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Work order assistant

Risk factor: Abnormal duration

How common is this problem?

Abnormal duration was reported in 40% of work orders flagged by the work order insights report.

Why did this happen?

The most common reasons a work order took longer than normal to complete include:

  • An error in assigning the work order: The work order was assigned to the wrong user or user group. The technician(s) assigned to the work order did not have the skillset to complete the work order on time.
  • A low estimated time: The expected work hours noted on the work order did not match the number of hours required to complete the task.
  • An unclear task list or high task count: Instructions on the work order were incomplete or lacked detail. The description of the problem and the list of required materials were not clear. The number of tasks associated with the work order could not be realistically completed in the allotted time.
  • Two or more work orders were combined: A number of work orders on the same asset were merged to address multiple issues while the asset was offline.
  • A low technician count: Not enough technicians were assigned to this work order.
  • A delay in closing the work order: The technician did not close the work order directly after finishing the job.
  • Missing parts or supplies: The required parts and supplies were not available, which stalled the work order after it had been started.
  • A corrective maintenance task was identified: A critical issue was discovered while the work was being completed and this issue was fixed, adding more time to the job.

How worried should I be?

The severity of this issue comes down to the equipment it’s associated with and the frequency of the issue. This problem will affect production if it’s happening on a critical piece of equipment. It will have a domino effect that pushes back other maintenance activities and the plant’s entire production schedule.

If you’re finding this problem consistently associated with a particular asset, person, shift, or site, it can also be very dangerous. This means something systemic is wrong with those elements, whether it’s the wrong training or the wrong processes.

How can I fix it?

These are some common strategies you can use to reduce the risk associated with this work order and others like it:

Review training and enablement processes: Make sure technicians are getting the right kind of training to manage the tasks assigned to them. Wherever possible, enable technicians by attaching manuals, diagrams, and other resources to a work order.

Learn how to create tasks and attach files to tasks in Fiix

Build standardized task lists: Consistency and clarity are key when creating task lists for common work orders. Join an experienced technician the next time they complete this work order and document what they do step-by-step.

Learn how to create task groups and task lists in Fiix

Link critical work orders to user groups: Automatically assign certain work orders to users or user groups that have experience with that work order to avoid matching someone with a job they’re less familiar with.

Learn how to create user groups in Fiix

Assess the estimated time of tasks: Provide estimated work time and actual work time fields for each individual task in the work order. This will help you discover which task(s) is causing the work order to stall.

Learn how to create task lists in Fiix

Create a more detailed template for work requests: Spell out exactly what requesters need to include in their work requests so vague descriptions can be eliminated.

Learn how to configure work requests in Fiix

Make BOM kits for critical work orders: Bundle all parts and supplies needed for common and critical work orders together so they can be accessed easily and quickly. This will also help you quickly determine if supplies need to be reordered.

Learn how to do this in Fiix

Encourage users to close work orders in the Fiix mobile app: Cut the lag time between completing work and logging it as closed in the CMMS by using the mobile app.

Learn how to use the mobile app in Fiix

Develop robust follow-up procedures and triggers: Train technicians to create separate work orders for additional corrective repairs. Develop processes that make this easy to do and trigger alerts so follow-up tasks can be completed as soon as possible.

Learn how to configure notification settings in Fiix

How have Fiix customers solved this issue?


One Fiix customer had a goal of optimizing asset performance, but hit a plateau in its efforts. The maintenance team couldn’t take the next step with the resources they had.


The company focused on optimizing the same maintenance processes over and over again. These processes were being changed to the point of diminishing returns. They didn't have the time or resources to find the next maintenance activity to optimize.


The work order insights report identified work orders that were taking too long to complete. The organization was able to quickly address the processes for these work orders and find efficiencies so they could gain more time and resources to optimize maintenance in other parts of the facility.

Pro tip

It’s important that the individuals filling in the estimated time on a work order have a background in maintenance. If they don’t, have that person, whether it’s a manager, planner, or someone else, shadow a technicians on one common work order per week to understand what’s involved and how long tasks take.