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Effective prioritization of PM Work Order

Is your maintenance department able to prioritize the work order perfectly?.Most of you may answer “Yes” to this question while having a thought crossing your mind whether they are doing it correctly or are they ignoring the real value of the priority codes?.

There is no doubt that a timely approach to maintenance work can reduce the cost.Especially in Shutdown management technique , the priority field plays a great role.The quality of shutdown planning is dependent on the priority assigned as the shutdown worklist should be completed ASAP.


Priority configuration in SAP:

As of now SAP configuration for priority field is limited to time reference as you see in the image below. The relative start and end have impact only on the basic start and end dates of the work order. Maintenance departments usually use a simple priority 1, 2, 3, etc. with the highest level to be corrected within 12 hours, the 2nd within 2 days etc.


A priority system should be maintained and it has to be ensured that everyone follows it.But auditing a large number of work order for this purpose will be a time consuming task.We generally find that there is a great tendency by the supervisors to put his/her works orders on to the highest priority without considering its actual priority.Definitely the supervisor had used the resource ineffectively. Due to this a priority 1 job is missed which may have increased the equipment downtime, labour cost and material cost etc.

As discussions progressed on this issue we came up with an idea of a decision tree. A priority code system can internally use a decision tree to achieve a perfect priority assignment. In this way we can make sure that a wrong job is not done first.The decision tree will be built from a Ranking index for maintenance and Job classification developed by maintenance management team. Mostly the index will consist of Equipment/Functional location criticality, capacity, reliability, repair cost, hazards, operating cost and labour.

 Sample Ranking Index  

 Rank 5

 Boilers, Compressors

 Rank 4


 Job Classification  


 Life in danger, Critical work


 Breakdown can happen

 The decision tree will determine the work order priority based on the rank and job classification and a better decision can be made on the priority assignment. The priority codes should be correlated to ranking index based on the standard operating procedure followed in the company.

My next blog will be a design for the Priority code system with a visual decision tree. Stay tuned………..:)

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