Contact US

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

How Does Every One Else Do It

How Does Every One Else Do It

How Does Every One Else Do It


 How do you track every thing going on? I have nine divisions my group supports (15 different buildings), all extremely different. We receive 4-5 new system / change requests, 8 - 10 new urgent maintenance items, and have 5 team members with each having 2 - 4 items they are working on weekly.  Currently we utilize two spread sheets to track this and there is a lot of double or triple entry.

Does any one use a software package to do this? If so what? How do your users request changes (Web form, email, phone, fax)?       

Thank you ahead of time for your help.    

RE: How Does Every One Else Do It

What is the actual nature of your job, maintenance, construction or IT. It sound like you are in a service department.

Greg Akhibi
Clearwaters Consulting Ltd

RE: How Does Every One Else Do It

Sounds like more of a discipline problem than a software problem.  When there are double entries, it suggests to me that people are confused about who is supposed to be doing the entries.  Who is handing out assignments?  Which people are doing the entries?  Who are entering the second and third copies?  Are they authorized to?  Did they check the listing to see if the job was already entered?

Is the spreadsheet difficult to interpret?  Maybe you should be using something like an Access database.  Are the duplicate entries identical?  Some vetting of the entries are also possible in Excel, but is probably easier in Access, i.e., checking to see if there are any open tasks with similar parameters, e.g., location, responsible engineer, etc.


RE: How Does Every One Else Do It

Sorry, I should have given a little bit more information.  I work for a Automation Department, it is a hybrid department (IT, Controls, and Manufacturing Engineering). We create and modify production lines for produce a wide verity of products.  

Break Down of current Process

Change / New System Requests –
    The Manager or assistant manager of the division affected fills out a request form. Some time these are typed or hand written.  This form includes the following info, authorizing manager, contact person, division, location, description of change wanted, ROI info, what the change is to (equipment wise), and priority.  These forms are then in turn faxed, mailed, or emailed to us. Then a secretary enters this data into an Excel spread sheet.   

    Then I go in the spread sheet put estimated time, estimated cost of needed equipment, any concerns, prioritize based on other project. and if it is a rush job then the person assigned.

    Then once a week the Director of our company goes through and priorities the projects and adds any that he thinks need to be added.

    Then through out the week we update the status with time left, time worked, and when completed. If we complete an item, we have to fill out a form (which all the data is in the Excel work book) and email it to every one involved. Then when we deployed it we need to re email this form updated to say deployed.

Fixes / Bugs / Outages –

    We go into a program called Magic, this program was meant to track computer hardware programs.  Our IT department has locked down this program to the point that there is no easy way to track problems on a single piece equipment. It was also not meant to get the detail we are looking for.  


We have looked at a number of other solutions to combine all this in to a single process but have not see any we care for. We are hoping for a web based application. I also looked at DataStream MP2 and 7i. 7i is to costly, and MP2 would require us to create a web page in house to customize it as much as we wanted.  We have found some open source applications, but most would require some major modification.  

Any one have any ideas?

RE: How Does Every One Else Do It

So there are no problems with double/triple entries as stated before?

Where is this "detail" that you're looking for?  Are they part of the original trouble ticket?

You still seem to be describing a relational database system with custom reports.  Hypothetically, in such a database, you can call up historical tickets correlated to whatever field you desire and ask for whatever ancillary details you want.

Likewise a relational database report will show up duplicate workorders that can then be pruned.  


RE: How Does Every One Else Do It

The double entry comes it to play in two ways, every thing the secretary is entering exactly what is on the form into the excel spread sheet.  Also if a bug requires a code change, then it is on both the the spread sheet in in the web passed program called magic.

I realize a database would work, but I was hoping for a web based application that would work and if possible is open source so we can modify it.

RE: How Does Every One Else Do It

Brand5880, software will not solve your problem, what you need is a system with single point responsibility for entry of information into your database.

As long as anybody can go into the database and make alterations, you will be face with double entries.

1 Appoint a database manager with the authority to add or delete from records

2 Any suggestions, whether from the director or ceo must be sent to that officer.

3 If your magic program is not of any particular use, then scrap it. Otherwise make sure issues that are specifically addressed by the Magic program are not entered into the spreadsheet. This can be done by adding an identifier on the request form to indicate the nature of the problem. This way items that will be captured by the Magic software would be eliminated at data entry.

Greg Akhibi
Clearwaters Consulting Ltd

RE: How Does Every One Else Do It

Would seem like there should be a sufficiently similar app.  I would suggest posting on Tek-Tips, as that site is more oriented to computer applications programs of that sort.


RE: How Does Every One Else Do It

I would suggest you look into a Computer Maintenance Management System (CMMS).  There are several vendors offering this type of software.  We use a system called TMA which is tailored to Univeristy Maintenance but does many of the things you are looking for a software to do.

A work request is entered electronically and if the request is accepted it is generated into a work order and you can estimate the cost, proritize, schedule, assign to a person, link to a piece of equipment and track the history of all work done to that equipment.  These features just scratch the surface but you get the idea.  ?It also has user security so you can control access to each function.

Google CMMS and see what you get.

RE: How Does Every One Else Do It

Hi, I'm not sure if this software is the right thing for you, but you can assign projects, time them, assign tasks, set priorities and much more. Just google for Xpert-Timer. You can either use ACCESS, but I'd suggest to use an SQL database.

RE: How Does Every One Else Do It

We are users of the MP2 software you mentioned. It runs throughout our entire engineering/maintenance organization, whether someone wants a light bulb changed or a new production line built. We use it for purchasing, inventory, PM, equipment documentation, BOM's, engineering drawing control, and a few more things.

You are correct in realizing the need for customization. We built an intranet portal for the entire organization (400 users) to use, and have created linked Access apps with special functionality for more limited audiences, mainly in the Engineering group. The cost of MP2 seats And the complexity of the UI made this necessary.

I suspect a relational database with web access is where you'll end up. Question is how will you get there? Something like MP2 costs more up front but is transactionally more robust.

RE: How Does Every One Else Do It

Please, will appreciate any suggestions about oil refinery engineering project management (process design, piping design, vessels design, piping rack steel design, civil design...How to plan and track all project from the design to supervision...

Thank you

RE: How Does Every One Else Do It

saraybh, you may want to start a new thread.

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close