Are you looking for a way to streamline your work order management process? Struggling to keep track of all the maintenance tasks that need to be completed within your organization? A sound work order system can help.
Creating and implementing an effective work order system is essential in manufacturing, construction, and beyond industries. This guide will show you how to complete a work order that meets all the needs for successfully managing your business operations.
What is a Work Order?
A work order is a formal document or request to authorize and track the progress of specific tasks, services, or maintenance jobs. It typically includes essential details such as the job description, location, materials needed, estimated labor hours, deadlines, and special instructions.
Work orders are commonly used in construction, manufacturing, and facility management to ensure that work is completed efficiently, accurately, and on time. They help organize workflows, manage resources, and maintain clear communication between different departments or teams involved in the project.
Work Order Applications
Work orders are usually used in various industries and sectors to manage tasks, services, or maintenance jobs. Some common areas where work orders are utilized include:
- Manufacturing: Work orders help track the production process, schedule resources, and manage the assembly of products or components.
- Construction: In construction projects, work orders are used to assign tasks, allocate materials, and monitor progress for specific jobs, such as electrical installations, plumbing, or carpentry.
- Facility Management: Work orders help manage maintenance tasks, repairs, and upgrades within a building or facility, ensuring that all systems and equipment function properly.
- IT Services: IT departments use work orders to track and manage software and hardware installations, upgrades, troubleshooting, and other technical support tasks.
- Automotive Repair: Auto repair shops use work orders to detail the services needed, parts required, and labor involved in repairing or maintaining vehicles.
- Landscaping and Gardening: Work orders help manage landscaping projects, including the design, installation, and maintenance of gardens, lawns, and outdoor spaces.
- HVAC Services: Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) companies use work orders to manage installations, repairs, and maintenance of HVAC systems in residential and commercial buildings.
- Cleaning Services: Commercial and residential cleaning companies use work orders to schedule and track cleaning tasks, assigning personnel and resources as needed.
Take note that this is only a small sample size—work orders apply to various other fields to ensure efficient organization, resource allocation, and communication throughout the project lifecycle.
Different Types of Work Orders
Several work orders are designed to serve a specific purpose or address different needs within an organization. Here are some common types of work orders:
- Preventive Maintenance Work Order: This type of work order is used to schedule and manage regular maintenance tasks to prevent equipment breakdowns and ensure optimal performance.
- Corrective Maintenance Work Order: Corrective maintenance work orders are created in response to an identified issue or malfunction in equipment, systems, or facilities. These work orders help prioritize, assign, and track the repair process.
- Emergency Work Order: Emergency work orders are generated when urgent, unexpected issues arise that require immediate attention, such as equipment failures, safety hazards, or critical system malfunctions.
- Project Work Order: Project work orders manage larger projects involving multiple tasks, resources, and personnel. These work orders help plan, coordinate, and monitor the entire project’s progress.
- Inspection Work Order: Inspection work orders are created to schedule and manage routine inspections of equipment, facilities, or systems to ensure they meet safety, quality, or regulatory standards.
- Change Work Order: Change work orders and manage modifications or updates to existing processes, equipment, or infrastructure. These work orders help track and document changes, ensuring smooth implementation and integration.
- Service Work Order: Service work orders are used by service providers to manage customer requests for specific services, such as repairs, installations, or consultations. These work orders capture the service details, client information, and special instructions.
- Internal Work Order: Internal work orders are used within an organization to manage tasks, resources, and projects that do not involve external clients or customers. These work orders help departments coordinate and collaborate on internal projects and initiatives.
The specific work order type depends on the industry, organization, and nature of the task or project. Organizations may often use a combination of work order types to manage their operations effectively.
Elements of a Work Order
A well-structured work order contains several key elements that provide the necessary information and facilitate the efficient execution of tasks. Here are the essential elements of a work order:
- Work Order Number: A unique identifier or reference number for each work order, which helps in tracking, organization, and record-keeping.
- Date: The date when the work order was created and the start and end dates for the task or project, if applicable.
- Job Description or Scope of Work: A clear and concise description of the task, service, or maintenance job, including specific objectives or goals.
- Location: The location or site where the work will be carried out.
- Assigned Personnel: Names or titles of individuals or teams responsible for completing the work order, along with their contact information.
- Materials and Resources: A list of materials, tools, and equipment needed to complete the task or project, including quantities and specifications.
- Estimated Labor Hours: An estimate of the total labor hours required to complete the work order, which can help in planning and resource allocation.
- Deadlines or Timeframes: Time-sensitive information such as deadlines for task completion, milestones, or checkpoints to monitor progress.
- Special Instructions or Notes: Any additional information, guidelines, or safety concerns relevant to the work order, such as handling hazardous materials, following specific protocols, or coordinating with other departments.
- Cost Estimates: An estimated breakdown of costs associated with the work order, including labor, materials, equipment, and other expenses. This helps in budgeting and financial planning.
- Authorization or Approval: Signatures or approvals from relevant supervisors, managers, or clients (if applicable) indicating that they have reviewed and authorized the work order.
- Status Updates: Space for recording progress updates, changes, or modifications to the work order as the task or project proceeds.
What is Work Order Management?
Work order management is creating, organizing, tracking, and completing work orders within an organization. It involves coordinating resources, personnel, and tasks to ensure that jobs are completed accurately, efficiently, and on time. Effective work order management is crucial for maintaining smooth operations, improving productivity, and minimizing downtime in various industries.
Work order management can be done manually using spreadsheets and documents, but many organizations now use dedicated work order management software or computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) to streamline the process, automate tasks, and improve overall efficiency.
Key Principles of Good Work Order Management
To maintain a successful work order management system, organizations should consider the following key principles to ensure optimal results:
- Accuracy: Ensuring that all details in the work order, such as job description, materials, resources, and deadlines, are precise and up-to-date. Accurate information enables effective planning and execution of tasks.
- Collaboration: Encouraging clear communication and teamwork among departments, teams, and individuals involved in the work order. Collaboration helps avoid misunderstandings, reduces errors, and fosters a more efficient workflow.
- Completeness: Make sure that work orders contain all necessary information, including tasks, resources, timelines, and any special instructions. A complete work order provides a comprehensive project picture, allowing for better planning and execution.
- Standardization: Establishing consistent procedures and templates for creating, tracking, and completing work orders. Standardization streamlines the process, reduces confusion, and ensures all parties follow the same guidelines.
- Security: Protecting sensitive information included in work orders, such as client data, proprietary processes, or trade secrets. Implementing security measures like access controls and encryption helps prevent unauthorized access and maintain confidentiality.
- Maintenance: Regularly updating and maintaining work order information to reflect changes in tasks, resources, or timelines. Proper maintenance ensures that everyone involved in the project stays informed and can make adjustments as needed.
- Actionability: Ensuring that work orders are clear, concise, and easy to understand so that team members can quickly identify their responsibilities and take appropriate action. Actionable work orders promote efficiency and minimize delays.
- Flexibility: Allowing for adjustments and modifications to work orders as new information becomes available or circumstances change. Flexibility helps teams adapt to unexpected challenges and keeps projects on track toward successful completion.
By adhering to these principles, organizations can improve their work order management processes, increasing productivity, reducing downtime, and better overall operational efficiency.
How to Create a Work Order? A Step-by-step Walkthrough
Now that you have an overview of work order management and the key principles involved let’s look at how to create an actual work order. The exact steps may vary depending on your organization’s procedures and processes, but in general, this is the process you should follow:
Step 1: Identify the Need for a Work Order
Determine if a work order is required for a specific task, project, or maintenance job. This could be in response to a customer request, equipment malfunction, routine maintenance, or a new project.
Step 2: Gather Relevant Information
Collect all necessary information for the work order, including:
- Job description or scope of work
- Location of the task or project
- Materials and resources required
- Estimated labor hours and personnel needed
- Deadlines or timeframes
- Any special instructions or safety concerns
Step 3: Choose a Work Order Template or System
Select a standard work order template or use a work order management system to create a consistent and organized format for your work orders. This ensures that all relevant details are included and easily accessible.
Step 4: Fill Out the Work Order Details
Using the chosen template or system, input the collected information into the appropriate fields. Ensure that the details are accurate, complete, and presented.
Step 5: Assign Resources and Personnel
Allocate the necessary personnel, materials, and equipment for the task or project. Consider factors such as skill sets, availability, and resource constraints when making assignments.
Step 6: Schedule the Work Order
Determine the timeline for completing the work order, considering deadlines, resource availability, and any dependencies on other tasks or projects. Create a schedule that outlines start and end dates and any milestones or checkpoints.
Step 7: Communicate the Work Order
Share the work order with all relevant parties, including team members, supervisors, and clients (if applicable). Ensure that everyone understands their responsibilities and expectations regarding the project.
Step 8: Track and Monitor Progress
Regularly review the work order’s progress, identify any issues or delays, and make necessary adjustments to keep the project on schedule and within budget. Maintain open communication with all parties involved to address any concerns or changes.
Step 9: Complete and Evaluate the Work Order
Once the task or project is finished, ensure it meets the specified requirements and expectations. Evaluate the results and identify any areas for improvement or lessons learned to inform future work orders. Finally, close the work order and update any relevant records or systems.
Create a Work Order Template Using a Low-code Platform
If your organization needs to create work orders on a regular basis, it is beneficial to use a low-code platform like DATAMYTE. Low-code development enables teams to quickly build and deploy applications without complex coding or manual processes. With DATAMYTE, organizations can leverage built-in tools and templates to design customized work order forms in minutes. You can then use these forms to capture all necessary information, including customer details, resources needed, timelines, special instructions, and more.
DATAMYTE is a quality management platform with low-code capabilities. The DataMyte Digital Clipboard, in particular, is a low-code workflow automation software that features a checklist and smart form builder. This tool lets you create a comprehensive work order template to use and share with your team.
To create a checklist or form template using DATAMYTE, follow these steps:
- Log in to the DATAMYTE software and navigate to the ‘Checklist’ module.
- Click “Create Checklist.”
- Add a title to your template; select the category where it belongs.
- Start adding items to the template by clicking “Add Item.”
- Define the description of each item, what type of answer it requires, and other relevant specifications (e.g., reference documents, acceptance criteria, limits).
- Assign a team member responsible for conducting the inspection using the template.
- Add signature fields for approvals (e.g., supervisors, quality assurance personnel).
- Save the template—you can now access it anywhere, and it will be available on any device.
DATAMYTE also lets you conduct layered process audits, a high-frequency evaluation of critical process steps, focusing on areas with the highest failure risk or non-compliance. Conducting LPA with DATAMYTE lets you effectively identify and correct potential defects before they become major quality issues.
With DATAMYTE, you have an all-in-one solution for creating and implementing work order templates. Book a demo now to learn how DATAMYTE can help you streamline your work order management processes.
Work orders may seem like a simple task, but the process behind them is pretty complex. It requires careful consideration of resources, timelines, and other factors to ensure the job is done correctly and efficiently. Following the steps outlined in this article, you can build and implement a successful work order management system for your business.