Tag ArchivePPM


Commission Request Improvements

The commission request screen has turned out to be an extremely popular feature and, thanks to user feedback, it has developed tremendously since we first added it for Portsmouth back in 2014. It is particularly useful as a standard way of commissioning particular models.

For example, suppose that you have a rolling replacement program to replace “Pump A” with “Pump B” over a 12 month period. You can set up a commission request linked to the correct PPM schedule, contract etc., and then simply add the new pumps as Additional Items as they arrive each month. This saves a lot of work and helps to reduce errors but there were a few obstacles to using them this way.

Firstly, the commission request only allowed a single location and service. Although not a major problem this did add another step to the process: bulk updating the new assets with the correct locations. Of course, you could always change the location or  service in the commission request and then add devices in batches. Still better than an entirely manual process but not as good as it could have been. The same problem also arose with installation, purchase and first PPM dates.

To address this we have added the following columns to the Additional Items tab:

Purchase Date

Installation Date




The same fields have been added to the Add Batch screen, to make life even easier.


This has addressed all of the issues above except one; that of the first PPM date for each device.

An option has been added to each row in the Additional Items grid labelled “Recalc. PPM Date“. If this option is ticked then when the PPM job is created its planned date will be calculated by adding the schedule frequency to the installation date.

The same option has been added to the Add Batch utility, except there we a bit more space for a more meaningful label. It’s right underneath the Installation Date field and says, “Use this date to calculate the first PPM job planned date”.

We hope you find this new feature useful. As always, any feedback is always welcome.



Model-Based Scheduling

Model-based PPM scheduling has been added to commission requests. The model screen now has a technical tab with a field named Preferred PPM Schedule. When using commission requests, once you select a model, if that model has a preferred PPM schedule then you will be asked if the device should be added to that schedule. If the schedule has a preferred week, then you will also be asked if the first PPM job should be scheduled for that date.

As always , any feedback is welcome


Summary of Warnings & Alerts in e-Quip

There are many situations where e-Quip will display a warning or an alert. It is very difficult to document all of them because there are so many and most are self-explanatory. If you see a message that says “The work end date is before the call date” then you don’t really need us to explain what that means – it means that the work end date is before the call date!

However, when you open an equipment or job record it is useful to know what types of information can be displayed and what it means.

The Equipment Property Page

Whenever the equipment property page is opened the user can be alerted about important or useful information in three ways: Header Alerts, Alert Dialog Boxes & Events Alerts.

Asset Header Alerts

Asset Header

The most obvious alerts are the 5 coloured boxes on the page header. These are (from left-to-right):

1. The device is subject to an on-going medical device alert. Whenever this alert is displayed the Alerts tab will also be displayed.

2. User-Defined. In this example the alert is showing that the device is overdue for PPM. This alert is configured by editing the SQL-Server stored procedure qAssetAlert1_Local. Note that editing stored procedures is a technical configuration action and must be undertaken by appropriately qualified technical staff. Any stored procedure whose name ends in ‘_Local‘ will not be affected by subsequent upgrades.

3. The device holds patient data. This is controlled by a check-box on the Data tab.

4. User-Defined. In this example the alert is showing that the device is covered by a particular contract. This alert is configured by editing the SQL-Server stored procedure qAssetAlert2_Local.

5. There is an open non-PPM job for this device

Although not part of the header alerts there is some other useful information displayed. The window caption bar shows that the device is subject to an on-going medical device alert and also displays the date that the record was last modified. If the record is read-only this will also be shown in the caption bar.

Notice also that there is a coloured check-box on the Contracts tab. This indicates that the device is currently covered by a contract.

Asset Dialog Alerts

Before the equipment property page is displayed a number of warning messages may be displayed. These are:

Asset Warning


Maintenance Events

A Maintenance Event is an action which is carried out at predefined intervals but which may not be associated with a particular PPM schedule. For example, a battery may be changed at 6-monthly intervals and this may coincide with a repair job, a 3-monthly, 6-monthly or annual PPM. If an event is due then this will be displayed when the record is opened.


The Job Property Page

The alerts on the job screen are similar to those on the equipment screen, although rather than using multiple individual alert dialog boxes, all of the messages are combined into a single message.

Job Header Alerts

Job Header

The job property page has 3 header alerts. These are (from left-to-right):

1. The job is billable. This warning is controlled by the SQL-Server function JobIsBillable_Local. This is where you can define your site-specific logic which determines whether or not a job is billable.

2. User-Defined. In this example the alert is showing that the device has passed its predicted life. This alert is configured by editing the SQL-Server stored procedure qJobAlert1_Local.

3. User-Defined. In this example the alert is showing that the device is Beyond Economic Repair. This alert is configured by editing the SQL-Server stored procedure qJobAlert2_Local.

JobDialog Alerts

There are many more alerts for jobs than there are for equipment. To prevent a large number of individual warnings these are all combined into a single message.

Job Dialog

The possible warnings are:

1. The device is under warranty

2. The device is on contract

3. There is an outstanding non-PPM job for this device

4. A PPM is due for this device

5. A PPM is overdue for this device

6. The device is subject to an on-going medical device alert

7. The device is covered by a customer contract

8. The device has passed its predicted life

9. The device holds patient data

Maintenance Events

The job screen displays maintenance events due in exactly the same way as the equipment screen. However, if an event is due it will be added to the job events tab.



Editing Templates

All e-Quip users probably know that job templates lie at the heart of the automated PPM scheduling mechanism. Broadly speaking, if a PPM schedule is a definition of a set of work instructions which need to be carried out at a specified interval, then a job template is the most common way in which the work instructions are defined. Job templates do have other uses but this is probably the way in which they are most commonly used. The basic idea of preemptive scheduling (see this article for more details) is that whenever a PPM job is completed e-Quip automatically creates a new job, based on a job template, for the next service. This type of scheduling has been a feature of e-Quip since its very first version and works very well, but …

What happens when the work instructions change? It is simple enough to edit a template using the Template Manager, but that only affects how future jobs will be created – what about all of the non-started PPM jobs that were created from the original template. Editing a template will not change these. If the changes do not affect sub-lists (i.e. parts, tests, tasks & checklists) then you must remember to bulk update all non-started jobs created from the template so that they match the new template. This is achievable but is quite awkward:

  1. Find all PPM schedules which reference the job template being edited
  2. Find all non-started PPM jobs for those schedules
  3. Bulk update the jobs to match the template

Sub-lists, however, cannot be handled this way. Suppose that job template defines a checklist with a step “1. Measure the gap between the battery support post and the casing. This should be between 1 mm and 1.5 mm“.  What would happen if the template was edited so that the value being measured changes to “…should be between 1.5 mm and 2.0 mm“? Job bulk update does support sub-lists but it is additive. If you specify a spare part in a job bulk update, that part is added to every job. The same applies to test equipment, tasks & checklists. There isn’t really any other way that bulk update can work. This isn’t going to help us here – we would end up with all jobs containing two checklist items:

1. Measure the gap between the battery support post and the casing. This should be between 1 mm and 1.5 mm

1. Measure the gap between the battery support post and the casing. This should be between 1.5 mm and 2.0 mm

2. …

2. …

3. …

3. …

Clearly not what we want!

As from version 3.3.0, whenever a job is created from a template a link to the source template is saved in the job. If that template is ever editing e-Quip will then look to see if any non-started, active jobs exist that were created from the template. If so, the following message is displayed:


If you click on Yes, then every job (10 in this example) will be updated so that all sub-lists exactly match the template.

Why are only sub-lists updated on the non-started jobs? Every one of those jobs will have an Equipment No and assuming that they are PPM jobs they will also have a job type, priority, planned date, work instructions etc. Some of these (job type, priority, work instructions etc) should obviously match the new template but quite  a few will be different for each job. This would include equipment no, planned date, budget, contract, customer and many, many more. These clearly should remain unchanged – or should they? It’s difficult to think of a situation where an equipment no would appear in a template (although I bet someone somewhere does have just such a template), but a job template referencing a contract is not so unlikely. Similarly, only rarely would templates include a Planned Date but there are situations when this might happen. This makes it virtually impossible for e-Quip to know how to deal with fields other than those which appear in sub-lists. There is no way for the software to determine if a field should be copied from the template (job type, priority etc), copied from the existing job (planned date, equipment no), or copied from the equipment record (contract, budget, customer etc- all of which may have changed since the job was originally created).

One approach would be for us to simply define some rules, such as: fields A, B & C are always copied from the template, fields P, Q & R are always copied from the existing job and fields X, Y & Z are always copied from the equipment record. Rules like this are never a good idea. They might work in some situations but not others and they seldom please everyone. For this reason we have chosen to restrict this feature to sub-lists only, which are, after all the reason that the feature has been added.

If you change the body (i.e. anything other than the sub-lists) of a template, then just use good old-fashioned bulk update to update the non-started jobs.



Missed PPM’s on Anchored Schedules

As from version 3.2 we have added a new feature to improve the handling of planned maintenance when:

a. Anchored schedules are used

b. A PPM is missed (not found or not made available)

c. The device is then found shortly afterwards

The Problem

Suppose that a device is on an anchored 12-monthly PPM schedule and the job planned for 1/1/2015 is closed as NOT FOUND FOR PPM in February 2015. The PPM scheduling mechanism will schedule the next job for 1/1/2016.

Now suppose that the device is found in shortly afterwards, in March 2015 and the open PPM job is closed with a Work End Date of 1/3/2015. This will reschedule the next PPM job, but because the schedule is anchored the planned date will be 1/1/2017 (i.e. 12 months from the planned date of 1/1/2016). This is clearly not desirable as the device will not be scheduled to be serviced in 2016 at all.

Prior to version 3.2 the best solution to this was to edit the Planned Date of the job being closed to 1/1/2015 but this was still not ideal. This approach would schedule the next job for 1/1/2016 which is actually 3 months earlier than necessary. While this alleviates the risk of the device not being when it is actually required it is wasteful of resources.

The Solution

The solution is to make use of the new system option Reschedule as Floating after Missed PPM. This option is enabled using the system options.

1. A PPM job is planned for 1/1/2015. In February the job is closed down as NOT FOUND FOR PPM

2. e-Quip schedules the next job for 1/1/2016

3. In March 2015 the device is found and the job closed down on 15/3/2015

4. The next PPM job is scheduled for 15/3/2016

Notice that the PPM schedule itself is still anchored. This means that from this point onwards the device maintenance is anchored to 15th March

As always, any feedback is welcome


Enhanced Reporting – The PPM Calendar

The pre-emptive PPM scheduling used by e-Quip has many advantages, but one of its limitations is that it is difficult to produce a calendar of planned work for devices on schedules of less than 12 months. If a device is on a 3-monthly schedule and the last PPM job is completed on 1st January, then the pre-emptive scheduling creates the next PPM job (with a planned date of 1st April) automatically, but not the other 3 jobs that will be required through the year. The job for July will be created when the April job is completed and the October job will be created when the July job is completed, and so on. This is awkward if we need to see all of the jobs planned for the year. This is clearly a useful thing to be able to do in order to balance PPM workloads.

In the past it has been possible using calculated columns and functions to create a calendar but it was very slow and relied on you to add charts and conditionally-format the data. The PPM Calendar is designed to solve this problem. It is very fast, it uses a configurable Excel spreadsheet as a template which contains charts and is pre-formatted. It is part of the existing Quick Report feature. As with all of the Quick Report items it is configurable to use your own preferred chart styles and formatting.


A new option has been added.


Two additional charts have been added to the report summary:



These charts are supported by a new data worksheet:


Using Excel filtering on this worksheet can be used to explore the data, perhaps on a location basis.

Some other useful features have been added to the report. The built-in e-Quip functions to calculate if maintenance is due in a particular month assumed that pre-emptive scheduling was used for all devices. There are several situations when this is not applicable:

Contract PPM

For devices maintained under contract we always recommend that pre-emptive scheduling is not used (see the article An Overview of Planned Maintenance Strategies). If PPM jobs are schedule from the contract using the Create Contract Visit Jobs utility, then the devices will not necessarily be on a PPM schedule

Last PPM Job Date + Model Service Interval

For simple devices maintained under contract, such as hoists etc, it is common to simply create jobs from the contractor’s service report and rely on the model service interval field to update the equipment Next PPM Date. In such cases, last PPM date is derived from the asset service history but the next PPM date is read directly from the equipment record. Not only are these devices unlikely to be on a PPM schedule but they will not have future, non-started PPM jobs.

Suppose we have a model which has a default service interval of 2 months. If a PPM job is completed on 1st January the equipment next PPM date is set to 1st March, but no future job is created. If a 2nd PPM job is completed on 10th March the equipment next PPM date is set to 10th  May. The new PPM calendar can handle this situation.

Although in the example above the calendar runs from January to December, the starting date for the calendar is defined in a system option, so you can use financial years if you prefer.




Priority-Based PPM Scheduling

e-Quip version 2.15.0 includes a new priority-based PPM scheduling feature. As soon as I get a few minutes spare I will post a “What’s New in 2.15.0” article, but I thought I’d give you a preview of this feature.

Suppose that a device is on 4 schedules:

a. 2-Yearly
b. Annual
c. 6-Monthly
d. 3-Monthly

At some point in time the jobs for this device are scheduled as follows:


What happens when the Annual job is closed? Without priority-based scheduling e-Quip would add the frequency (12 months in this case) to the planned date (1/1/2000) and schedule the next job for 1/1/2001. This means that 2 jobs are now scheduled for the same date, 1/1/2001, the next annual and the next 2-yearly.

In situations where a higher frequency PPM includes all work done on lower frequency PPM’s (e.g. the 6-monthly job does all of the work done on a 3-monthly plus some additional work), e-Quip users have, in the past, overcome this problem by defining schedules with longer frequencies. For example, if the 2-yearly includes all work done by the annual, then the frequency of the annual schedule is actually 2 years rather than 12 months. This is, however, not the optimal solution and doesn’t work correctly for every possible combination of frequencies.

With priority-based schedules, closing the annual job on 1/1/2000 will calculate the Next PPM Date as 1/1/2001, but will detect that a job already exists on (or around) that date, and that job is for a PPM schedule having a higher priority. In this case, the frequency (12 months) is added to the Next PPM Date, giving 1/1/2002. That date is then checked again in the same way. Since no existing jobs will be found the next annual job will be scheduled for 1/1/2001.

When the 3-monthly job is completed in April 2000, the Next PPM date would normally be 1/7/2000, but a job for a higher priority schedule (in this case the 6-monthly) already exists around this date. Therefore 3 months is added to 1/7/2000 (giving 1/10/2000) and existing jobs are re-checked against that date. Because no higher priority jobs exist then the next job is scheduled for that date.

When the 6-monthly job is completed in July 2000, the Next PPM date would normally be 1/1/2001, but a job for a higher priority schedule (in this case the 2-yearly) already exists around this date. Therefore 6 months is added to 1/1/2001 (giving 1/7/2001) and existing jobs are re-checked against that date. Because no higher priority jobs exist then the next job is scheduled for that date.

The screen-shot below shows (in green) the result after 1 year.



How does the system detect whether or not an existing job clashes with a job being rescheduled? There is a new system option which defines a system-level date window (in days). Consider the example of when the 6-monthly job is closed in July 2000. The initial rescheduling date is calculated as 1/1/2001 (1/7/2000 + 6 months). If the system window is defined as 30 days then e-Quip searches for all non-started PPM jobs for this device which have a planned date between 1/7/2001 + 30 days and 1/7/2001 – 30 days, i.e. between 2/12/2000 and 31/1/2001. If any jobs are found which are for a higher priority PPM schedule, then that job is checked against another window.

The job being closed is for the 6-monthly (priority 50) schedule, and the existing job is for the 2-yearly (priority 100). The smaller of these 2 frequencies is 6 months which gives a new window of between 1/1/2001 + 3 months and 1/1/2001 – 3 months, i.e. between 3/10/2000 and 1/4/2001. The Next PPM Date is then checked against this window. If it lies within the window then the frequency is added (i.e. 1/1/2001 + 6 months) giving 1/7/2001. This date is then re-checked in the same way. Eventually the date is scheduled as 1/7/2001.

A new field, Scheduling Priority, has been added to the  scheduling information tab of the PPM schedule property page to support this feature.



We hope you find this useful. Thanks very much to Hamid from Portsmouth who was largely responsible for the design.



Coming Soon – Version 2.14.0

Version 2.14.0 is just about to be released, with improved support for location-based PPM Scheduling, automated job & delivery emails, tighter links between spare part consumption and replenishment, along with an editable & searchable device-user TNA plus new reporting features .

1. Automated EMails – New Feature
a. The ability to send preformatted emails has been added to the job property page.

Note the integration with the job details microsite in the email above. When the email button is clicked the email preferences screen is displayed.

Notice that there are two blocks of standard text. One is intended to be used when the job is first created and the other when the job is updated. The checkboxes allow you to automatically copy the email to the caller, the call contact, the technician and/or the job contact. These checkboxes are only enabled if the appropriate job fields have been completed. For example, the caller checkbox is only enabled if the Caller EMail field has been completed.

The format of the email can be manually edited and standard text can be defined in the system options utility.

b. The ability to send preformatted emails has been added to the delivery property page. The email mechanism is similar to that for jobs (see above). One slight difference is that emails are sent automatically when a delivery is saved: there is no need to click the EMail button. The button is there to allow emails to be resent.

Delivery emails have a variable length depending on the number of lines in the delivery and the number of jobs which are awaiting the parts which have been delivered.

2. Spare Parts, Jobs and Order Enhancements

The link between the consumption of spare parts (via jobs) and the re-ordering of spare parts has been improved.

a. The spare parts tab on the job property page has been enhanced to improve the interface with stock orders.

A Status column has been added, which may have any of the following status classes:

– Fitted
– To be Ordered
– To be Ordered Urgently
– Ordered
– Arrived

Another column has been added labelled Rec. Stock. This is a check-box to indicate that it is recommended that this part should be stocked.


b. These two columns have also been added to the spare part job link screen. On this screen the status column (described above) is labelled as “Use Status”. Filter support has also been added for these new columns (including Look For).

c. A new job status class of Parts Arrived has been added. When a delivery is received, if a job has been specified in the appropriate order line, then the job status is set to the first (ordered by status code) job status which has a status class of Parts Arrived.

d. On the line-item tab of the order property page, the behaviour of the Job No lookup has changed. This is used to associate an order line with a specific job. Previously this lookup used the CONTAINS search method. i.e. when searching for Job 123 the system searched for all jobs which contain 123 in their job number. This is a very slow search option and forces the system to examine every job. This has now been changed to STARTS WITH, which is a much faster search.

The previous behaviour can be restored by setting a system option.

e. On the line-item tab of the order property page, the behaviour of the Auto-Fetch Line Items Utility has been enhanced. Previously it analysed the current stock for all items available from the specified supplier and compared each with its minimum stock level. If a part is below its minimum then the target stock level is used to calculate the quantity which need to be ordered. This behaviour is unchanged, but a new feature has been added which automatically generates order lines for parts which have been specified on uncompleted jobs.

Note that only spare parts which are flagged (on the job screen) as having a status class of To be Ordered and To be Ordered Urgently are added to the order.

3. Commission Requests

a. On the requested for tab of the commission request property page, selecting a location now copies the branch and healthcare provider from that location to the provider and branch lookups.

b. It is now possible to commission multiple devices from the commission request property page. An additional tab, labelled Multiple Items has been added in which you may enter any number of Equipment and Serial numbers.

c. The technical tab of the commission request property page now uses the Preferred Week field of the PPM schedule to suggest the first PPM date. 

4. New Feature – Decommission Requests

a. A new data entity, Decommission Request, has been added. This provides a formalised way of decommissioning an asset and consistently removing it from contracts, PPM schedules etc.



a. A new reference data entity, Decommission Request Status, has been added.

5. Device User Competences

a. A Save (as distinct from Save & Close) button has been added to the competence group property page.

b. Excel-style column filtering has been added to the people and models tabs of the competence group property page.

c. QBE has been added to the competence matrix summary screen

d. Support for Bulk Update has been added to the competence matrix summary screen.

e. An additional column, Service, has been added to the competence matrix summary screen. In the near future the Branch field throughout e-Quip will be renamed to Service. As this particular screen is more likely to be used by clinical users (as opposed to engineering users) the term Service is used here in preference to Branch.
6. Equipment

a. The fields Site Path, Model Path & Branch Path have been added to the equipment summary screen.

b. The Asset Finder has been enhanced to allow site, location, model, category and branch children to be included in the results.


7. Jobs

a. The Team field has been added to the Quick Job screen.

b. A utility has been added to the work done tab of the job property page to allow hours to be entered in hours and minutes rather than decimal fractions of hours. When editing a job record a small stopwatch icon appears next to the following fields:
– Technician Hours
– Assistant Hours
– Supervisor Hours
– Overtime Hours

Clicking this icon will show the screen below:

c. The audit viewer has been added to the Technician field of the work done tab of the job property page. This allows technician changes for a job to be viewed without using the audit viewer utility. 

8. PPM Schedules

a. A new field, Preferred Week, has been added to the scheduling tab of the PPM Schedule property page. This field is used by commission requests to suggest the date for the first PPM for a device.


9. Location-Based PPM Scheduling – Device Relocation

a. Location-based PPM Scheduling is a very common practice, whereby particular locations are visited at specified times and all devices in that location are then serviced. This results in an administrative overhead when devices are moved. If, for example, 50 devices are moved from one ward (where they were previously serviced every February) to another, which will be serviced in April. Although it is a trivially simple task to bulk update the equipment records to change their location there remain other things to be done, such as:

– Remove the devices from the February Schedule
– Add the devices from the April Schedule
– Find all of the outstanding February jobs and change their schedule and planned date

A new Device Relocation utility has been added to simplify and automate this process as much as possible.

The screen below shows how 50 devices from Larch Ward (currently scheduled in week 40) can be moved to Larch Ward, and then rescheduled for week 40.
First, the 50 assets are selected on the equipment summary screen and the relocate utility is run. Initially the grid shows the scheduled PPM jobs for the selected devices. The Original Planned Date column shows that these devices have been scheduled for Week 40. When the user selects the new location (Holly Ward), if that location is associated with a PPM schedule then the schedule is selected automatically. If the location has a maintenance week value then this is displayed and the corresponding new PPM date is shown.

The user can now choose to a) reschedule the jobs for the specified date (naturally the date can be changed) and b) to change the schedule associated with each job.

The Delay column is used to show the time period between the last PPM for a device and its new scheduled next PPM date. The value is displayed in weeks. If this value is greater than 52 the row is displayed in red to alert the user that the next planned maintenance is more than 1 year since the last. This is a clear limitation of location-based scheduling: when devices are moved maintenance will either be done early (which is wasteful of resources) or late, which introduces an element of risk.

When the user clicks the Relocate button then each device will be:

– Removed from the Holly Ward PPM schedule
– Added to the Larch Ward PPM schedule
– Relocated to Larch Ward (with the move audited and added to the location history)
– The planned date for each PPM job will be changed
– The PPM schedule for each job will be changed

Note that you may also change the branch of the device when relocating it.

It is important to note that this relocation mechanism is designed to be used in organisations where location-based scheduling is regular use. The jobs shown in the grid above are only the jobs which are on a location-based schedule for the current location. In this example, the location “Holly Ward” is associated with a PPM Schedule called “Holly Ward” and each of the jobs is also associated with that schedule. Jobs that might be on other schedules will not be shown. Also, if there is no scheduled PPM job for the device then the device will still appear in the list but the Job, Schedule & Planned Date columns will be blank. For these devices, clicking Relocate will change the location (and possibly the branch) but will not affect the PPM scheduling of those devices.

10. New Reports

a. A new reporting option has been added to the dashboard screen. This report produces a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet which shows performance information over a specified period. By default this period is the previous calendar month, but this can be modified by the user. It is also possible to filter the report based on:
– Site
– Location
– Branch
– Team

The report is run from the dashboard screen by clicking the Quick Report button on the ribbon.


11. System Options

a. A new EMail tab has been added to the Options utility to support the new job and delivery email automation.

I will email the user-group once this version comes out of beta-test.

As usual, any comments are welcome.



The PPM Calendar

Quite a few users have requested a PPM Calendar which shows a list of equipment and a table of weeks (or months) showing when each device will be (or was) serviced, along with colour coding to indicate whether each service was done early or late.

e-Quip has always been able to do this it was just quite time-consuming to do. Now we have added some system functions and a saved screen layout which greatly simplifies the task. It’s quite difficult to show in a screen-shot, but an example is shown below. You can download this spreadsheet to get a better idea what it looks like.

The reason that this was difficult before is that when using standard e-Quip PPM Scheduling for maintenance intervals less than 1 year, only the 1st job is created in advance. For example, if a device should be serviced every 3 months (in January, April, July and October) then e-Quip only creates the January job in advance; April’s job is created when the January job is closed, July’s job is created when April’s job is closed, and so on. This means that unless you do some fiddly calculations, only the 1st maintenance date is available to you. Well, those fiddly calculations are now encapsulated in easy-to-use e-Quip functions which are simple to use in calculated columns. If you’re not familiar with e-Quip functions then have a look in the documentation under “Advanced Concepts”.

Essentially this calendar is simply a collection of 52 calculated columns with each value representing the maintenance performed or required by a device in a given week. The possible values are:

0 No maintenance is due
1 a PPM job was completed (but not planned) in this week. It was completed on time or early
2 a PPM job was completed (but not planned) in this week. It was completed late
3 a PPM job was completed (but not planned) in this week. No other information is available
4 a PPM job was closed with a status of “Missed PPM” in this week
10 a PPM job was planned in this week. It was completed early or on time
11 a PPM job was planned in this week. It was completed late
12 a PPM job is planned in this week. It is not yet due
13 a PPM job was planned in this week. It was missed
14 a PPM job was planned in this week. It is currently in progress
15 a PPM job was planned in this week. It is currently overdue
16 a PPM job was planned in this week. No other information is available

It is trivially simple to export this screen to Excel and then to use conditional formatting to highlight each cell in a particular colour depending on the value it contains. The simplest way to do this is to:
a. Select all rows (Ctrl + A)
b. Click the Conditional Formatting icon on the Ribbon

c. Click “New Rule”
d. Click “Format only cells that contain”
e. Edit the rule description to “Cell Value Equal To 15”

f. Click the “Format …” button
g. Set the colour to red (or whatever you choose)
h. Click Ok.

Then repeat this for as many different values as you want to format.

You don’t need a software update to get this working. I shall put a couple of SQL scripts on the web site to define the new functions and to create the saved screen layout. If you’re not sure what to do with SQL scripts then give them to your IT team. Then just load the screen layout using the Column Chooser

Please let us know what you think or if you have any suggestions for improvements.


Equipment Last and Next PPM Dates


I have produced a fairly in-depth technical article which explains in some detail how and when the equipment last & next PPM dates are calculated and displayed. Understanding these details will give you a thorough knowledge of how PPM scheduling functions in e-Quip, and what happens behind the scenes when you save a PPM job. Even if you’re not interested in the technical detail, there is a section of tips which might help you to choose the most appropriate strategy (or more likely, strategies) for your inventory.

The article involves quite a few symbols and screen shots which are quite difficult to view in a browser, so instead I have provided a link to the original Word document which is much more readable. You can find the Office 7 version here and the Office 97/2003 version here. Office 7 is much better at displaying equations than Office 97/2003, so read that version if you can.  

I don’t want to give the impression that the article is full of equations, but once you’ve typed “The latest value of the WorkEndDate field for all completed PPM jobs for a device” 5 times the temptation to reach for the Microsoft Equation Builder becomes overwhelming. Throughout the article I use the symbols below to save an enormous amount of repetition.

If you have any problems viewing either of the documents then contact me and I will email you a copy.