in the workplace, as developers estimate that up to 80% of ALL interactions between a brand and a customer can be successfully handled via chatbots. Chatbots leverage the real data that your business is already creating to help customers automatically handle everything from bill payments to troubleshooting to other account issues, all without needing to pick up the phone and give someone a call. In addition to freeing up the time of human customer service agents to focus on those matters that actually require their immediate attention, but it’s also a great way to cut costs that can then be funneled into other areas of the business where they can do the most good, too.
Automation in Finance
Automation can also be a critical tool in terms of financial process management — something that is a leading cause of stress for most businesses, regardless of industry. Businesses can use financial process automation for essential tasks like accounts reconciliation, journal entries, preparing financial statements, and more — all in a way that virtually eliminates the risk of human error (and expensive accounting mistakes).
But automation can also be used to automatically send out invoices to customers after work has been performed, and to periodically check in with those customers to make sure they pay as soon as they’re able to. Every minute that an employee doesn’t have to spend hunting down an invoice is a minute they can focus on more forward-thinking jobs for your business. Likewise, this is also a great way to make sure those invoices are actually paid — thus putting more money in your pocket at the exact same time.
Drive Automation in the Workplace with M-Files
M-Files workflows increase productivity by automating business processes. Common business processes can be streamlined with automated workflows — like contract approvals, controlled content, and invoicing — so teams can work on more value-adding tasks. M-Files automatically delivers a notification when there’s a task that needs to be processed.
M-Files automatically monitors every step of the business process. The version history of each file tracks all workflow steps. Organizations can audit-proof their business while achieving full visibility into important business processes.
The Long-Term Impact of the Automation Revolution
All told, it’s estimated that a massive 45% of ALL activities performed by human employees on a daily basis can actually be automated using technologies that are already readily available. To put that into perspective, that means potentially saving up to $2 trillion in annual wages in the United States alone.
But again — the reason why automation in the workplace can help every type of business isn’t that it will replace your human employees with robots. Instead, it’s about making sure that those human employees have access to the tools they need to do their jobs more effectively than ever before.
By using technology to support your workers, they’re free to do better work and create stronger relationships on a daily basis. The savvy brands that understand this and embrace automation in the workplace soon will be the ones that create a foundation of success that will last them a decade or more moving forward. The ones that don’t — who still think workplace automation is a trend — will soon find themselves left behind by their savvier competitors.
The maintenance team at Voltalia had a big problem. They were closing over 104,000 work orders every year with no work order data to show for it.
The renewable energy producer and service provider had no idea if any of its PMs caused breakdowns instead of preventing them. Or if it was spending labor hours, parts, and other resources on unnecessary work. Or if it was assigning the right number of people to a task. Or much of anything about their work orders.
Rewriting the script to make data count
Voltalia’s maintenance team vowed to change this. After years of working toward their goal, they reached a “100% improvement in measuring maintenance KPIs,” in the words of Vasco Vieira, Voltalia’s Maintenance Engineering Director.
The data helped the company uncover some major efficiencies. For example, the work order data showed that one team was spending 40 hours every week driving from the office to an off-site facility. That meant adding time and costs to every job. The company ended up building a smaller satellite office near the off-site facility to save time and money.
The moral of the story
Work order data has the power to transform the way maintenance teams operate. There are the small wins, like making every job easier for technicians, that add up to bigger ones, like decreasing maintenance costs across the board. Voltalia is proof of that.
But this data is often overlooked. It’s not because maintenance teams think it’s useless. It’s because looking at thousands of work orders is not easy. This post provides some best practices for making this process easier so you can discover insights in your work orders and use them to make a difference at your organization.
How to get maintenance data from work orders
The most common obstacle to using work order data is having unreliable data or no data at all.
“Before you do anything with work order data, you need to know that it’s there and clean. If not, all the decisions you make afterwards are going to be flawed,” says Vishakha Shah, a Solutions Consultant on Fiix’s professional services team.
Getting off on the right foot with work order data is a four-step process:
#1: Define your goals
Some data is helpful. Too much is distracting. Having a goal will help you draw the line between the right numbers and the distracting ones. Some examples of a goal include:
Building a world-class preventive maintenance program
Creating a lean maintenance strategy
Using maintenance to increase throughput across the business
#2: Create your measurements
Think about the areas of your day-to-day operation that can mark progress toward your goal. Some examples of measurements in your work orders include:
Percentage of reactive vs. preventive work orders
Number of faults found during PMs
Frequency of reactive work on critical assets
Number of expected vs actual labor hours
Size of backlogged work orders
#3: Build work orders around those metrics
Set up your work orders to get the metrics you’ve chosen. To do that your work orders need to be created with three Ss in mind:
Standard: Your work orders should ask for the same information every time. The process for creating, reviewing, assigning, prioritizing, and completing work orders should be as standard as possible.
Specific: Be exact about what you want to know. For example, if labor hours are important, ask how much time each task took instead of the time for an entire work order. This will give you cleaner data and makes it easier to spot key metrics quickly.
Simple: Involve staff who frequently make and complete work orders in the process. The input will help you design work orders that are easier to fill in and increases the likelihood they’ll actually be completed.
#4: Start small and scale your success
Finding problems in your process is heartbreaking when you’ve spent months on it. Avoid this by starting with work orders from one asset or from one area of the facility. Hone your measurements, get quick wins, and scale the process to other parts of the organization.
How to use work order data to find and fix problems
Collecting work order data is pointless if it’s not used to solve problems at your organization. Every facility has unique issues, but three most common ones are unplanned downtime, critical work that’s delayed, and work that takes more time and resources to complete.
How to prevent equipment downtime
Here are a few questions to ask to find the cause of reactive maintenance and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again:
Was a follow-up task not created or completed? Make sure failed inspections trigger high-priority follow-up actions and alert the right people. A concise list of failure codes helps follow-up work be successful.
Was a defective part used during a repair? Make sure other spares aren’t defective. If they are, follow up with your vendors to get new ones.
Were tasks on a previous work order missed or done incorrectly? Review your task list and fix any unclear instructions that may have led to missed tasks. Supplement task lists by attaching asset histories, diagrams, pictures, and manuals.
Was scheduled maintenance missed prior to the failure? Mark critical work as a priority and make it visible in whatever system you have until it’s done.
Was production higher than normal/planned, was it done incorrectly, or was it modified?: Review your maintenance schedules and consult with the operations team to create stronger SOPs for when production increases or changes.
How to prevent work from being delayed
Work order data can help you find and fix work orders that took so long to get to:
Parts and supplies were not available. Review the purchasing process for these parts, including minimum quantities and who can submit purchase orders so you’re never shorthanded again.
The problem wasn’t identified properly or instructions were missing. See if the work order description, failure codes, and task list can be clearer. Attach photos, manuals, SOPs, or other documentation to the work order.
An emergency work order diverted resources: This can’t always be avoided, but it could tell you that the task is too big. Consider breaking it into smaller tasks to prioritize parts of the job.
There was a scheduling conflict with production: Talk to operations about why maintenance is necessary on the asset. Consider giving operators minor maintenance responsibilities associated with the work order.
The person/people assigned to the work did not have the right skills: Make it very clear on the work request what kind of skills or certifications are necessary for certain maintenance types.
How to prevent work from taking longer than it should
Maintenance schedules don’t have a lot of room for error. When work runs long, it has a big domino effect. Work orders can give you insight into what’s causing work orders to take longer and how to fix the issue.
It was assigned to the wrong person: Work will take longer if the technician didn’t have the right skill set. Standardized work requests let everyone know the right person to assign. Add as many manuals, pictures, diagrams, and other resources to work orders to help technicians who are unfamiliar with the task.
The expected completion time was too low: The expected labor hours should be increased if a work order is consistently taking more time than is given.
The task list was too big or unclear: Join an experienced technician as they complete the work order, document what they do step-by-step, and create task lists with this information. Give expected hours for each task in the work order so you know which ones are causing problems.
Not enough technicians were assigned to this work order: It might not be a one (or two, or three) person job.
Additional work was done during the work order: Develop processes that help technicians create and prioritize separate work orders for additional corrective repairs.
Parts and supplies were hard to find: Bundle together all parts and supplies needed for common and critical work orders so they can be accessed quickly.
How to scale your success with work order data
What happens when you want to take the next step and start analyzing hundreds or thousands of work orders? There are three answers to this question:
Prioritize work orders so you’re focusing on the ones that matter most
Hire more people to analyze work orders
Invest in a system that does all this for you
How to prioritize work orders
“If you’re strapped for time and resources, focus on reactive work orders,” says Stuart Fergusson, Fiix’s Solutions Engineer Leader.
Identifying how work orders contributed to failures will help you move toward a solid preventive maintenance program, says Stuart.
If you have reactive maintenance work orders locked down, the next batch to prioritize are high-risk, upcoming work orders. This is work that has the potential to go very wrong, including work on critical assets, work that hasn’t been done in a while, or large and complex projects.
If you can squeeze in a few more work orders, Stuart recommends analyzing work that costs a lot. Making these projects more efficient will make a major impact. Look at work that uses a lot of labor, major components, and planned downtime on production assets.
How to justify more resources for your team
Results are the currency you need to convince your boss that you need another person on your team. Highlight the problems you’ve uncovered and fixed by analyzing and optimizing work orders. For example, how many failures have you caught and prevented? Did you decrease the cost of projects by helping technicians be more efficient? No win is too small.
Show the impact of this success if it was achieved on a larger scale. If you saved a dozen labor hours on one work order, imagine how many labor hours would be saved across 100 work orders.
Drive the point home by describing the ripple effect this could have on maintenance. If someone could take work off your plate, it could mean less backlog. Or more training for operators to do routine maintenance tasks, freeing your team to do big projects. Focus on where a new hire may add value indirectly.
Software for work order analytics
Almost every maintenance analytics platform focuses on asset data. It’s not that easy to find a system that goes deep on work orders. Until now.
Work order insights, powered by Fiix Foresight, can analyze 1000s of work orders in minutes and tell you what work has caused breakdowns, overdue work, extra labor hours, or other problems. The work order insights report goes through all your work orders, compares similar ones, and identifies the riskiest ones by finding outliers.
For example, you might have many of the same asset across multiple facilities with hundreds of PMs per year on those assets. If the task count on one PM is half as big as the others, work order insights will catch this. Spot this problem, change your task list, and avoid missing a crucial step in your scheduling maintenance.
That’s just a small taste of what work order insights can do. Learn more about how the report works, what it looks like, and more here.
Everything you just read in three sentences
Creating a successful work order data strategy includes defining your goals, choosing metrics and benchmarks that align with those goals, building work orders that collect those metrics, and piloting your approach.
Studying work orders that took too long to complete or get to and were in response to breakdowns will help you identify the areas of the work order that need fine-tuning and prevent these problems from popping up again.
Scaling your success with work order data relies on three things: Prioritizing work orders, quantifying success to justify more resources, and investing in work order systems that can take on tedious and time-consuming analysis.