Work order management refers to the process of prioritizing, completing, and documenting maintenance work orders in a timely manner. While this might sound simple, the process is time consuming and prone to error when done by hand. For example, work orders filled out on paper and filed away in cabinets are easy to misplace, and manual spreadsheets are slow to be updated with new information. Instead, leveraging a robust work order management software, such as a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), accelerates and streamlines this process while ensuring accurate, up-to-date documentation. When implemented effectively, this approach can be affordable and scalable in a facility, enabling maintenance teams to reduce unplanned asset downtime and save costs.
Work Order Management Process
The work order management process typically starts with a maintenance manager accepting a work order and passing the request along to a technician to fulfill. The work order form communicates maintenance through a lifecycle of six steps.
- Task Identification: Identify what needs to be done to resolve a maintenance issue.
- Work Order Creation: Complete a work order request form to authorize maintenance tasks.
- Work Order Approval: Maintenance management decides if there is a legitimate need.
- Priority Assignment: Work orders are assessed by considering the urgency, existing backlog, and team availability.
- Distribution and Execution: Approved and prioritized work orders are printed and given to technicians for them to perform the activity.
- Result Documentation: Workers document what occurred in an accurate and timely manner.
The work order can be closed once all services were rendered and the job is complete.
What are the Different Work Order Management Approaches?
The two primary approaches to work order management are manual (using pen and paper, spreadsheets, and/or white boards) and automated (leveraging a work order management software to automate work order creation and documentation workflows).
Manual methods were once the norm and can still be effective for smaller organizations that handle a low volume of work orders. However, a CMMS stands above as the most reliable system that makes it easy to prioritize work orders, automatically distribute them to available technicians, and instantly update maintenance records with the most up-to-date information.
Enterprises should adhere to the best practices of work order management to have more control over their work orders. That means employing a model suitable for managing large volumes of requests instead of just relying on a CMMS to get the job done.
Five Benefits of Work Order Management Software for Effective Workflows
1. Standardize Your Maintenance Processes
Standardizing your work order management process is one of the most effective ways to ensure that all maintenance work is done correctly and in a timely manner – every time. A work order management software makes it easy to standardize your processes and ensure that those standards are followed by everyone on your team. You can also automate scheduled and preventive maintenance work orders, significantly cutting down on paperwork while ensuring key tasks are always done on time.
2. Automate Recordkeeping
Gone are the days of manual spreadsheets and paper files. A CMMS solution enables you to create, track, and log all work orders and maintenance activities automatically. This documentation is stored in the cloud and available at your fingertips via mobile or web application, so you always have up-to-date information about every asset you maintain.
3. Save Costs and Maximize Productivity
With a CMMS software, work orders can be handled faster than via manual methods, making it possible to quickly execute on critical maintenance tasks. This maximizes the productivity and effectiveness of your maintenance team, which directly impacts asset uptime. By reducing costly unplanned downtime and unexpected maintenance expenses, a CMMS solution to work order management will quickly pay for itself.
4. Improve Performance Tracking
A work order management software ensures higher visibility throughout the work order management process. You can easily track your key performance metrics (KPIs), understand how your team is measuring against these metrics, identify opportunities for improvement, and engage in proactive maintenance planning.
5. Ensure Compliance with Relevant Standards
By automating maintenance recordkeeping, CMMS solutions simplify audit preparedness. No more searching for misplaced paper records, or combing through spreadsheets of outdated information. Instead, the CMMS is a single source of truth for your maintenance program, with every activity documented and time-stamped electronically for easy retrieval in case of audit. Plus, you can rest assured the information is as accurate and up-to-date as possible, without the risk of incorrect, late, or missing data entry.