What Are Issues And How Should We Manage Them?

To those in the issue management field, an issue is very simply a work based problem that can re-occur or repeat. A few straightforward examples might be:

In Customer Services – an customer with a service complaint

In Facilities – a sticking access door

In Manufacturing – a broken tool line side

In Logistics – a misplaced load

In IT – a user report of an overheating laptop

These 5 examples all have common attributes although their subject matter is different – they each consist of:

  • A raiser reporting or raising an issue with their work environment
  • Someone else is responsible for or has a duty of care in resolving the issue
  • Some detail, description and context of the issue is provided by the raiser.

Typically these would be communicated by phone or email to another person, who would then input these details in a system of some kind (a help desk, CMMS, FMS or CAFM system) and if the user was lucky they would receive some verbal or written feedback that the issue was “in the system”.

The process these 4 issues go through to reach resolution is also common, even though the systems and departments involved can be very different:

  • the issue is raised (inputted to the system)
  • the issue is shared to someone to rectify
  • the person shared to will typically make an initial assessment (yes – the tool is actually broken)
  • the issue may require some additional process or operations to be followed to reach resolution
  • the issue will be logged as resolved and closed
  • the issue will be included in some reports of open/closed issues and costs incurred

The One Issue Management Approach

Our issue management approach is to establish a single system to manage issues – independent of the content. A common interface, process and reporting that are flexible and configurable enough to cover issues, facilities, maintenance tasks and virtually any type of customer service activities.

One issue is unique in one significant respect – the content, location, assets and processes are all configurable – not baked into the system software!

Issues and sub-issues are defined at initial configuration, as are locations, sub-locations and assets (if applicable). Issues categories can be mixed, so for example a typical list of facilities maintenance issues may also include an Health & Safety category to capture near misses or potential hazards.  These can be shared and routed to the Health & Safety manager alongside the operational team and an advanced API can also interface with your H&S system to avoid re-entry.

Other features of this approach are:

  • An issue can be raised directly via the mobile interface – reducing errors and the need for help desk staff
  •  The nature of the issue determines its routing, each department or area only sees their own, each location sees their own
  • Management can get a live overview of issues, by category, by location, by status and via a sophisticated reporting view direct to their device or desktop

The key advantages reported by our customers are:

  • visibility of issues  – across the business, in near real time – no more missed post-it messages
  • accuracy of initial requests – reducing wasted effort and fewer additional inspections
  • accountability – issues are clearly assigned, improving completion rates and productivity
  • less time reporting – management can see what they need without significant effort

Using a mobile issue management solution brings all these advantages into the palm of your hand.