A work order is a standardized task that results from a request for service that can be scheduled, tracked and assigned to someone typically in maintenance or operations. Work orders can be created internally across departments or externally by customers to improve environment conditions depending on the facility type.
Work order management software can be utilized for a variety of types of facilities, including schools, colleges and universities, local government, manufacturing plants, hospitals, senior living organizations, nonprofits, clubs and associations, and more. Popular work orders seen in maintenance departments can range from lightbulb replacements to plumbing issues to HVAC maintenance and roof repairs.
Work orders are central to managing the maintenance operations team of any industry.
In its most simple form, a corrective work order is a simple piece of paper with some basic instructions: “What and where is the problem?” Managing this is the main reason a CMMS (computerized maintenance management system) was created. Work orders are so much more.
Work orders help an organization:
Manage requests from anywhere within an organization
Manage corrective and preventive maintenance
Manage the women and men on our maintenance and related operations teams
Access a critical source of key data to drive analytics and KPIs to help keep them on target
Like most aspects of starting new with a CMMS, the crawl/walk/run “continuous improvement” strategy will help you ease in and see continual progress. Start with basic work orders, but be sure to include the baseline key information – both to help manage the process operationally, but also to capture the key data to help later analyze.
Key fields of a work order include:
This can later be expanded to include parts used (or needed for a PM), the hours/descriptions of the work performed, pictures, safety instructions, etc. Eventually you will loop in your requester process to provide for a better feedback loop upon the creation of the work order. It's also essential to include what you learned during the work order – downtime hours, “problem” and “cause” codes, etc. These fields really turbocharge the analytics and help with your KPIs.
A solid work order system will help improve your team’s efficiency and improve the quality and life of your assets. These are all essential to control costs and improve profitability.
Historically, many maintenance departments used paper work orders, sticky notes, phone calls or emails to keep up with work orders. But with the tools of a modern cloud-based work order system (also known as a CMMS or computerized maintenance management system) offers, work orders can be entered in real time, tracked, organized and completed all digitally, or even on a mobile device. A digital work order solution can save time, money and even provide quick documentation for compliance, budgeting, capital planning and more.
We’ve seen clients save 10 percent on operational costs and 15-20 percent time savings with a cloud-based work order system.
With a digital work order system, a work order request can be created by anyone with a login or access to the online request form. After filling out the form, the work request will be routed into a queue within the system to be addressed by a specific technician or assigned to a technician by an administrator.
Work orders can be made for just about anything. By far, the most common is to manage corrective maintenance (or reactive, unplanned or emergency work order). Corrective maintenance work orders are just the start.
Preventive maintenance work orders are the other major type. All organizations should be employing preventive maintenance (PM) and tracking those in the work order system. Work orders should be associated with any/all assets and facilities – helpful both operationally, as well as looking at analysis down to the various assets, components, systems, building and campuses. Work orders can be used for many tasks beyond traditional maintenance – basically anything where you need to schedule/associate tasks from your team to a building, asset or otherwise.
There are usually a variety of work order templates that you can customize within work order software.
Work orders often have fields to capture:
Who submitted it?
Where is the work needed?
What are we doing?
How critical is it?
Are we working on something specific?
Who is working on it?
Why are we doing it?
When did the request come in vs. when was it started vs. when was it finished?
Is it done? If not, why? If so, what did we do?
You should submit the following core information required to execute a maintenance work order:
These details not only help the maintenance professional adequately address the issue, it addresses key questions of managing the department's workload and efficiently organizing your team’s workdays.
As organizations become proficient at managing work, they often use their CMMS to address the business aspects of work orders like:
How much time did each person spend on the work?
Did we buy parts or rent equipment? From where, and for how much?
Did we bring in contracted services to help complete the job?
Is this part of a bigger project?
How much was spent vs. what was budgeted? How much of that budget is left?
The ultimate goal of tracking information in a work order is leveraging it to make decisions and to have insight to answer questions, such as:
What types of issues appear the most?
Where are we using the most resources? How much time and cost is involved?
How much are we accomplishing vs. how much is falling through the cracks?
If I need employees, what skills will help me solve issues found from the questions above?
Organizations can see huge efficiency gains (as well as much less wasted paper) when digitizing work orders.
Here are some other benefits of moving from paper work orders to digital ones:
Many work order software providers offer a free mobile app to help users create and complete work orders in the field.
An example of a mobile work order form in Dude Solutions Asset Essentials™
Then, technicians can use a mobile app to see their assigned work on their mobile device, as well as add notes, images and details to a work order before completing. Some work order apps even have timers to help better approximate the time it takes to complete a work order and what specific tasks are involved.
Prices for work order systems vary and may be based on square footage, rooms or beds, residents, users or other factors. To learn more about Dude Solutions pricing, request a personalized quote to see the value of software for your organization.
When choosing work order software, you must also consider the company or partner you will be working with. You should make sure they have a history of offering exceptional products and a strong support team. At Dude Solutions, we have 11,000+ clients using our CMMS, as well as a 99% client satisfaction rate. Partnering with Dude Solutions and using our CMMS for work order management results in improved: