I want to share some of my real world customer support cases from my role at IBM as a Level 2 Support Engineer. A former manager of mine used to interview candidates for technical support jobs by asking them, "Are you running FROM something, or are you running TO something?". There are many good answers to this question, but I've always considered myself to be running TO my various positions in technical client support. I believe that my job is to help other people do THEIR jobs. I want to use this forum to do this, and by using my customers' issues as examples, hopefully you will find this useful.
Without further ado, I had the pleasure of speaking with a Maximo customer recently who was questioning the functionality of the Tools and Stocked Tools applications. He wondered why Tools and Stocked Tools cannot simply be Item, Inventory, and Asset records. He ran into some issues when he innocently bypassed these two modules and tried to gain the tool functionality by using the rotating asset and item functionality that Maximo offers in Assets, Inventory, and Item Master. I thought that there must be other clients who went down this path, so I'll offer a fundamental description of the core, functional components of the Tools and Stocked Tools applications.
The Tools application functions most similarly to Item Master and the Stocked Tools application functions most similarly to the Inventory application. Subsequently, you will need to create Tool records in order to take advantage of the functionality features of the Tools and Stocked Tools applications.
The good news is that the processing and handling of Tool records are similar to Item and Asset records, so the learning curve is far from steep for someone already using Maximo Assets and Inventory. The bad news is that in order to use these properly, you will need to order, track, issue, and maintain Tool records separately and independently from Item records. This notion is the inspiration for this post, after speaking to the aforementioned customer who was not aware of this. This particular customer was, as I imagine several other Maximo clients, trying to use the Item Master, Inventory, and Asset applications instead of learning or using additional modules like Tools and Stocked Tools.
I've been supporting Maximo for 7 years now, and I can clearly distinguish serious tool-users from other Maximo users whose tool usage is a little more casual or infrequent. One of the cool things about being on the IBM Maximo support team is that I get to talk to different people each day and from this vantage point I get a safe, temporary view into their workplace. Just within the scope of the Tools and Stocked Tools applications, I get to talk to customers from all over the United States and the world that work in such diverse roles within the utilities industries as well as clients who work in specialized fabrication, food processing, or the ever-pleasant Maximo administrator at a chain of gas and convenience stores!
Functions and Tasks in the Tools and Stocked Tools modules
If you're familiar with how rotating items and assets works in Maximo, then you're just about good to go with Maximo Tools and Stocked Tools...
Similar to rotating assets, you can assign a tool with a serial number to a Person/Labor or Work Order as long as you use the Tools and Stocked Tools application. Just like the Maximo item and asset functions that you know and love, you will you can easily create and work with Tool records in the summarized tasks below.
Create a rotating(serialized) tool (to issue to a Labor or Work Order):
- Go To Inventory | Tools | insert new record
- Enter a Commodity Group and/or other applicable fields; check the
- Rotating checkbox
- Add to Storeroom, change Status to Active
- Create PR/PO to order tool (see below)
Order or Reorder a tool:
- Create PO and use Line Type of Tool, then in the Item field, select the Tool;
- Specify the Storeroom
- Approve the PO
- Use the Receiving application as for any other rotating items (Receive Rotating Items/ assign Asset/serial numbers)
-This will update the balance in the Tools and Stocked Tools module similar to Item Master and Inventory
Issue a Tool:
- In the Stocked Tools application, Select Action / Issue Current Tool
- Enter the asset/serial number, WO, Issue To person, etc.
These basic functions now open the doors to tracking costs more specifically. For instance, you can now enter the Tool usage (Actuals) on Work Orders, which can help analyze and report on the maintenance costs of an Asset or your facility maintenance overall. Specific cost analysis and additional reporting ability of a tool is gained through the assignment of an hourly rate for the tool once the tool record is created...
Set the Hourly Rate for a Tool:
1. Go To Inventory | Tools
2. Open the tool record
3. Select Action | Tool/Organization Details
4. In the Tool Rate field enter an hourly cost for this tool's usage
Additionally, GL Accounts, a Tax Code, and a Receipt Tolerance percentage can be set. Receipt Tolerance is a way to prevent, or flag the receipt of the tool if the received cost is higher than the indicated percentage of what was approved on the PO. In English, that means that you can get flagged if the vendor is trying to charge you too much.
Hopefully the information here can serve as a quick start guide to get you get you up and running with a basic knowledge of Tools and Stocked Tools, and I look forward to talking to you from the Maximo Support Desk.
Tom Richardson is an IBM Maximo Support Engineer and frequent contributor to the Asset Management Blog community. For a complete index of links to his articles, visit
Index of articles by Tom Richardson, Support Engineer