Our Maximo delivery team were recently posed with an interesting requirement – the first page of the Work Order Print BIRT Report needs to be printed on coloured paper and the remaining pages in white. Furthermore, Safety Critical and Non-Safety Critical Work Orders need to have different coloured first pages (for example, Safety Critical PMs are orange and other Non-Safety Critical work is in green).
The Work Order Print Report is a key report for any client and is often heavily utilised, so it is important to consider the following:
- Specific requirements for the report are usually there for good reason and need to be followed to the letter. In this case, users were aware that any Work Orders on orange paper must be dealt with immediately, the orange paper acting as a clear indicator of safety critical work.
- The length of the report can vary and there is no easy way to predict how long each report will be. This is further compounded due to how BIRT renders and then pages reports.
- When printing multiple reports at once (which is common with Work Order Print), Maximo will batch the request up into one print request. This means the printer only receives one document to print, containing all five reports.
- The Maximo solution we are currently implementing for the client is un-customised. As per standard BPD Zenith recommendations, we would aim to not develop/write any customisations unless absolutely necessary.
Working with the client, our delivery team came up with five options, each varying in complexity for both the solution and the end user. In order to review all viable options, we looked at solutions that required java customisation in addition to configuration (either to Maximo or just the specific report).
The five options identified were as follows:
- Out-of-the-Box printing
The first option was to use standard Maximo reporting functionality, developing the report to include the required colour either in part or all of the background. While this would provide the required outcome with minimal configuration, the use of coloured ink would prove costly over a long period and ultimately be inefficient. Furthermore, the requirement was to use coloured paper, not to colour white paper.
- Print Safety Critical and Non-Safety Critical Work Orders in batches to coloured paper
The second option is to develop two reports, one for safety critical work and the other for non-safety critical work. When printing the reports, the user would need to select the correct report (depending on the Work Orders they were printing) and the correct printer tray to print the report in the correct colour. While again offering a non-customised solution, this solution would be very user intensive and prone to human error. It would also mean that the full report would use coloured paper, not just the front page, which is not fully achieving the requirement.
- Customise printing in Maximo and use a third-party application to help with printing
Maximo is customised to print to certain locations for the different print jobs (orange or green paper) and another application then picks up the printed files (PDFs) and sends them to different print queues for the different colours of paper.
While meeting business requirements, this option requires a lot of customisation to Maximo plus the addition of another application and special configuration on the printer / network so that certain print queues print to certain trays. This option would likely have a high IS overheard and be difficult to manage in the future should Maximo be upgraded. BPD were keen to avoid this option.
- Separate Maximo batch printing
Some printers can be configured to print the first page from a certain tray and the remaining pages from another tray. For this option to work, Maximo would need to print each Work Order report individually rather than batch them together as it does by standard.
While providing a simple solution to the end user, it could not be performed without Java customisation. This solution also relies on the work only taking up a single page (the first page). There was no guarantee this would be the case therefore this solution was discounted.
- Utilise a third-party print solution
The final option was to utilise a third-party solution between Maximo and the printer to achieve the required outcome. In this instance, Print and Share from Ricoh provided the ideal solution. Print and Share can check a document which is about to be printed for a symbol or tag. It then routes the page to the specified tray, depending on the tag found. The Work Order Print report was then developed to include specific symbols to enable the Print and Share software to direct the page to the correct tray. The outcome being the report being printed in batch using the correct coloured paper without any java customisations or additional configuration to the Maximo solution.
By using a third-party solution, BPD Zenith were able to achieve the exact requirements of the client, with a solution that is straightforward for users and without the need for any Maximo Java customisation.
If you have any queries or would like to know more about the printing solution, please get in touch with us and we’ll happily discuss any questions further.