Barcodes Making Service Easier

For a maintenance mechanic out in the field or a facility manager who needs to create a work order, a new app is making life much easier. 

The app allows users to scan an asset barcode or QR code using any phone or tablet. Assets include most mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and life safety components—essentially all building infrastructure that needs to be maintained. 

The tool has multiple benefits: 

  • Anyone at U-M who submits a work order for repair service can save time by having the app automatically populate information such as the asset number and location. You can also check the status of a work order by simply scanning the barcode again.
  • F&O maintenance staff can now quickly and easily view data, notes, work orders, and documents such as drawings and photos while out in the field. Being able to immediately view all the work done previously can save time and improve results. It also enables maintenance staff to submit work orders on the spot.  
  • In addition to making day-to-day tasks easier, the app will inform analysis and decisions by building more detailed service histories. Higher-quality data can help answer questions like “Does inspecting X equipment more frequently lead to fewer breakdowns, or would that time be better spent elsewhere?”

Preventive Maintenance Planner Wesley Fabian shared, “It has definitely made my job easier.” Fabian tags new assets with a barcode and enters them into the database. “I can go out in the field and update things as I go, so it’s more efficient and also more accurate because you can enter data while standing right in front of the equipment.” 

Wesley Fabian, a preventive maintenance planner, demonstrates how quick and easy it is to pull up information about an asset by scanning the barcode.

Fabian noted that with the app, he was able to tag all of the assets in Trotter Multicultural Center before it officially opened—quicker than in the past.

The app was developed by F&O Information Services staff, who modified an open-source solution that is far less expensive than licensing specialized software. “This is a great example of collaboration within our Development team of various backgrounds that allowed this project to come to reality,” said the team lead, Jonas Daunoravicius. Developing it as part of a web page—rather than a mobile app—was different and challenging, but was key to making it an integral part of the existing work order request process.

The app is designed to be scalable as other uses emerge. Already, a team has inquired about opportunities to use the app to improve efficiency at loading docks and warehouses!