Archive by Author

Inside MC – Sam Thaya


The MC Environment Team handles customer installations and upgrades as well as technical support issues related to the server environment. As such, it is the perfect stomping ground for Sam Thaya who enjoys the technical challenge, as well as the opportunity to work closely with both customers and the MC Clients Services Team.

Sam was born in Laos and moved to this country with his two siblings as a preschooler, gaining early English language skills through plentiful cartoon observation (“yabba dabba doo” being one of his first complex vocabulary wordsJ). Sam spent most of his formative years in Fresno, California, before moving to Kansas. He returned to Fresno seven years ago, where he now lives with his beloved Bichon Frise, Jubie.

 

Don’t let Sam’s mild mannered demeanor (or affection for a “fru fru” pooch) fool you – he is one tough guy. When Sam first became interested in kick boxing about six years ago, he was a hefty 240 pounds. He quickly became passionate about the sport and spent two to three hours a night at the gym, five nights a week. A year later, ready for his first match, he was a lean and mean 183 pounds! All this hard work paid off, winning the match in the first round against an experienced opponent. Sam continued to compete for five years, but now just goes to the gym for fun. Check out the before and after pictures of Sam, taken just a year apart:

 

Kickboxing is just one of many of Sam’s interests. He enjoys magic tricks and sewing/quilting, and is also an avid amateur photographer, specializing in both portrait and landscape photography. Sam is often seen with a camera around his neck at MC Events, and is using his photography skills to help out at the local Boys and Girls Club, taking senior pictures for youth who could not otherwise afford this rite of passage. In Sam’s youth, he found his community center to be very supportive, which inspired him to give back to a similar organization as an adult. He supervises teens in afterschool activities, and helps with resume/interview preparation and computer skills training. Sam’s favorite perspective, however, is from behind the camera, capturing youthful memories as with this picture from their Sadie Hawkins dance:

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Inside MC – Brandon Palana


When Brandon Palana joined our team of Implementation Consultants in January he was certainly not a newcomer to the product or industry. Prior to joining our staff, Brandon worked for a top Food and Facilities Management company for thirteen years, the last three spent working directly with Maintenance Connection. This direct knowledge of the industry and the product from the client perspective has made him an especially valuable resource for both our staff and customers.

As an Implementation Consultant, Brandon enjoys learning about the variety of industries using MC, and relishes having the opportunity to solve unique customer challenges. He appreciates the team and family atmosphere of the company, and has been impressed by the level of collaboration and support exhibited by staff spread out across the country. Brandon likes being part of the MC family and finds the commitment to making a difference, as evidenced by the MC Gives Back program, especially gratifying.

As our customers have spoken to Brandon know well, he is an established New Englander, living in Rhode Island with Lauren, his wife of twelve years, and their four “four legged” childrenJ. Maggie and Guinness (aka “Mr. Wiggles”) are large Labrador Retrievers, one of whom has no idea she is not a lap dog. The two cats, Mitts and Leo (aka “Big Sexy” weighing in at a whopping 18 pounds), seem to stand their ground quite well. Mitts in particular has made her place in the family very clear, using Brandon as a human pillow and sleeping face to face on his chest most nights!

 

Brandon is a big outdoors enthusiast, enjoying hiking, camping, and biking (both pedal and motorized). One of his more memorable hiking adventures was a 2 day trek to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, enjoyed with his brother on a cross country road trip. In recent years, Brandon has combined his enthusiasm for outdoor activities with charitable work, having done a number of MS 150 rides (two day 150 mile bicycling events to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis). He has also done some charity events on his Harley, joining a group of 800 bikers during a local event to raise scholarship funds for local schools. As part of the MC Gives Back program, Brandon and Lauren also volunteered for Special Olympics, and are looking forward to doing more work for this group in the near future. As shown below, Brandon has also participated in the Ruckus the last three years, a 5K obstacle course race:

Lastly, it will come as no surprise that he is a big fan of New England sports teams, evidenced by his almost 20 year season ticket dedication to the New England Patriots. As seen below on the sidelines, Brandon and Lauren are well prepared for a cold winter game:

Work Order Tools – 2 of 2 – Labor Timesheet


In this second post in the Work Order Tools series, we will explore how the Labor Timesheet Entry tool provides an efficient method for technicians to enter time against multiple work orders.

To access this feature, select Labor Timesheet Entry… from the Tools Menu:

The logged in user is selected by default at the top of the dialog. If you are a member of an access group with permission to enter time for others, you will be able to select other users from that control.

The top section of the dialog shows any open and closed work orders with time recorded for the current week. This allows the user to quickly add time to work orders that are in progress. An option to hide these sections is available so that they do not take up space in the dialog.

 

To input time on new work orders, enter the Work Order ID into the column on the left. If you do not know the Work Order ID, double click inside the field and a lookup will open from which you can find the correct record. Once a valid work order ID has been entered, the work order reason will display allowing you to confirm that you are entering time on the correct record. You can then just enter hours in the appropriate day columns. As you enter the hours, the total for the work order is automatically calculated on the right, along with the total for the days/weeks at the bottom. The calculations may include time that is hidden in the top sections to ensure all hours for the week are included:

If desired, you can also specify the type of hours, account, category or comment for any records. You can also enter time for a different week, by clicking on the Previous/Next buttons at the top of the dialog.

Once all desired time has been entered, click the Apply button on the Header bar at the top of the dialog.

 

An actual labor record will be created for each row entered, properly associated with the designated work order. The page will refresh with the updated work orders now showing in the top section. Complete/Close buttons are available to process any work orders now ready to complete and/or close.

 

You can proceed to enter time for a different user or week if desired. Once all time has been entered, you can click Close to exit the dialog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Order Tools – 1 of 2 – Work Order Rapid Entry


Maintenance Connection includes some very helpful Work Order Tools that are less commonly used by our customers. This blog series will highlight two of these features, the Work Order Rapid Entry Tool and the Labor Timesheet Tool.

 

Work Order Rapid Entry

This beneficial feature provides a quick method to add a series of work orders and is especially valuable for administrators entering requests submitted via email, phone or paper by users without access to MC. The tool provides a one screen entry mechanism that is custom designed for your organization to include the fields that are important when establishing a work order, along with any logical default values.

 

You can indicate the reason/problem/procedure for the work, requester information, assigned individual, and the asset requiring work. For completed work orders, you can enter actual labor hours, parts used, and the labor report. Based on setup, work orders can even be completed or closed out from the same screen.

A series of preferences are available to determine which fields should be displayed and whether or not default values should be defined. These preferences can be accessed from the standard menu (Tools->Preferences; Work Order folder) or from within the tool (tab displays if user has permission to modify preferences).

The tool can be tailored by including/excluding the following fields:

  • Default Asset (starting point for selecting an asset)
  • Requester Information
  • Reason and Procedure Fields
  • Problem, Failure, and Solution Fields
  • Type and Priority Fields
  • Organizational Attributes (Repair Center, Shop, Department, Supervisor, Customer)
  • Meter Readings
  • Labor Hours (Actuals)
  • Inventory Items (Actuals)
  • Status Updates (Issued, Completed, and Closed)

 

Once configured, the feature can be accessed from the Tools Menu (Tools->Work Order Rapid Entry). In the following example, the tool is setup to capture key fields on work orders (including a custom UDF) and complete them in a single step. In this example, a work order with an assignment to Roberta Jones would be created, an actual labor record of 3.5 hours would be recorded, and the work order would then be marked as completed:

It should be noted that the Work Order Rapid Entry Tool requires the MC Agent.  If the tool is not displayed at your organization, check with MC Support to ensure you have the MC Agent installed and activated.

 

Stay Tuned

Check back next week for a highlight of the Labor Timesheet Entry tool.

 

 
 

Asset Series – 3 of 3 – Asset Preferences and Configuration


In this third post in the Asset Series, we will take a peek at some valuable preferences that can be used to configure the display and behavior of the Asset Module. These sometimes overlooked preferences can be used to suppress PM generation for out of service assets, define the convention to automatically build Asset IDs, and trigger an alternate display for large asset nodes.

 

Suppress PM Generation for Out of Service Assets


This preference determines whether or not a work order should be created for an asset if it is marked as “out of service” at the time it is due to generate under a PM Schedule. When set to “yes”, the work order will not generate, and all scheduling information on the PM Asset will remain as last specified (last generated/completed or last meter readings). Whether or not the work order will generate upon the asset’s return to service is dependent on the PM Schedule definition. A schedule based on meter readings or elapsed time (e.g., x months) would likely generate a work order, whereas a fixed schedule would not generate a work order until the next specified date occurred.

 

 

ID Builder for New Assets


There are two preferences that determine ID creation for new assets. The first preference determines whether or not the AssetID will be predefined when a new asset is created. If the preference is set to “No”, no values will be populated into the new Asset’s ID and Name fields; the user will be completely free to enter any value desired. If set to “Yes”, the system will assist in generating an ID and Name to facilitate maintenance of a consistent naming convention.

If the new record is a “location”, upon specifying the Classification, the AssetID field will be populated with the Asset’s ParentID, followed by a “dash”, prompting you to add additional info for the node. This ensures that AssetIDs on all locations include valuable information from the location hierarchy. In the following example, when creating a ROOM in the Basement, the AssetID will identify the path for the newly created room, allowing you to add additional definition such as “EQUIP”, “CONF”, etc.:

If the new record is an “asset”, upon specifying the Classification, the AssetID field will be populated with the Asset’s Classification, followed by a “dash” and the next number to assign. Depending on the second preference shown, this will either automatically display the next available number, or indicate (Auto-Number) in parenthesis. If the second preference is set to “Use Auto-Number”, upon saving the new Asset the next available number will automatically be assigned:


 

 

Max Nodes to Read in Asset Tree Hierarchy


The preference that determines the “Max Nodes to Read” is very helpful in organizations with extensive equipment inside Asset Nodes. As nodes are opened in the Asset Tree, the system will present the results in the hierarchical tree, up to the specified number of records (default is 500). If the specified number is exceeded, the system automatically switches the display to “search mode” when the node is opened, allowing for a more efficient presentation of larger data sets. The search mode (shown below right), is faster for large result sets as it is displaying only the specified node (vs. the full tree).

 

In addition, with the “search mode” you have the added benefit of using available pagination to more efficiently navigate through records. In our example, there are over 500 “bearing” records, which have now been paginated for faster and easier navigation:

 

Note: There are also a set of preferences that allow for custom formatting of records displayed in the Asset Tree, such as showing assets with open work orders in a particular color. For further information on setting these preferences, see the previous blog on Explorer Preferences.