Digital Thinker Training

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.

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.

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.