Work Order Software. Why Use It and Best Work Order Software Options.

CMMS Software / May 2024

What is a Work Order Software

Work Order software allows you to issue, assign, manage and complete maintenance work orders.

Best Work Order Software will allow you to manage the following five different types of work orders.

1. Inspection Work Order
Inspection work orders are often used in two main cases;

  • When work request is unclear.
  • When the condition of the asset needs an inspection to scope out the actual work.

2. Reactive Work Order

Often also referred to as Emergency Work Order. Reactive maintenance work orders are issued if there is a break down.

3. Planned, Preventive or Preventative Work Order

Planned work orders are a part of the preventive maintenance strategy, where work orders are issued based on pre-determined time, age or interval of the asset.

For example; pump filters will be changed every 6 months. Bearings are changed every 18 months. etc

The central idea with these type of work orders is to maintain the asset to avoid any break down or failure.

4. Condition Monitoring Driven Work Order
Maintenance teams that use condition monitoring use Condition based work orders.
The process of issuing work orders based on pre-determined trigger events is Condition-based work orders.

5. Predictive Maintenance Work Order.
Predictive is an advanced version of condition monitoring work order. Often used by companies that use very high value and critical assets.

Find the Best Maintenance Management Software to Manage Your Work Orders

Get Started

What Type of Assets Are You Looking to Maintain?

8 Steps to Create and Close a Work Order

1. Work Request
Work request in a small and medium maintenance teams can come via phone, email or chat. Work request for equipment often comes from technicians after inspection. Facilities management work request often comes from users of facilities.

Work request in big companies with complex operations is often via a ticket, incident or repair request.

2. Work Order Consideration

Not all work requests are converted into work orders. Sometimes, it is better to run equipment till complete failure and replace it with a new one.

If there are budget, technical, skills or availability concerns then work requests are put on a backlog.

It is very common to have approval process to create work orders based on budget, priority and impact of a work order.

There are instances where work order can only be executed during specified conditions and times.

3. Work Order Creation

In smaller companies work order can be created on paper forms and excel spreadsheets. Medium companies tend to use electronic/app based work order forms.

A growing number of maintenance teams use work order software to drive more effectiveness.

4. Work Order Assignment

Is the process of assigning work to a technician, engineer or external contractor.

For complex work orders, there can be sequential or sub-work orders. For example;

  • Inspection work order can be for an internal technician.
  • Electrical work order can be for an internal electrician.
  • Condition monitoring work order can be for an external expert.
  • Work completion inspection and approval work order can be for an engineering manager.

Sub work orders or sequential work orders are very common for complex work orders.

5. Work Order in Progress

This is typically associated with complex work orders. Often required to update management team on long or complex work orders.

6. Work Order Completion

When all assigned team members complete their part of the work order.

7. Work Order Completion Inspection

Quality of work and completion of work is often conducted by managers or external experts to ensure work is completed as per the instructions.

8. Work Order Closed

The work order is closed after satisfactory inspection of the work order.

Why Work Orders Are Important For Maintenance Managers

A work order allows maintenance managers to view, assign, organise, track, and prioritise all maintenance tasks. At a glance, they can see why a request has been raised, how long a job will take, who has been assigned to the job, and how much the task will cost.

Good work order management is key to implementing a successful maintenance strategy. They are used to ensure:

  • Only necessary maintenance tasks are being carried out
  • Jobs are assigned to the right technicians and engineers
  • Repairs are completed on time
  • Maintenance work is kept within a set budget

Keeping track of work orders – no matter what method you choose to do so with – allows for greater control over maintenance activities. This, in turn, helps to reduce maintenance costs and limit equipment downtime.

Take Restaurant Brand for example, which saved $1.7 million in its first period of implementing a work order management system. It then increased its contractor base by 25% and reduced invoice costs by 18%.

There are several methods that a maintenance manager may choose to track and manage their works orders:

How to Write the Perfect Work Order

Depending on the job and business, the layout of a work order will vary. The example work orders below are maintenance and order requests:

How to Write the Perfect Work Order

Source (right):

Essentially, though, a work order will consist of 7 key informational stages:

  1. Names: The name and contact details of the user who requested it, and the name and identification of the asset that needs maintenance.
  2. Description: A description of the issue and what will be required to complete the work order (skills, scope, etc.), the task’s priority level, and a task checklist.
  3. Tools required: List of materials and spare parts required for the job.
  4. Details & documents: The location of the asset, instruction manuals, and health and safety documents.
  5. Assigned to: Which technician will perform the service including their skills and history.
  6. Dates & hours: Estimated completion date, actual completion date, expected hours of work, actual hours of work.
  7. Completion: Signature on completion and completion date.

Who Uses a Work Order?

The use of a work order form is most prominent in areas such as construction, manufacturing, and building management; anywhere where maintenance is an integral part of the production. This means there are many stakeholders that either request, view, share, or act on a task.

Depending on the type, a work order will be used by:

  • Plant managers
  • Maintenance and facility managers
  • Workshop and maintenance teams
  • Inventory and asset managers
  • Field service workers
  • Technicians, engineers, and mechanics
  • Customers and clients
  • Office teams

The Process of Creating & Closing a Work Order

Although the process of creating and closing a work order can depend on the type of business of its operations, they all follow similar stages:

  1. A request is raised on a dedicated system or communication channel
  2. Maintenance managers are alerted to a new request for approval, further suggestions, or denial
  3. If approved, the job is automatically assigned to a dedicated user (technician, engineer, or mechanic) – if denied or further information is needed, the request is sent back to the person who raised it
  4. The user receives the work order and gets to work, providing updates on completion times
  5. The job is completed and closed by the user who attaches notes or feedback
  6. The maintenance manager & person who raised the issue are alerted to the completion of the job

Use Our Maintenance Management Software Finder to Identify the Best Tool For You

What Type of Assets Are You Looking to Maintain?

Why Manual Work Order Management Often Fails

When tracking work orders, manual methods are often to blame for maintenance mishaps. But, that doesn’t mean they should be disregarded entirely.

Take Excel spreadsheets for example; they’re cheap, easy to use, and can be edited on desktops, tablets, and mobiles. 52% of facility managers solely rely on using spreadsheets to manage their maintenance activities.

But, having a manual approach to maintenance can weigh heavily on efficiency and productivity. Using spreadsheets, notepads, or whiteboards to assign and track work orders can lead to:

  • Backlogs: It’s hard to keep track of who raised a work order or when it was raised without a digital paper trail, meaning requests can fall through the cracks.
  • Delays: Backlogs result in delays in equipment and machinery being fixed.
  • Reactive maintenance: Without a clear overview of tasks, maintenance can often be reactive instead of planned.
  • High emergency repair costs: When maintenance is reactive it incurs expensive emergency repair costs.

Using a Work Order Management System

A dedicated work order management system provides maintenance managers with maintenance data, contractor details, and real-time job tracking – all from a single dashboard. This helps to shorten equipment downtime, reduce repair costs, and ultimately gives an overview of all maintenance activities – repairs, fixes, and breakdowns.

Essentially, there are three reasons driving maintenance managers to use a work order management system or a CMMS:

1. To Have More Control Over Maintenance

Whereas notes can be misplaced and spreadsheets can be littered with errors, a digital work order management system stores and display all stages of a job. In one dashboard, you can:

  • See who raised the request
  • Track a work order’s progress
  • Receive real-time updates regarding a job
  • See what spare parts are needed and have been invoiced
  • Know if a technician was in-house or outsourced
  • Calculate how much each job will cost

2. To Provide Greater Visibility

Work orders can be viewed by anyone with access to the same system, not just maintenance managers. They can be viewed by:

  • The user who raised the issue
  • Technicians that have been assigned (letting them know where the job is located in the building and what MRO inventory is needed)
  • Accountants who’re in control of the maintenance budget
  • Operators who’re waiting for the fix to be completed

3. To Reduce Equipment Downtime

Having greater control over work orders allows maintenance managers to plan for and schedule maintenance. This allows them to optimise the entire process of approving a work order:

  • Plan for maintenance to take place outside of busy hours (non-working hours, evenings, weekends, holiday breaks, etc.)
  • Assign the best technician to a job for a higher chance of a first-time fix and to limit delays
  • Ensure the right materials and spare parts are available before maintenance takes place