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Failure of the Failure Code Hierarchy

John Reeves - Senior Business Process Consultant

For many the successful capture of “failure data” is a struggle. And after a while these "codes" all sound alike. Failure codes however are important for failure analytics. Failure data includes the WO problem description, asset (and asset related fields), failed component, the type of failure (full, partial, potential, or defect), problem/cause codes, and action verb. The asset/location record contains additional information such as asset classification, system, asset age, warranty, downtime, replacement cost, installation date (e.g. age), manufacturer, spare part list and PM/PdM activities. Without failure analytics the leadership team is limited in their ability to identify the “bad actors”.

The purpose of this article is to primarily discuss the Failure Code (FC) Hierarchy design. This structure (Out of the Box Maximo) typically consists of....

Level-1: asset classification or failure class

Level-2: problem code

Level-3: cause code

Level-4: remedy


1.For the Asset Management System (AMS) you are using, there is a FC Hierarchy design with four levels, as shown above.

2.The problem code is typically used to capture a first observation (e.g. damaged, leaking, noisy). And all asset classes generally have the same 10-20 problem codes.

3.All assets could have the same list of cause codes.

Problem Statement: There is no benefit to having a 4-level FC Hierarchy. In fact, this design could be causing some to give up before starting.

If you had 50 asset classifications and 10 problem codes and 10 cause codes, this would equate to 5000 total values. Once the FC Hierarchy is entered I guess this is not an issue, but, if you want to change the Cause code values, imagine how many records you would have to touch (?!). Therein the system administrator may decide to never set up Level 2, 3, or 4.

One alternative approach is to use Level-1 and Level-2 but then add new fields for Cause and Remedy (Action Verb). This gives the ability to use a generic FC list with minimal administrative overhead.


A.Insert Level-1 value of "ASSET" into FC Hierarchy application. Apply this code to every asset. Note: store the “type of asset” (e.g. Pump) in Classifications.

B.Enter your generic list of Problem codes against this value "ASSET". The Problem code provides duplicate WO warning.


C.Add new field to screen titled Component Problem. (This will use same value list as Problem code)

D.Add new field to screen called Action Verb (or Remedy).

E.Add new fields to screen for Causes. There can be 4 levels of Cause codes. An example is shown below.

It is best to capture Failed Components in a separate field altogether.

Note: The combination of the Failed Component and the Component Problem code and (possibly) the Cause code give you the Failure Mode which is essential for Failure Modes and Effects Analysis comparison.

The Cause-4 level would be for “human causes”, e.g. lack of training; procedure wasn't clear; ran out of time, etc.

The Cause-4 set would be applicable to each Cause-3.

Other notes:

- The capture of failure data is performed at WO initiation and WO completion.

- The input of failure data involves operations staff, maintenance technician, supervisor and reliability engineer.

It is best to setup mandatory rules based on “repair work” and WO status.

The Benefits of Maximo Anywhere

Kevin Frazier - Technical Consultant

In today’s business world, Mobile computing is changing interactions and how work gets done. The Compound Annual Growth Rate of worldwide mobile workers is expected to increase by 5% over the next four years. IBM’s Maximo Anywhere product’s aim is to ease the job of the Mobile Technician. Maximo Anywhere leverages IBM’s Worklight platform which encompasses Maximo and its Industry Solutions as well as TRIRIGA.

Maximo Anywhere runs on modern Operating Systems and Smart Devices such as phones and tablets and supports connected and disconnected scenarios. While connected, the device has connectivity to the Worklight/Maximo Server at all times. While disconnected, the mobile technician can go about their normal work day and connect to the server at the end of the day to fully synchronize the data. The user will see virtually no difference in application usage in either mode. Once the device is connected, a refresh occurs in the background requiring no user action.

There are two bundles in the Worklight platform: Work Execution and Work Management. They run on Android and IOS operating systems and allow remote technicians to view maps, materials, labor, tools, as well as create work and view status changes and update work logs with voice, text or even pictures. The camera of the smart device may also be used for barcode scanning for collecting inventory. For Android devices, customers can leverage mobile application development to further tailor the apps look, feel and behavior to better suit their needs.

The Maximo Anywhere licensing for existing Maximo Mobile customers will have their entitlement mapped automatically if they have not manually migrated yet. The Licensing and Migration Options are as follows:

Mobile Only: Requires only the Maximo Anywhere licensing to use the Work Management mobile apps.

Mobile & Desktop: Requires Maximo Anywhere and appropriate Maximo core entitlement.

Maximo Mobile Customers: May migrate their licenses (whole or in part) to Maximo Anywhere at no charge if they are under a current Maintenance Agreement.