As I look through records in databases, usually a TeamWORKS CMMS database, I can’t help but notice missing/deleted records. When cycling through work orders or other data, missing data jumps out at you. For example, while “thumbing” through a set of work orders I see work order number 2133, 2134, 2135, 2137. Hey, where’s number 2136? It was deleted. Did someone delete it on purpose? By accident?
The problem with deleting the record is that I don’t know what happened to it. Perhaps it was a bogus request. You’ve seen them before. Something like “please lower the window six inches so the sun won’t get in my eyes on spring mornings”. Yeah, it’s a crazy request and won’t get approved but if I delete it I have no record of the request and more importantly I have a hole in my numbers that will never again be filled. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but trust me, it can be.
Here’s the problem with deleting. Let’s say we are audited as part of an inspection or law suit. The inspector is looking at work orders for indoor air quality. The work order following the PM to complete the inspection has been deleted. We suspect that this work order was the request to “lower the window six inches” but the inspector assumes it is a follow up to the air quality test that we want to hide. Perhaps this assumption fits the inspector’s needs in an attempt to incriminate you.
Bottom line – you don’t know how the data may be used in the future. The data is certainly used for accountability on many levels. If the data is incomplete then the accuracy can be questioned and accountability is no longer an option.
So void, reject, or make notes as to why the data is invalid or does not belong but don’t delete it. It’s just good facilities management practice.