As businesses adapt to a new normal, operational efficiency is more important than ever before. Remote and mobile working is essential for success as the world tries to recover and move forward. At BPD Zenith, we have seen a complete change in attitude regarding mobility over the last few years; going from data privacy and union concerns around using mobile devices, to large investments in the latest devices encouraging a fully digital workforce in the field.
~Utility engineer – mobile worker from a digital workforce~
All in the detail – Making data entry easier improves data quality
Generally, any client that considers a mobile solution is trying to make it easier for the engineer to access and use Maximo – raising jobs and accessing Maximo remotely wherever they happen to be…
When an engineer gets to a job, he must first find and fix the problem. It could be something quick and simple, or something complicated and time consuming. Whatever the issue, he then has to remember exactly what he did to update Work Order job details in Maximo.
Engineers and technicians might not be at a desktop computer again for another couple of hours, usually later in the day, so when they finally get to the computer, the detail they really need (which could have been added easily at the time) has been forgotten about.
Whenever we have a client expressing a need for a mobile solution – and this was the case for a recent UK pharmaceutical client – it is usually because the Work Orders in their system don’t have enough detail to be useful. This minimises the use and capabilities of the system in general.
This lack of detail means that the system user does not fully understand the problem with the job. They often don’t know why the job was carried out in the first place. Sometimes they can’t even see how much time has been spent on a job, and if they do, they may see someone spent 7 hours on a job and they can see they had to repair a specific gasket for example, but they don’t really have much detail other than that.
Entering the details later, after the job has been carried out, just becomes another task to complete. This is often regarded as ‘admin’ by engineers and therefore does not receive the required focus/attention it should, to maximise the potential performance benefits their EAM system could offer. Job detail entered this way tends to be the minimum required in order to close off the task.
The mobile applications in Maximo Anywhere enable the engineer to provide that level of detail right there and then on the spot. Simple and user-friendly functionality such as the ability to take a picture and upload it directly from the device, makes entering job detail much less laborious.
In Anywhere itself, the screens have been ‘cut down’ and optimised for mobile. For example, if used on iPhone, the screen is smaller, so you would not want Anywhere taking up the screen with random or irrelevant fields. This mobile responsiveness and optimisation across devices also makes Anywhere quicker.
System User-Friendly – Making Maximo Anywhere simple, easy and more effective
Comparing this to using workflow on a desktop (and this is not to say that using workflow is slow), from a mobile perspective it is just the tap of a finger on the screen! Anywhere apps can be configured so that a user only has to taps in the same places on the screen to operate. In a well-designed app the screens can be manipulated to look consistent and avoids the user having to do too much scrolling – they can click on a button that takes them from one screen and allows them to progress it all the way through the job completion process, from awaiting approval all the way to through to completing that work order.
You can see that on the work order screen itself only has the necessary fields displayed, the user can get through the whole screen in less than one finger swipe – it’s very simple and not cluttered with fields they will never use.
If the app is designed in such a way, Anywhere can meet the exact requirements of the business, allowing job information and other processes to be carried out simply by the engineer, ensuring a much greater level of detail and accuracy. This exactly what we achieved with a recent Pharmaceutical client.
Here are some of the operations that can be done quickly and easily from the top screen:
- Add Work Logs
- Change Status
Using the arrow, you are taken to Change Status screen.
- Add Labour
~At APPR status, the timer button on the right-hand side appears.~
~When clicked, the timer will start (colour changes green). This will start a labour time in the background for the logged in user.~
When the timer is pressed again it will change the status of the WO to In Progress (INPRG) automatically. You can then amend the time in the following window if required. The work log section has also been added to this screen because before a user can complete a work order, they need to have added a work log entry.
- Add a Timer (which changes Work Order status to In Progress)
~At the bottom of the screen, users can pause the transaction (which will create a labour transaction for the time specified, then return the user to the WO), or Complete Work, which will complete the WO and save the labour transaction.~
It’s not just about adding functionality, it has to be simple and user friendly. For example, by removing all of the ‘noise’ from the screen, the app becomes a lot more focused on what they actually need to do. By removing this unnecessary noise, the user can log into their device and do what they need to do. The app can even point the user in the right direction with guide-text. For example, if a field is missing something in it, it shows the user – making it nice and fluid from point A to point B.
BPD Experience – Enabling a digital workforce with Maximo
BPD Zenith are continuously enhancing IBM Maximo and Anywhere to optimise user interaction and capabilities to improve data input and overall EAM performance. We have validated the Maximo Anywhere roadmap with the IBM product team and are satisfied that Anywhere will meet the mobile requirements of our customers now, and in the future. The feature set enables you to provide critical business information to your users which allows them to perform their jobs more effectively and efficiently.
BPD are leaders in implementing Maximo Anywhere and have delivered multiple successful projects in the last 12 months. Whilst there are third party mobile solutions available for Maximo, IBM has put significant effort into improving Maximo Anywhere 7.6.4. We are now in a position where Maximo Anywhere is used by thousands of maintenance engineers following configuration by BPD. The single-vendor product approach capitalises upon Maximo’s market leading asset management and is much simpler to install and license. Our recent Anywhere implementation experience includes successful deployments in manufacturing, pharmaceutical, facilities management plus one of the largest Anywhere implementations globally in the entertainment industry.
The future for a mobile workforce – IBM Maximo Assist
We also provide our clients with next generation asset management solutions. For example, IBM Maximo Assist helps field technicians perform their job more effectively and safely. It can offer remote guidance out in the field by using AI Assistance. This becomes a knowledge lifeline for less experienced engineers and helps preserve the deep knowledge of senior technicians. For example, a job could be assigned to a new technician who is alerted immediately on his device (Maximo Anywhere). He views the work order and is not entirely sure how to carry out a replacement. He can click on Maximo Assist for help and ask the question, ‘How do I replace Cooling Water Pump VFD 572006?’ Assist can provide the most probable resolutions based on the work order assigned along with confidence levels. It will also present similar work order history and relevant settings and manuals.
You can ask Assist questions or get recommendations and identify “repeat offender” assets and issues caused by design, as opposed to component failure. By leveraging AI, the potential this could offer the workforce is exciting…
To find out more on Assist, check out Helen Fisher’s blog: https://www.bpdzenith.com/maximo-assist-an-ai-assistant-for-your-workforce/