It's an established fact that comprehensive maintenance reports are just as important as effective maintenance work. In fact, a good maintenance report form can not only help decide future maintenance schedules for better asset protection but also enable higher management to improve the preventive maintenance framework.
However, with maintenance software overseeing manual maintenance tasks and virtual servicing/repair reports replacing paper-based maintenance records, there's the question of what really makes a good report form in 2021.
If you're looking for the perfect maintenance report form recipe, keep reading. In this article, I'll give an in-depth description of what makes an informative and effective maintenance report form.
Let's get into it.
Components of a Maintenance Report Form
Depending on the specific maintenance activity that companies perform, report forms can vary in nature and detail.
Some may essentially be annual reports, consisting of major and minor performance checkmarks as per a long-term maintenance schedule.
Others may be simple maintenance requests and inspection forms for company-wide periodic maintenance inspections.
Regardless of what it covers, here are some of the essential components of a maintenance report form template.
This section determines the nature of the maintenance being carried out on the asset. These could be predictive or early maintenance, emergency repairs, or parts replacement, among others.
This is an important part of the report template as it lets management know how well the maintenance is going. This also highlights how long it takes for the maintenance process to reach completion.
Date of Last Maintenance
This section is important since it shows the general asset quality and life, while also informing engineers about deteriorating asset health.
Additionally, it's an indicator of how well the maintenance engineers are doing their job.
Type of Asset/System
Since companies often operate various types of machinery, often in batches, a maintenance form has a list of asset types that engineers can mark on the form.
This is to unify the maintenance form among all assets yet still distinguish between equipment types for clarity.
Asset Build Date –
Another important equipment-specific detail is the manufacture date (year) of each piece of equipment, as well as the company's name.
This is to indicate how well equipment for a particular supplier/company is performing in the long run.
This section defines which type of maintenance was performed on the equipment being marked. The common types are preventive maintenance, predictive, routine, emergency-based, and replacement.
This section is meant to chronicle and expand on the actual maintenance process.
Engineers are often required to provide a step-by-step description of the processes, and (if required) mention any and all tests performed before primary maintenance.
Names of Mechanics and/or Engineers
This section is simply an indicator of process ownership with regard to maintenance personnel. It also serves to assess how well the project owner was able to execute the process.
It's important to note that these sections comprise a basic maintenance report form that takes into account all the assets and maintenance requirements a mid-sized would have.
However, different companies, varying by size and scope, could require additional information as per maintenance requirements, asset types, and workforce skill diversity
What Makes a Top Maintenance Report Form in 2021
As mentioned earlier, the components and details of an informative maintenance report form can vary according to needs.
However, there are some qualities that every progressive maintenance form needs to have, especially if a is to gain optimal information ut of every maintenance activity.
Here are some of the prime qualities of an effective maintenance report form in 2021 and beyond.
1) Clearly-Defined Asset Types
We often see forms that are somewhat ambiguous in terms of the asset type they are drafted for.
This is most common among smaller and mid-sized companies that don't have a large variety of machinery.
A form that clearly defines the asset type will give management an idea of the general maintenance requirement of that type of equipment. This, in turn, will help them plan financial input and develop cost management strategies much more effectively.
Additionally, it will help senior maintenance engineers and maintenance stakeholders better plan maintenance intervals, in case they're developing long-term maintenance plans.
2) Multiple Sections for Maintenance Details
A single section for the maintenance details is better for companies with less than 5 different types of equipment in the field, not counting facility and workspace maintenance.
However, companies of all sizes can benefit from a maintenance form with multiple sections for maintenance details.
Such a form should ideally have separate sections for general maintenance information (process names and key-phrases), precise repair details, resources applied during maintenance, and total repair time duration.
The extra details will highlight the maintenance activity and resource needs for each machine. This will help the management look for alternate machine suppliers or brands, to find equipment with lesser resource needs and better value for investment over time.
3) Maintenance Custodian Details
Almost all repair order forms and reports have a section for the name and designation of the maintenance custodian.
This is specifically to show the overall performance of the technicians and highlight the continued training needs of technical personnel.
However, a better option would be to ask for further details for each maintenance technician. Details such as the number of times they performed similar activities, average maintenance duration over a period of months, and qualifications would give a better picture of where the technician stands with regards to their overall capability.
It will also have the added benefit of describing the employee's progress over a period of time within the company. Management can then decide to assign more complicated tasks to that specific technician.
4) Separate Maintenance Report Form for Different Activities
This practice is often associated with bigger companies that run dozens or even hundreds of different equipment and asset types.
Typically, these companies create different work orders and maintenance report forms for each different activity (machine repair, facility sanitation, equipment replacement, etc.).
This may seem impractical for smaller companies, but it's actually the best way to develop effective cost management and resource allocation strategies for each specific area of resource input.
Furthermore, it functions as an asset differentiation tactic, similar to how the workforce is divided into separate departments to better manage tasks.
5) Cover Letter
Cover letters are typically used as support documents that explain the repair process and resource requirements in a single brief.
They help clients and stakeholders with limited technical knowledge understand the maintenance requirements or status of the asset(s) in question.
While these documents are commonly used by companies that offer maintenance services to external clients, they can be used for internal maintenance as well.
A well-written and detailed cover letter can give upper management a better look at the maintenance processes and help them come up with more efficient technical solutions for the same.
6) Detailed (Itemized) Cost Report
Cost briefs are a fundamental part of any maintenance report. However, most companies simply ask for the total resource cost of each maintenance activity, instead of an itemized list.
Including an itemized cost description along with the maintenance, the report will reveal which resource type is being used to what degree, by which asset. It will also help senior engineers single out a machine that's using up an extraordinary amount of one specific resource.
This serves not only as a cost-cutting measure but as a bona fide way to improve operational efficiency for all assets in play.
7) Multiple Report Formats
Not every maintenance mechanic or technician will have access to all report generation and drafting methods, especially in companies operating remote facilities or personnel performing off-site maintenance.
Remote employees can really benefit from report forms in multiple formats (Word doc, PDF format, Google Form, etc.) to accommodate any type of electronic device and technological prowess.
Additionally, it will enable the management to unify report data gathered from all operational sites into one centralized database.
This is beneficial for companies running a CMMS software or work order management system, as they won't have to alter the format for each incoming report. Most modern CMMS systems offer support for multiple document formats.
Whether you're creating a comprehensive maintenance report form, or a simple inspection request form, it's important to consider the individual needs of all the equipment in question.
This is to ensure that each asset type gets attention as per its specific maintenance, repair, and replacement needs. Additionally, it serves to prolong individual asset health in the long term.
In conclusion, it helps to think more from an efficiency improvement perspective, instead of blatant cost-cutting. Develop a form that helps improve the maintenance process efficiency, and your assets will thank you for it over time.
Josh is a partner at Maintenance Manager HQ.