Whether you are managing a repair service, a professional cleaning business or a small construction company, effective work order management is key to productive and organized operation.
We’ll share everything you need to know about effective work order management, including best practices and how doForms mobile form software can help you streamline the process.
Table of Contents
What Is Work Order Management?
Work order management is a process that involves the creation, tracking and completion of work orders within an organization.
Work order management can be performed:
- Manually: Manual work order management includes paper forms, Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Manual management is time-consuming, has limited real-time visibility and increases the chances of miscommunication.
- Electronically: Using cloud-based platforms and mobile apps, work order management software solutions offer real-time tracking and scalability. Mobile applications are particularly useful for businesses with field employees, as they can receive, update and complete work orders on their mobile devices.
Benefits Of Effective Work Order Management
Effective work order management is key for businesses of all sizes and across industries. An organized management process:
- Minimizes downtime due to streamlined task assignment and execution
- Reduces delays and enhances productivity due to optimized resource allocation
- Reduces costs due to better organization and control
- Fosters collaboration and coordination between teams
- Increases customer satisfaction due to timely and efficient task completion
If you are managing a field service business, effective work order management can help you quickly dispatch technicians to customer locations, reducing response times and improving service efficiency.
If you are operating a healthcare facility, effective work order management can help you schedule and track maintenance tasks for medical equipment, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards.
If you are running a construction company, effective work order management can help you break down larger construction projects into manageable tasks, assign responsibilities and track the progress of each task.
Work Order Management Process
To create and implement an organized work order management process, follow the steps below.
1. Create A Work Order
Once you receive a work request, create a work order. Include all relevant information, such as:
- Task description
- Required resources
2. Prioritize & Categorize
Evaluate the task based on urgency, importance and potential impact on your business operations. Categorize it accordingly to facilitate efficient scheduling.
Consider the following:
- How urgent is the task? If the task an emergency, issue the order as soon as possible and designate it as high priority.
- How complicated is the task? If the task is complicated, it might require tools and resources you don’t have on hand. If this is the case, you will need to make the necessary arrangements to obtain the tools or resources needed.
- How time-consuming is the task? To complete the task faster, you might need to assign additional employees or those with more extensive expertise.
- How much will the task cost? Consider the expenses for materials and labor associated with the task.
3. Assign & Schedule
Assign the work order to the appropriate team members based on their skills and availability.
When assigning a task, consider:
- Worker availability: Determine whether you have enough employees to perform the task. If not, make adjustments to their schedules based on task priority and the urgency.
- Nature of the task: Determine whether the task requires specific knowledge or a team of several employees. If you have a limited number of employees qualified for the task, who are currently working on a different assignment, you may need to reallocate resources.
- Client preferences: Consider client preferences on who will perform the task, such as a certified specialist or an employee they bonded with during previous assignments.
Set a schedule that ensures the task is completed in a timely manner.
4. Allocate Inventory
Once you’ve assigned the task, the next step is to provide your employees with the inventory and materials for the task, including:
- Spare parts
- Safety equipment
- Communication devices
5. Delegate The Work Order
Communicate work order details to the assigned employees or teams. Provide clear instructions, updates and timely information on changes to ensure everyone is on the same page.
6. Monitor Progress
Monitor the progress of the work order to identify potential delays and intervene as needed to keep the task on schedule.
7. Document & Analyze
Document all relevant information associated with each work order, including:
- Details of work performed
- Employees involved
- Materials used
Analyze the performance of your team throughout the process to identify the areas they excel in, along with areas that could be improved.
Work Order Management Best Practices
Implement the best practices below to foster a streamlined work order management process that will help you boost productivity and optimize your resources.
- Create standardized work orders: Use a standardized format for work orders. Include task description, location, priority and resources needed.
- Use prioritization protocols: Develop criteria for prioritizing work orders based on importance and urgency to ensure that high-priority tasks are addressed promptly.
- Set communication protocols: Establish clear communication procedures for work order details, updates and changes.
- Invest in training and skill development: Implement training programs to enhance employee skill and efficiency.
- Collect feedback: Obtain employee feedback to identify areas for improvement in your work order management system.
- Audit and review: Conduct regular audits of the work order management process to identify inefficiencies or areas where the process can be streamlined.
- Invest in digital software: Consider a mobile forms solution that facilitates remote access, tracking, communication and team collaboration.
- Use real-time tracking and monitoring: Supervising work orders in real time will allow you to intervene quickly in case of delays and keep tasks on schedule.
- Use automated assignment and scheduling: Consider automation tools to assign work orders based on the availability and skills of your team members.
- Consider mobile accessibility: Providing mobile accessibility to the work order management system will ensure on-the-go access for field personnel, enabling them to receive, update and complete work orders from any location. Our doForms solution includes a mobile app to facilitate work from any location, with or without an internet connection.
- Integrate with other systems: Integrate your work order management system with inventory management or asset tracking systems. Integrations will allow you to reduce manual data entry and enhance overall operational efficiency.
Improve Your Work Order Management Process With doForms
- Cost-savings: Using our mobile forms allows you to manage your documents electronically and save thousands a year on paper.
- Versatility: Using doForms, you can process work requests, create and assign work orders and monitor progress all via one platform. In addition, you can create, edit and share checklists and reports associated with each activity that needs to be completed, whether construction daily reports, professional house cleaning checklists or electrical inspection checklists.
- Accessibility: As a cloud-based solution, doForms allows you to access all of your records instantly, edit documents in real-time from any location and check the status of work orders while on the go.
- Security: Securely stored in the cloud, your documents cannot be misplaced, damaged or lost with doForms.
Whether you’re in the office, on-site or enjoying a well-deserved break, doForms allows you to keep your business at your fingertips.
FAQs About Work Order Management
Explore more questions and answers about work order management in the section below.
What is a work order?
A work order is a document that outlines the basic components of a specific task, including:
- What the task is
- When the task should be completed
- Who is responsible for completing the task
Work orders are most commonly used in the repair and maintenance industry, where they are issued and assigned to technicians who need to perform a specific task.
What are the main types of work orders?
Some of the most common types of work orders include:
- Emergency work orders, issued for jobs that require immediate attention
- Preventive maintenance orders, issued for maintenance tasks that need to be completed according to a pre-determined schedule
- Corrective maintenance orders, issued when a problem is discovered during a preventive maintenance job
- Inspection orders, issued as part of broader preventive maintenance efforts to focus on identifying potential issues
- General orders, issued for jobs that do not fall into other specific categories.
What should a work order include?
A work order should include the following information:
- A unique ID number
- Date of request & deadline
- Task description
- Time & cost estimate
- Low, medium or high priority categorization
- Customer profile
- Employee(s) assigned
- List of required tools and materials
What industries can benefit from effective work order management?
Implementing best practices for work order management is beneficial across various industries, including healthcare, construction, manufacturing, facilities management and field services.
How can work order management help track costs?
Work order management processes allow you to track costs by recording the hours spent on each task, documenting the materials used for each work order and comparing budgeted costs to actual costs.
With this organized documentation process, you can easily assess costs and implement strategies to reduce or optimize for future work orders.
How can work order management practices contribute to preventive maintenance?
Work order management processes facilitate the scheduling and tracking of preventive maintenance tasks. This proactive approach allows you to identify and address potential issues before they escalate, reducing unexpected equipment failures.