IDCON Newsletter: Reliability and Maintenance Tips: Practical Prioritising of Work Orders

In this new series of articles, IDCON president Tor Idhammar will give an insight into some of the most common leadership issues in plants and mills today.

A successful partnership between operations and maintenance comes from unified work processes.

IDCON defines work processes as something documented, executed and followed up on, and believes that priorities are fundamental to a well-functioning partnership.

Mr Idhammar said: "I recently visited a paper mill in Chicago to survey their work processes. In analysing their work orders, I found that for the most part all were marked ‘priority one’.

"I especially remember one order issued to move a vent from the back to the front of a paper mill machine, making it easier for operations.

"Carson, a piping and instrumentation diagram technician (P&ID), showed me an another work order completed three months earlier to move the very same vent, from the front to the back of paper mill machine, and yet another, moving the vent front to back, eight months prior.

"All three were marked as priority one. It appeared that the different shifts in operations wanted different things and it seemed as if maintenance functioned merely as a service organisation for them."

Mr Idhammar identifies this as an example of a lack of partnership between operations and maintenanceone, with poor communication mainly due to the fact that functioning work processes were not implemented.

"To foster good collaboration, just discussing the problem is not going to take you very far. The daily routines and work processes have to be changed as well. My suggestion is to begin by implementing a work process based on priorities of work orders," Mr Idhammar added.

Suggestions include:

  • Establish clear priority rules
  • Follow the priority rules
  • Follow up to insure the priority rules are working
  • Establish clear priority rules

More About This Company