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The Basics of Closing Codes for Work Orders in EAM

In the early days of rolling out EAM, back when it was known as 7i, I was working with Nucor Steel on their project and we would take our work to the bar after leaving the site. This bar happened to be at Earl Jackson’s house and it was named the G-Spot. The saying goes, “hard to find, but fun when you get there”. Actually, the G-Spot got its’ name from Gwen – Earl’s wife. She helped in the construction of the bar, so Earl and Chuck, their best friend named it the G-Spot. What does this have to do with closing codes? I’ll explain.

One night after a long day of work we retreated to the G-Spot and re-deployed our laptops to the bar counter. We were in deep discussions about what is called static data such as equipment classes and part classes, then I sprung the question on Earl, “what do you want to do about closing codes?”. Then suddenly out of know where Earl spouted out the genius I’m about to share with you. It was if he was possessed by some higher power who was using him to channel the information to me so I could capture it. It was truly an amazing experience to behold.

Importance of Closing Codes

Closing codes in the EAM world are four valuable pieces of information to be captured on each and every work order at the time of closing. These four pieces of information help a maintenance department determine common reoccurring problems in their areas of responsibility.

It is expected that anyone within an organization report problems with equipment or assets to the maintenance department with a Work Request. The work request screen is usually dummied down to make the process of entering a work request easy. The user describes the nature of the problem in the work request description field. He then selects the equipment from a look up. Some organizations let the user choose the type of work order, i.e. emergency or corrective, and some even let the user choose the priority.

Earl’s Profound Knowledge

Earl said, “We can’t expect our ordinary requestor to know the nature of the problem when they submit a work order, so all we want from them is to use four of their five God given senses to tell maintenance why they think there is a problem.” Those five senses are as follows:

Problem codes

  • Visual – Something doesn’t look right.
  • Smell – Something doesn’t smell right.
  • Sound – Something doesn’t sound right.
  • Temperature – Something is too hot or cold.

When maintenance arrives on scene they look for the same problem that the requestor reported before taking action. Earl said, “We expect maintenance to categorize the problem into the major food groups of maintenance. These food groups are:

Failure codes

  • Mechanical
  • Electrical
  • Hydraulic
  • Pneumatic
  • Lubrication

You can guarantee that one of these failures is the source of the problem. Then we move on to what action is required. This is simple and applies to every situation:

Action codes

  • Adjust
  • Repair
  • Replace
  • Upgrade

Then in the final analysis maintenance determines the cause however painful it is.

Cause codes

  • Negligence
  • Normal wear
  • Run to failure
  • Act of God

This pretty much sums up everything we need in closing codes. Then as Earl usually does, he finishes his speech with “so…”.

To find out more about closing codes or to get in touch with us for any questions you may have, click here.

Can you really change an equipment code in EAM?

In EAM, we drill it into people’s head that a code field cannot be changed, updated, or reused after the record is created, saved, and associated with another system record. However, recently we have found a new action when you right click on any equipment record in version 11.3. There is now an option to “Change Equipment Number” which essentially lets you change the equipment code. So, of course, me being the analyst, I had to test this out to see how it affected the equipment record as well as all records associated with the equipment (Structure, PM Schedules, Work Orders, etc.).

My findings gave me a lot of mixed feelings about this new functionality. Let me lay out all the details and then I will explain my excitement and hesitation on using this function.

Here’s what I found

First, I created a few systems and assets. I put all the systems in the structure but left a few of the assets un-linked from the structure. I then created a PM schedule using the equipment I created, generated some PM Work Orders and created a few Breakdown Work Orders. Some were in a status of Released and I closed one of them.

Moment Of Truth

I went to the equipment records, right clicked, and selected “Change Equipment Number”. Let me preface this. With the knowledge I have as a consultant, everything in my head is telling me this isn’t going to work because the equipment is linked to other records and there are open work orders also associated. These 2 things would keep you from making any major changes to these equipment records. I proceeded anyway and entered a new equipment number followed by hitting submit. It took a minute to work, but then it told me that the record had been updated.

Was it that simple?

I wasn’t convinced yet. I still had some questions that had to be answered like did the equipment number update on the work orders, structure, PM Schedules? Did the Events tab have any record showing that the equipment number had been updated? If there was an audit on the code field, did it show update activity on the audit log?

I went searching in EAM for my answers. The new equipment code was updated on PM Schedules and Work Orders (opened and closed). The Events tab of the equipment changed the code from the old code to the new – the only place you would see the change is if you look closely at the description of the IN and AA lines. Even more, when I ran a quick report on the equipment numbers (new and historical), it never showed any update to the new number. It also allowed me to use the historical equipment code to create a new record in the same organization and in a different organization. Now, this is good news and bad news depending on how you look at it.

The good news

This is good news because if you happen to create a lot of equipment records then realize that some of them should have different equipment codes, you can update them no problem. Furthermore, the history of that equipment will remain intact and be updated with the new code. Also, if another organization needs to use your old code, there are no limitations to them using it.

The bad news

Now from the eyes of the analyst the fall back for me is data integrity. If a code field is changed, I want good history of when it was changed, what it was changed from, who did it and why it was done. It doesn’t have to be on the front end as I don’t mind running a report to get the information. However, I want to be able to see it somewhere besides the description field of the Events for that equipment.

Companies also need to be aware of this functionality so it is only limited to those who have the authorization to create and update equipment records – this could be very dangerous if all user groups had accessibility to this function. I also don’t like that the code can be reused if there are historical records associated with the old equipment number. But, again, that just goes back to data integrity.

The bottom line

All in all, this is a great function to have available. With that said, it is important for companies to make sure they only have it accessible to the specific user groups that can create and update equipment records. That is if they want to give users the authorization to use this functionality at all.

As always, I do my best to stay up to date with the latest features or changes with Infor EAM. Anytime you have any questions, concerns, comments, or critiques, please don’t hesitate to call or email me. Or, just send a product support query by clicking here. Thank you for reading!

Managing EAM Software & Services With Budget Constraints On Maintenance Departments

One of the biggest hurdles some of our customers face is a budget constraint when it comes to services and project costs for their maintenance software. It’s no secret that maintenance departments often have small budgets anyway, which makes it difficult to get a lot of projects approved. Projects and services for Maintenance software is especially low on the budgeting priority list for most companies and can be even more difficult to get approved.

Strategies for staying within a budget

Some of our clients have come to understand the significant importance of maintenance and will budget for whatever is necessary. However, most companies we deal with have a lot of software service needs, but have only a very limited budget to pay for it. Luckily, there are numerous ways we can assist with budgetary restrictions.

DigitalThinker understands the financial hurdles most companies face and we will work with you in whatever way we can. That is why we have developed a number of different strategies to help companies overcome these obstacles.

Here are a few of the many ways we help companies with a restrictive budget:

  • Work with a specific number of hours and set up a project plan to work within these hours. We will discuss business processes to find the pain points that need immediate attention. Then, we prioritize them so we can work on the most important issues first.
  • We can train a system administrator at your company to help solve future issues if possible. If not, one of our consultants can act as a system administrator on an as needed basis.
  • Split up training hours or consulting work over a longer period of time. A small number of companies have come to us for an hour or two here and there, then will wait until their budget allows for more. We can schedule in advance to continue training and fixing the issues they are having with EAM all together.

We are here to help

At DigitalThinker, we are flexible and will work with you to get your EAM Project completed successfully. Regardless of the budget constraints, we can develop a strategy that helps you get things completed in a cost effective manner. Please feel free to contact us and let us know how we can help you.

How Manufacturing Companies Can Maintain a Competitive Advantage With New Technology.

Our world could not survive without the manufacturing industry. The continuous increase in demand for products and goods will always be our way of life and the manufacturing industry will have to be able to keep up with technology to survive.

Unfortunately, some manufacturing companies who were once thriving leaders of the market will eventually give way to others who have anticipated these advancements. In addition, other companies who are experiencing tremendous growth may not have the resources that are designed to grow with them and will eventually fall behind. So how do these manufacturing companies maintain a competitive advantage?

Here Is The Good News

Successful companies know the importance of keeping up with technology. Not only have they been able to change their mindset, but they have also taken the necessary steps to transform the way they do business. As a result, they have been able to maintain a healthy competitive advantage in their particular market. For others, they either don’t know where to start or they just don’t know how to get there.

To those companies who have fallen behind in their industry, I’m here to tell you that it’s not too late. There is still hope for climbing the ladder of success and reclaiming the crown as leader of your industry. For the companies who are still climbing that ladder but are growing faster than what their resources can handle, congratulations! This solution is perfect for you too!

There are many different ways to make your company great again and maintain a competitive advantage. However, the information I am about to share with you could possibly be the single most important step you could take. It’s certainly one of the first things successful companies are already doing.

Take Care of Your Assets

Proper asset management allows a company to plan responsibly and make more informed decisions about proactively managing aging assets on a continual basis to ensure the long-term sustainability of the entire system. In simplistic terms, if your companies assets are not properly managed and maintained, you could be faced with excessive costs when they falter or fail altogether.

If I were to ask how your company’s assets are being managed, what would you say? Do you know where they are? Are you aware of their condition? Do you have a good maintenance plan in place? Is it reactive or proactive? Is maintenance saving money or is it seen as insignificant or lowest priority on the budget? Do you have a software solution in place to effectively track it all? How well is that software providing what’s needed?

These are all questions that every manager or CEO should have a good answer for. Your assets are the “pumping heart” for any manufacturing company. Not keeping them properly maintained can lead to a significant financial disaster. There is a little-known standard called the 80/20 rule. It basically means that to have optimal efficiency with your assets, 80 percent of maintenance activities should be proactive (planned), while 20 percent reactive (unplanned).

How to Transform Your Maintenance Operations

How EAM Is Transforming Manufacturing

Far too many companies are only performing maintenance when something breaks because of the old “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” mentality. This destructive mindset leads to spending more money to fix breakdowns instead of spending less over time to prevent it. Furthermore, stopping production unexpectedly and not being prepared for it will significantly increase downtime and result in a tremendous loss in revenue.

New research has proven that by giving more attention to your maintenance operations and investing in preventive maintenance, companies can significantly increase revenue. Top level executives need to realize that focusing on the long term and making an investment now is far more beneficial financially than trying to save a few dollars as you go.

Today’s technology is quickly advancing. Successful companies know that in order to meet industry standards and prevail with a competitive advantage, they have to stay ahead of the game. By implementing an intelligent software solution with the capabilities to provide cognitive analysis and insight into daily operations, companies are now able to make smarter decisions within their  maintenance department. As a result, overall costs are reduced, better ROI is achieved, and more revenue is generated.

Increasing sales is no longer the single most important method to generate profit.

Enterprise Asset Management Software (EAM) provides the solutions necessary for companies all around the globe to better track and manage their assets while establishing an effective predictive maintenance program to maintain them.

What is Enterprise Asset Management?

What is EAM Software

Otherwise known as “EAM”, Enterprise Asset Management Software allows organizations to manage the life-cycle of their physical assets while combining all aspects of maintenance and production into one system.

 

Other common names for EAM include:

  • CMMS Software
  • Maintenance Management Software
  • Work Order Management Software
  • PM Software
  • Facilities Maintenance Software

Why Your Company Needs It?

Why you need EAMFor companies involved in the manufacturing of products, EAM software is the smartest, easiest way to manage the complexities involved in operations and production. Tracking your assets, managing inventory & purchasing, creating preventive maintenance plans, and optimizing your work order processes can be a daunting task. Not to mention all the other aspects that fall into each of those categories.

 

Manufacturers can now optimize all of this by using Infor’s Enterprise Asset Management Software combined with DigitalThinker’s world class consulting services.

 

Core Features of Asset Management Software


Asset Tracking/Management

Asset Tracking

Successful companies know the value in being able to track where their assets are, their status, what’s going on with it, and who has responsibility for it. Furthermore, having the ability to create and store records for each one allows for better decision making and strategic planning.

Implementing EAM Software makes it possible for companies to monitor, maintain and improve the performance and life-cycle of each asset. With a system that manages records and stores critical information on each asset, companies can save millions of dollars each year in maintenance costs, labor, and asset replacement.

Work Order Management and Preventive Maintenance

Preventive Maintenance EAM

Work order management is one of the most important processes for any Asset Management system. Having a good system in place helps to eliminate higher maintenance/labor costs that are often associated with not knowing what work needs to be done, when work is complete, or how much it’s costing to do it.

With Infor EAM Software, you can assign work orders to individuals or teams, issue specific parts for the work that needs to be done, and do it in a manner that is fast and efficient. In addition, you can receive notifications when work is complete, schedule maintenance based on asset condition, and model scenarios to determine optimal preventive maintenance.

Inventory Control

Inventory Control

With pressures companies face to deliver results while saving money in the process, better managing your inventory and purchasing can have a drastic effect on a company’s ROI. Keeping too much inventory is just as bad as not having an adequate supply of frequently used or critical spare parts.

Using EAM Software to manage inventory prevents prolonged downtime because of not having the right parts in stock. Adjust inventory levels accordingly by monitoring what parts are being used the more than others. Set specific parameters for certain parts and receive notifications when it’s time to order. You can also store vendor information so you can place an order quickly and easily with just a few clicks.

 Other Features of EAM

Other EAM Features

In conjunction with the core features, Infor EAM Software comes with a variety of other features for other specific needs.

Other important features include:

  • Customized dashboard with real-time information.
  • Mobile Application for access to EAM from the field.
  • Customizable Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to help with benchmarking, trends, and other factors.
  • Reliability and Risk Management to help predict problems and prevent them from happening.
  • Regulatory compliance management.
  • Purchasing control and monitoring.

These are only a few more examples. Infor EAM Software has TONS of customizable features for virtually any need you may have.

In Short

Infor EAM Software is a revolutionary technology that helps companies increase the life-cycle of their assets. It does this by optimizing their preventive maintenance program, work order process, and workflow. EAM allows you to become proactive instead of reactive which significantly reduces breakdowns and keeps production running at optimal efficiency. Furthermore, Infor EAM can help your technicians better perform their jobs with less confusion as well as decrease wrench time.

EAM Software provides organizations with the tools and information necessary for better decision making and strategic planning. As a result, you gain greater efficiency, lower maintenance and labor costs, higher ROI, and increased quality and quantity of your product. Best of all, EAM grows with you, so as future needs arise, Infor EAM Software is ready to take on whatever new challenges you may face.

Join thousands of other companies implementing this new technology so your company can maintain a competitive advantage in the manufacturing industry! DigitalThinker can help you get started!

Error Message While Booking Labor

A lot of the INFOR EAM users I have the pleasure of working with are using INFOR EAM to track labor. INFOR EAM has a very easy to use way for users to “book” their labor/time spent working on a work order. To book labor, you need to have an activity on the work order, your employees need to be setup in INFOR EAM, and you need trades.  Then users can go to the book labor tab on a work order and book their time. This is something that maintenance departments use to track time spent on work orders and cost of labor spent on pieces of equipment. It can be important data to report on.

Have You Seen This Error?

When booking labor in INFOR EAM, you must enter or choose an employee record, select which activity you are booking labor to, and enter the hours worked. You then hit the save button. If the trade chosen on the activity does not have a rate, you will see an error message that looks like this:

Booking Labor Error Message

How To Get Rid Of It

I am asked a lot how we get rid of this error. Well it’s simple, we need to put a labor rate on the trades you have in INFOR EAM. This will make this message stop appearing when booking labor. The rate is the hourly rate for the trade that is being booked. Now we know that hourly rates for employees are sensitive. A lot of users know what they are paying on their labor; they just want to track the hours worked in INFOR EAM, not necessarily maintain the rates that are paid to employees. This is not a problem. We can put 1 dollar as the rate for trades. Now you can track hours without this error message popping up.

To setup the trade rate, you go to the trade screen: Menu: Work – Setup – Trades. Choose a trade, then navigate to the Rate tab. You can now choose a department, enter a rate in and the start/end dates. The rate type is N for normal and O for overtime. Now the confusing error message won’t appear when your users are booking labor! I hope this helps if you are receiving this message in your environment, and as always please do not hesitate to ask us about how we can help you with Infor INFOR EAM!

Reporting on Work Order Closing Codes

You’re are using EAM for work orders, they get entered, worked, and then closed. So, then what? How can you take closed work orders and report on them? After all, this is extremely helpful and can really impact your ROA on EAM.

Action Codes

You can create a Close Work Order report that includes your Closing Codes. EAM has Action Codes, Cause Codes, Problem Codes, and Failure Codes. These codes are very important when improving best practices for any Maintenance program. Creating reports with these codes can be especially helpful with trending, allowing you to trend your work orders and equipment failures. So let’s get to the reporting part of these Action codes.

When you are reporting on closed work orders there are a couple very important fields that sometimes can be tricky to report on. Those pesky closing codes! I’m going to show you how to get those codes to display in a report showing the Description of the code. Something useful that anyone can understand!

Here we go!

The Closing Codes in EAM have a “code” and a “Description”. When reporting,  you want to display the description, something that the average user can understand. To get the description of the Closing Codes we will use a built in function Cognos gives us: REPGETDESC(. This function will return the description of the item. To successfully use this function you need to know the Entity in EAM for the closing codes, but finding these can be a bit tricky. Good thing you found DigitalThinker because I’m going to give those to you right here!

The following entities are what is used for Closing Codes in EAM for work orders:

ACCO = Action Code

CAUS = Cause Code

FAIL = Failure Code

RECO = Problem Code

In this example, we will look at the Action Code for a Work Order.

Create a data item in Cognos for our report:

  1. Login to Cognos with an Author License
  2. Add a Data Item to your query
  3. In the Functions tab find the REPGETDESC( Function, (
  4. Drag the function to the Expression box
  5. Next use EN for English, the code for your closing code above and the field you pulling the description from
  6. Your Expression should look like this, REPGETDESC (‘EN’, ‘ACCO’, [EVT_ACTION], null, null)
  7. Next take the data item and add it to your report on the report page.
  8. This will display the Description of the Action Code of your Work Order

Voila! It is that easy to get all your Closing Code Descriptions to display on Work Order Reports. Remember, You just need swap out the code in your expression with ACCO, CAUS, FAIL, RECO. Of course, you also will have to change the field from the work order in your expression.

Let Us Help!

If you are new to reporting or find yourself running into issues trying to do this, please do not hesitate to contact us and we can certainly help you get this straightened out. We would love to help you get more from your EAM!

Booking Labor: How you book labor can change how you report time

We recently were asked if a report will show the hours team members book labor for during the previous shift. This seems very straight forward. They book hours, with a date, and you just need to report on past 24 hours, right? Well yes and no. Do they work from 12am to 12am? Then it may not always be that easy.

Here’s How It’s Done:

You can use Cognos to create offsets from the systems time to report on the information about yesterday’s shift. Or, you could improve your book labor accuracy by having your team book the hours with the time they worked on the work order. For example, instead of booking 4 hours, you could book 1:00pm to 5:00pm. If you are familiar with the mobile app this is super easy to do. Booking labor by time fields are right there to choose your start time and end time and voila! You have now successfully booked your time with the actual hours you worked.

In EAM (the application) there is some admin work that needs to happen…

Scenario:

We want to start booking labor using Start time and End Time.

NOTE: Screen designer is required

Solution:

  1. In the application go to Work | Work Orders | Book Labor tab
  2. Open Screen Designer for the user groups that need to book labor with Start time/End time
  3. Find the fields Start Time/End Time and make them available (or required)

Booking Labor Infor EAM

 

 

4. On the Book Labor tab the hours field will still be required, but now you can enter the Start Time and End Time of the labor you are booking.

Booking Labor EAM 2

 

That’s It!

For more help with booking labor in the application or the mobile app or anything else EAM don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to help you improve your labor accuracy or reporting and KPIs!

4 Things Every Infor EAM User Should Know About Infor EAM:

Whether your a new to Infor EAM or upgrading from an older version, there are several important things to know about the software and with the process of an implementation. We help a lot of customers with all aspects of Infor EAM on a regular basis. As a result, we are commonly asked a lot of the same types of questions from those who don’t know the ins and outs of the software.   Listed below are some answers to frequently asked questions and are 4 things every EAM user should know.

  1. What is Business Process Review? Is it important?

The Business Process Review (BPR) is one of the most vital parts of the process. It doesn’t matter if you are new to EAM or upgrading from an older version – a business process review is in order. This review will help us show you the areas that are weak and allows us to assist you in strengthening those areas. Think of it as a planning stage to lay out all of your business processes. Furthermore, it can also be used as a “spring cleaning” so you can reorganize or look at processes that are in place but may need a little “sprucing up”.

  1. Why are Process Flow Diagrams important?

A lot of customers find that Process flow diagrams are very helpful and can be used as a quick reference for users as they are getting used to EAM. The diagrams have everything our user guides do, but in a quicker, easier to reference format.

  1. What are Inboxes and KPIs? Are they helpful?

Inboxes and KPIs return metrics on any aspect of work management, materials, and purchasing. For example; you can see the number of work orders assigned to a specific person and how many requisitions or Purchase Orders need your approval. Even more, you can see how many PM Work Orders are overdue or the inventory value of your warehouse.

                              a.Instead of hyperlinking to a screen, can you hyperlink to a report?

KPIs and Inboxes have a built-in hyperlink. When you double click the item, it will hyperlink you to the screen with the applicable records. You can also set it to hyperlink to a report as well.

  1. If you need each department to “sign off” on Equipment before it is active in EAM, how can you do that?

A lot of companies that are new to EAM or have a project going on would like for their managers or department heads to sign off on a new piece of equipment before it is officially installed and commissioned. You can do this without having to use any additional add-on modules by simply creating a different equipment status. Using the statuses, once one department has signed off, you can set it so they can only change the status to the next department that needs to approve.

Final Thoughts:

These 4 things are essential in helping you understand some of the most highly used things in EAM. At DigitalThinker, we are always striving to build concrete knowledge for anyone looking to upgrade or purchase Infor EAM and we are always available to help you if needed. Please don’t hesitate to comment on this blog or get in contact with us for any further questions you may have.

PM Schedules/Work Orders with Routed Equipment – Organizational Options

Are your PM Schedules or work orders created with equipment on a route? If so, then you may be wondering if all the equipment will be listed on the work order or just the main piece of equipment selected. Furthermore, maybe you aren’t sure if EAM will create work orders for all the equipment or does it just create a work order for the one main equipment record. Those questions can quickly be answered with 2 Organizational Options.

By remembering these 2 organizational options listed below, you’ll be able to select the way you want to capture the information. You can find them by going to Administration à Security à Organizations. You will likely have to click the “More” tab and click on options.

Organizational Options:

MEROUTWO Determines which equipment to copy to route-based PM work orders. Select ‘C’ for route equipment only, ‘H’ for header equipment only, or ‘B’ to have both header and route equipment copied.
ROUTEEOB If Y, the system will create Multiple Equipment Child type work orders for each route equipment when route based PM work orders are released.   They will be related to the parent job.

 

You can always play around with the options, set them one way then test it out, then change it and test again. That is what your training environment is for. If you change the options, you must close the released PM work order. Log out and back in then generate PM work orders again for the changes to take effect.

I hope some of these tips help! If you have any further questions or need any help, feel free to let me know. I am always happy to help.

Cascading Report Prompts on Custom Reports

When writing custom reports for customers, most of them will give us a list of prompts that they want to use when creating it. In this blog, I would like to quickly explain the usefulness of cascading prompts on your custom reports and why they can be beneficial. Below are a couple of common situations where cascading prompts will be helpful.

Issue:

Customer needs a report for labor hours for specific organization and wants to be able to select one or more employees to run the report on.

Solution:

Build the custom report with a prompt for organizations that also cascades (filters) for only the employees for that organization.

Issue:

Customer needs a report for Parts for a specific organization and supplier by store/bin location.

Solution:

Build a custom report that prompts for organization and cascading (filtering) prompts for parts in that organization and store/bin location for the parts.

 

These are just two common reports that we can write for customers. But report writing is limitless. We can discuss your needs and draft out a report that is customized for your specific needs. We can also continue customizing it until it is exactly what you want. Remember, writing reports and even revising versions of a report that you may already have in EAM can be tedious. During our discussions with you, we will be upfront with you on what it will take on our part to meet your expectations so we can either continue or scale it back a little and revise it at a later time.

We have lots of experience in working with custom reports. As a result, we have many ways of customizing them and making them work for you. As always, reach out to us for any questions, concerns, or for any further help on this topic. Thank you for reading!

 Are you having trouble running reports after you upgraded to Infor EAM v11.3?

A customer of ours recently had an issue running reports after recently upgrading to v11.3. The issues were with custom reports but also with some of the ‘canned’ (Infor) reports as well. I wanted to share the details of this specific issue and the simple solution to the problem.

Issue: When printing from the PO Receipt screen or running the report from the report menu, several PO Receipts were coming back as “No Records Found”.

Troubleshooting: Investigated the reports in Cognos to see if there was anything that would causing the errors. They used a modified version on the Goods Received Note, so we looked at the original version of Goods Received. We found there were issues running that report as well. At this point, since we were unable to identify any issues that would be causing these reports to error, we submitted an incident to InforXtreme.

Solution:

  1. Go to Administration | Setup | Reports
  2. Filter for Base Reports
  3. Find report SZRCVF
  4. Click on the Parameters Tab
  5. Find the Print report parameter
  6. Change the default value from blank to +
  7. Save the change

You will not see this parameter on the prompt page for the report when you run it from the menu in EAM. The only place to change this parameter is the parameter tab of the Report Setup. This is not something that customers have been made aware of. Therefore, we wanted to share the solution to keep you from getting frustrated by looking for an issue in the actual reports. If you do any report writing, you know how daunting and time consuming it can be to look for that needle in the haystack.

If you apply this solution and still are having issues, please reach out to us or your EAM support team.

Change a Supplier on a PO

I have been asked this question a lot recently. We all know that sometimes the Requisition may request a part or parts from a Vendor, then the Buyer realizes there is a better Vendor for that part… “How can I change a supplier on a PO?” Well to the answer the question, you can’t… Good news is there is a way to fix your problem!

The idea is to delete the part lines from the PO and cancel the PO. Then you go to the Requisition and change status to “Unfinished” and then change the Supplier. You can approve the Requisition and generate another PO.  Here is the quick down and dirty way to get this PO to your vendor.

Scenario: Requisition is “Approved”, PO was generated. Buyer figures out the Supplier is incorrect.

Steps to correct the issue:

Buyer: Navigate to Purchasing | Purchase Orders

  1. Go to the PO that is incorrect, make sure the status is “Unfinished”
  2. On the Parts Tab, Delete the Part Lines from the PO
  3. Go to the record view of the PO and change the status to “cancelled”(Do not cancel the Requisition/Lines when the windows asks if you want to)

Requisitioner: Navigate to Materials | Requisitions

  1. Go to the Requisition with the incorrect Supplier
  2. Change status to “Unfinished”
  3. Go to the Part line with the incorrect supplier and choose the correct Supplier
  4. On record view change the status back to “Approved”

Buyer: Navigate to Purchasing | Process | Generate POs

  1. Enter the Orginator
  2. Enter the supplier in the Supplier field (this is not required, just narrows the results to help)
  3. Click on the Preview tab
  4. Select the Requisition lines you corrected the Supplier on
  5. Click the Generate button

Now you have corrected the Supplier and created a new PO. As always, if you need any help or more information on this topic, please reach out to us. We would be thrilled to help you out!

Custom vs User Defined Fields – Which is better?

Is it better to use custom fields or user defined fields? And really what is the difference? Can I create a lookup for a user defined field? Will they both show up on mobile? These are questions I often hear when users need a field to enter/collect data on Equipment, Parts, Work Orders, etc.. Unfortunately, the field is not offered in EAM. Really, the availability of both types of fields is great in EAM and there are some significant differences – which is why you need to know the difference before you choose which one to use.

Here is what you should know:

  • What you need to know about User Defined Fields:

    • You can have user defined character, number, or date fields. There are also user defined checkboxes and buttons.
    • You can define a default value or create a list of values for a lookup.
    • You can make the user defined fields available on mobile devices.
    • You can select if the field prints on work orders.
    • You can create them specific to one or multiple user groups of your choosing.
    • You can search based on the values in a user defined field.
    • User defined fields will only show on the screen it is created for. For example, if you create a UDF on the asset record view, you will not see that same UDF on a system, position, or location field.
  • What you need to know about Custom Fields:

    • You must create them for a specific entity (Equipment, Events (work orders, work requests), etc.)
    • You can create them for a specific class within that entity. For example, you can create a custom field that will only show up when someone looks up or creates an asset record for an asset with the class of motor or pump.
    • You can specify if the field is character, numeric, date, date/time, code+description, or entity.  Furthermore, you can require a specific minimum/maximum length and have it included on the grids (or list view).
    • You can define the lookup type and list of values of the lookup.
    • You can select if you print the custom field.
    • You can choose if users can update the field.

We are here if you need us!

I hope this quick list helps you understand and decide which field is best to use. However, if you still have questions please feel free to reach out and email me. I would be more than happy to answer your questions.

iPad vs Android – Infor EAM Mobile

I am frequently asked, “iPad vs Android. Which is better for Infor EAM Mobile?” For me, this is a very easy, quick answer. But before I answer, let me preface this blog by saying that primarily I am an Android user. I have a Samsung Note 4 that I absolutely love. Before I switched to an Android, I was a diehard iPhone/iPad user for probably 8-9 years. I do still have an iPad and still love it.

I have used Infor EAM on both platforms and I can say, without hesitation, I would run EAM Mobile on an iPad over Android all day long. There are really not a lot of reasons why I choose iPad over Android, but I will lay them out for you here so you can decide. Keep in mind these are merely my opinions.

User Interface

For the most part, the user interface is the same. One of the biggest differences is the ability to FaceTime on the iPad. At first, most people just shake this off because they obviously don’t want employees using FaceTime on company time. But here is the thought behind it…How much time could it save if your employees have the ability FaceTime with a maintenance manager or lead technician to troubleshoot a problem instead of having to radio for them and wait for them to come to their location? Then add to that the time to go get the additional tools or parts, if needed? And what if your employee is off site on a job at a different location?

Functionality

The functionality for iPad is more consistent. I see far less ‘glitchy-ness’ from iPad. For me, it’s the difference in running EAM from Chrome and running it from IE or Firefox…night and day difference.

Users tend to have a much easier time with iPads than Androids. I have trained on both devices with large groups and have found that iPad training was smoother. In my opinion, it is simply because users are used to this type of interface more so than an Android.

What do you think?

That is what I have found so far in my experience with Infor EAM mobile. Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions or please comment below to let us know if you agree or disagree with my opinion.

Can you duplicate primary key records across organizations?

One of the questions I am frequently asked when I upload data into a new Infor EAM environment is; “Can we use the same part, asset, cost codes if they are in different organizations?”

The Basics

Let me start out with some basic, but important information. When configuring a fresh EAM Environment, we go through several settings (install parameters and organization options). Then one of the big decisions need to be made about whether we want data to be held in together, in a common org, or separately by activating Multi-Organization settings. Most companies with several facilities will choose to activate multi-org on many items.

But then the question is asked – “I have this asset here but also at a different location, can I use the same asset code?” The initial answer might be, “No, you can’t. This is because EAM does not allow you to duplicate codes at all in the application”. But I would be completely wrong! Even with Multi-Org activated, EAM does allow you to duplicate a handful of key code fields.

These are some key record fields you can duplicate across organizations:

  • Assets
  • Classes
  • Locations
  • Parts
  • Suppliers
  • Systems

These are some key record fields you cannot duplicate across organizations:

  • Cost Codes
  • Departments
  • Manufacturers
  • PM Schedules
  • Stores
  • Task Plans
  • Trades

Now take a second and ask, “Why is this allowed? What benefit(s) does it offer?”

Benefit

This allows multiple organizations that may have the same equipment, parts, suppliers, etc. to keep their unique information for that equipment, part, or supplier in EAM. When it comes to the list of fields you cannot duplicate, this is because these are items that should be either unique for each organization or shared between all organizations. In some cases, Parts is kept common between organizations so that all organizations are using the same part numbers but can enter their own unique supplier information.

This is a topic that we discuss thoroughly with customers that will have multiple facilities sharing EAM so we can ensure that EAM is customized and meeting the demands of your specific business. If you have any further questions regarding this topic, please leave a comment or reach out to us by clicking here. We are always happy to help!

Should you send your EAM users to DigitalThinker for training?

I am often asked if it is really that much more beneficial to send a team to our office for team training vs having us come on site. For me the answer is very simple – YES!!! Send your team to our office in Simpsonville, South Carolina to train.

Why It’s Beneficial

Most successful people know that it is so much more beneficial to train in a quieter, less chaotic environment, rather than trying to learn in a hectic and typically noisy environment. Most importantly, it ensures no one can be interrupted by someone running in or calling over the radio for a maintenance issue. Traveling to our facility to train simply allows for everyone to focus better on learning EAM.

Team Training Experience

I bring this topic up because I just did a training class for a group of 7 maintenance managers and supervisors. They came ready to learn and with questions on how to make EAM better. Not only for all of their sites, but for the company as a whole as well. Because most of them work in different states, it gave them a chance to meet up with each other to discuss problems within their organization and share ideas. Most importantly, we were able to train users from multiple sites together at one time which saved them money. This also gave everyone a chance to share solutions or brainstorm ideas on how to fix their problems together.

These guys only spent 2 days at our office but we covered a lot of ground. I’m sure the customers who traveled to our office would say that it will benefit you much more to come to DigitalThinker.

In Conclusion

Don’t get me wrong, having us come to your site can also be important. We love to travel on site when necessary and we will continue to do so anytime you need us. However, when it comes to core team training, I feel that getting your employees into our training room allows them to be more relaxed. As a result, they can focus better and learn more so they can be the Champion of EAM for your company.

For more about training, please visit our training page by clicking here, or call us at 864-520-1115.

The Power of the Dataspy

Dataspy search

I first heard the term “dataspy” while in a Datastream 7i class, I thought WTF is that? Little did I know at the time it is the single most powerful feature for navigating in Infor EAM that I’d learn.

Dataspy PageWhat is it?

Infor EAM is made up of screens each with a record view of one specific record. It also has a list view of thousands of records, also called grids. All of the list view screens possess a dataspy. Dataspys are a quick filter, multi-search fields and sort all in one. When diving into a fresh implementation of Infor EAM it’s not noticeable how important dataspys are at first. But as thousands of records begin to accumulate, you will discover the power behind the dataspy.

 

How does it work?

Each dataspy has filters that the user can use to weed out what isn’t relevant to a particular search. It also has an option for sorting the data. And coolest of all, dataspys have a layout for the user to decide which fields are displayed and where in the list or grid. System administrators can write complex filters with SQL. They can give permissions to specific users with SQL skills to do the same. These dataspys can be saved by the user for his or her specific use. Furthermore, the administrator can make dataspys for public use.

Dataspy SetupWhat’s the benefit?

A user can select a dataspy to narrow his or her search for data. They can then use the quick filter in conjunction with multi-search fields to find exactly what they are looking for. It is my experience that the Infor EAM overachievers quickly learn the power of dataspys. As a result, they quickly build an arsenal of saved dataspys to get to the records they want quick, fast and in a hurry.

In Conclusion.

As you can see, dataspys can be an extremely useful tool that helps you find exactly what you are looking for. They can save you a lot of time when searching for something specific and are frequently used by a lot of EAM users. If you have any further questions about dataspys or how to set them up, please don’t hesitate to ask. We would love to hear from you!

How to fix checklist items when they don’t show up correctly on Work Orders?

Problem:  

Checklist with Routes: Checklist items are not grouped by equipment

When it comes to sorting checklist items, one question I seem to get asked on a regular basis is; “When I use checklists in EAM with routes, why do the checklists not list properly on the Work Order? Shouldn’t it be grouped by equipment as the route would be done?”

I agree 100%! Let’s get in there and make that checklist look like it should.

Scenario:

Checklist is entered for 3 checklist items, sequence 10, 20, 30. The checklist items type is set to “Route and Equipment”. The following items should be setup when creating the PM schedule:

  1. A Route with several pieces of equipment
  2. A PM schedule is setup with a checklist on the activity
  3. The route is associated with the PM Equipment

Issue: 

The users find the list is grouped by the checklist item and not grouped by the equipment on the route. Using Routes to reduce the work order count is a great idea, but not when it makes the checklist much more difficult to use for the end user! I can see how this makes using the awesome checklist functionality a bit frustrating for most users.

As you can see the checklist is not grouped together by equipment. It would make sense as the user is working through the route, equipment by equipment, that the checklist items would be sorted that way.

Solution: 

The solution is quite simple for this one! Remember, that weird little thing you heard your trainer call a Dataspy? Well there is a sort function that can clean this up for you. Here are the steps to a better looking checklist:

  1. Go to a Work Order that has a checklist
  2. Go to the Checklist tab
  3. Click the Edit button next to the Dataspy about your checklist
  4. Choose the Sort tab (on the left)
  5. Once on the sort tab in the 1st sort choose Equipment
  6. In the 2nd sort choose Sequence
  7. Now choose save

When your Dataspy runs it should re-sort the list to group the checklist items by equipment. This is a common issue we see with checklist and routes. We know that anything we can do to make EAM easier for the end user is a success. This is a simple Dataspy edit that will certainly make a huge impact to the users executing the checklist. I hope this article was helpful. If you have any questions about checklist or EAM, please do not hesitate to ask! We are here to help!

Frequently asked questions about PM Schedules using Infor EAM Software

With Infor EAM Software’s Preventive Maintenance Scheduling functions, you want to be sure you can get the most out of it as possible while minimizing any potential problems a long the way. As we work with our customers in getting them up to speed on using their new or upgraded EAM software, I have noticed three most commonly asked questions and I would like to address them in this post.

“When I go to generate my Preventive Maintenance Work Orders, why am I not seeing a specific one?”

The first thing I will get a customer to do is go make sure there is a due date on the PM schedule. If there is, then I will get them to check the type of PM Schedule (Fixed, Variable, or Duplicate). When they go back to generate their PM work orders, I get them to make sure they have the box checked to “Generate WOs for Duplicate PMs”. Between these 2 things – the customer is usually able to successfully view the PM work order they were missing. There are other issues that could cause the work order not to show up, but this will require a bit more investigation.

“Why are there 10 different PM work orders for this PM? How can I have one PM work order with the multiple pieces of equipment listed on the work order?”

The answer to this is simple – Routes. Setting up routes will allow you to group PM equipment together so you will only have one PM work order, but the equipment that needs work needs to be performed on will be listed on the work order.

“If a piece of equipment is marked out of service and associated with a PM Schedule, will the PM still generate a work order?”

The answer is YES, it will still generate a PM work order that is awaiting release. You must clear the due date off the PM schedule to stop the automatic generation of PM work Orders. A lot of times, customers want to see this for themselves, not that they don’t believe me, so we will run through it together so they can see it for themselves. I am the same way – I always go back and test something or double check the functionality to make sure it is accurate. It is a good practice to get into. It will help you get more familiar with EAM and learn more about how things function.

While these are some of the most common questions, if you think of any other questions you might have, please don’t hesitate to ask! We are always here to help in any way we can.

The Impact of Maintenance and Company Success:

5 Things you should know about the importance of maintenance

In the ever-evolving world of manufacturing, companies all over the world are trying to find new and creative ways to save money. For many organizations, finding a solution that helps them increase revenue or even simply maintain company success can be challenging to say the least.

However, with so many advancements in technology, solutions are now available to help you meet your financial goals and business objectives. Some solutions even help you do this by simply modifying your existing processes so you can start getting a better return on your existing investments.

Before we get to the Nitty Gritty, I first want to address a couple of common patterns that effect overall company success.

Change. It’s necessary

Many older companies today seem to be “stuck in their ways” and are reluctant to change how they do things. This is because some of them fail to see how their financial goals can be more easily achieved while others simply just think “it will just cost too much”. Therefore, they continue doing the same things every year in hopes something will magically change. Consequently for most, things only become worse.

Some company executives may just see that things are going well and profits are being made which can lead them to believe change is not necessary. As a result, most of them fail to see that utilizing new technology and better strategies can not only increase their revenue even more, but can save massive amounts of cost while decreasing the risk of future failures.

Benefit of change

Companies that were willing to step outside of their comfort zone have seen a substantial increase in revenue. Most importantly, they have also experienced greater efficiency, increased productivity, higher product quality, and a better working environment for employees.

Among many important factors, one major thing that has been found to help more than most is simply investing in existing processes and implementing proper maintenance practices in their day to day operations.

One of the most highly overlooked or disregarded processes for most companies is Maintenance.

Extensive research over the course of the last 15 years has proven that maintenance, or the lack thereof, has a tremendous impact on a company’s profitability. The effectiveness of proper maintenance is essential in attaining proficiency in production systems to meet long-term objectives. For most manufacturing companies, a production system in which maintenance is not given the proper attention and/or preventive maintenance is neglected, may easily lead to increased production downtime. Furthermore, it can lead to defective products, machinery damage, and decreased life span on critical assets, just to name a few.

Lack of proper maintenance or preventive maintenance can result in a quality and profitability nightmare!

As revenue decreases and maintenance costs increase, maintenance level technicians are then held accountable. They are then placed under a tremendous amount of pressure to quickly “fix the problem” while eliminating the cost to do so. With a poorly structured maintenance program, neither may not be possible.

Pressure begins to mound as goals are not met due to the lack of maintenance structure and the resources necessary for an effective maintenance program. Tension and stress begins to rise among key technicians and managers which then leads to poor work performance or loss of a valuable and knowledgeable employee. What comes next is nothing more than disastrous.

What can be done?

For starters, implementing a well-oiled and finely tuned maintenance program will have a tremendous positive impact. Research has shown that focusing on asset management, preventive maintenance, work order processing, and effective communication between all employees involved is essential in preventing most problems from happening in the first place.

Based on that research, I have come up with 5 things you should know about the importance of maintenance and how they contribute to success.

  1. Effective maintenance can improve profits and decrease cost:

Yes, maintenance CAN generate profit and IS an important activity that should never be ignored. With today’s technology, maintenance programs are now being recognized as being one of the highest contributing factors in attaining a company’s goals and objectives. Not only financially, but with production efficiency and product quality as well.

Maintaining the availability and efficient operation of production equipment is essential to sustaining production capacity and the quality of your product. Capacity and quality creates profit. Effective Maintenance allows for both.

  1. Efficient maintenance adds value through better utilization of resources:

When maintenance is focused more on being proactive vs reactive, asset performance is optimized and significant value is increased on the product that is being produced. The results of proper maintenance and preventive maintenance is; higher output, enhanced quality, and reduction in rework and scrap.

It also significantly increases the life span on costly equipment which ensures the longest possible utilization of key assets while maintaining regulatory compliance and warranty guidelines. In simplicity terms, “get more bang for your buck”.

  1. Maintenance and production MUST have an integrated relationship:

This is a big one! Maintenance should be considered as an organizational function that functions in parallel with production. Read that again.

For some, the long-held view has been that production produces product, product produces profit, and maintenance produces loss and interferes with production. Therefore, maintenance is a limiting constraint. Without an efficient maintenance program in place, that view is most likely accurate.

But what if your production process could be optimized to run more efficiently? What if your assets could produce the product at a higher capacity, with better quality, and for a longer period? When the mindset changes, you will come to the realization that better maintenance is the best way to do that.

Implementing an effective and proactive maintenance program will have a drastic positive effect on output quantity and quality. When integrated WITH production operations, your assets will be running at optimal performance with less downtime for maintenance. This will also allow for better scheduling of maintenance tasks, decreased wrench time, and ultimately increases the life-span of the asset.

  1. Maintenance significantly effects multiple aspects of production costs:

When considering the assets specifically, the costs associated with purchase, transportation, installations, depreciation, and disposal are huge. Wouldn’t it make sense to increase the life-span of the assets to get the most out of them as possible?

Production assets and the process of implementing them into your production environment is extremely expensive. We are talking about hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars to replace just one piece of equipment. Not to mention the costs of maintaining and operating backup equipment so you can continue production during replacement.

When considering the costs during an assets production cycle, wouldn’t it also make sense to ensure they run at optimal efficiency? When calculating the costs of utilities, machine stoppages, parts, maintenance, energy consumption, and material usage during the life span, it adds up quickly. Research shows that effective maintenance strategies are a key factor in reducing these costs.

Simply put, when maintenance is not utilized effectively and is more of a reactive process, you end up replacing your equipment more often. Furthermore, your downtime is increased and your operating costs increase because your equipment is working less efficiently. Most importantly, the cost of maintenance is higher when having to fix a problem more often rather than having the ability to predict the problem and prevent it before it happens.

  1. Implementing effective maintenance into production is an investment. Not a limiting constraint.

We can all agree that maintenance costs are high regardless. With the costs of labor, spare parts, overhead, as well as the cost of production downtime for maintenance can be overwhelming. In a company where maintenance has always been viewed as a separate function from production, those costs will most likely persist and/or increase.

With that said, maintenance is also inevitable for every manufacturing company and cannot be avoided. Wouldn’t changing your focus and allowing maintenance to work FOR you instead of against you be the smartest option? Change your focus because it’s possible!

Ensuring that your products are produced fast, delivered at the right time with the right quality, and produced with the lowest possible cost requires optimum availability. This can be attained by an efficient maintenance policy integrated within production.

Here is the bottom line!

Extensive research has proven that within the manufacturing industry, an effective maintenance program is one of the most significant factors in overall company success. What should also be recognized is that maintenance is not just about ensuring proper function of your assets. It is an essential support function that is indispensable.

Whether your mindset is on maintenance being a limiting constraint, too costly, or you think it’s the one thing that drags your company down, there is still one thing for certain; If you don’t have maintenance you can’t continue production. Without production, your company fails.

Either way, maintenance is necessary. So why not have a proactive mindset and let your maintenance program start working for you rather than against you? After all, having a proactive mindset is the first step to success in any capacity.

How do you get there?

To establish a solution that works, you must first change your mindset and make a choice to let maintenance start working for you. Second, you need to find a software solution that streamlines all your processes while helping you keep track of everything. Third, you need a company with the right tools and the expertise in knowing how to use them.

We have what you need!

At DigitalThinker, we understand the importance of maintenance and company success. We help guide companies in the right direction every day. It’s what we do best. To us, it’s more than just providing a service. It’s about helping companies who are stuck in the cycle of endless increasing costs and production constraints that keep them from growing. Our company is built on helping to keep the manufacturing industry alive and thriving better than ever before.

As an Infor Associate Channel Partner, we have the tools and resources you need to start your transformation. As EAM consultants, we have the experience and expertise needed to develop and implement your solutions while guiding you in the right direction along the way.

Click Here to talk to one of our expert consultants for a free evaluation and demonstration or visit our website at http://digitalthinker.com/