A hand writing the words "work order" with a marker to represent the concept of work order management with a CMMS

Imagine you are in charge of maintenance at your facility. You might record information such as work orders, inventory counts, and purchase orders on paper or as entries in a spreadsheet. Flipping through pages or scanning spreadsheet columns to find information is not efficient. If you are the only person with access to this information, your team of maintenance technicians won’t know what jobs must be done and when.

For example, they may not know when a vehicle needs a new filter, which parts are required for quarterly adjustments on an essential machine, or what special tools to use on the job. When you’re not tracking inventory levels of crucial parts, you run out of them when you need them most, causing costly downtimes.

You quickly discover that relying on your gut to schedule maintenance work doesn’t distribute the workload evenly among your team of technicians. This causes staff to either be underutilized and wasting time or frantically scrambling to complete jobs that were forgotten or assigned too late. Usually, manual work order management causes maintenance departments to frequently fluctuate between these two states.

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) can organize and manage all of these important tasks, helping reduce costs, waste, and downtime.

What is Work Order Management?

Work order management is the proper and timely processing of work orders to minimize asset downtime. It involves reviewing and approving requests for service, creating both scheduled preventive maintenance and unscheduled corrective maintenance work orders, closing completed work orders in a timely manner, and tracking work order status.

Learn more about the work order management process

When Work Order Management is Disorganized

As we mentioned earlier, managing work orders manually (without CMMS software) can be stressful and disorganized. When you only have pen and paper, spreadsheet software (to record information and keep records of tasks), and email trails to rely on, it can be difficult to plan and assign work orders efficiently. If you have to compile information from multiple files and systems to execute, make notes on, and check the status of work orders, that can be time consuming and confusing. This leads to employees being underutilized or overworked—which is no good for morale, or your bottom line.

In order to achieve an organized process and take full control of your work orders, you need to use a CMMS to manage work orders. Work order management is the most used function of CMMS software—despite other functionalities such as inventory and reporting, 75% of organizations that use a CMMS focus on using the software for work orders.

Without a place to digitally coordinate maintenance management resource, part, and tool availability, the successful execution of work orders is often dependent on guesswork. You may know a machine needs a new exhaust fan, but short of word of mouth, you have no way to confirm if a technician is available to perform the maintenance, the correct part is in inventory, or if the appropriate tools will be accessible.

It can also be difficult to estimate the time it takes to complete jobs. When there is no way to digitally log labor hours on site as jobs are completed, historical data may be difficult to access, leading to inaccuracies in estimating the time required to complete a maintenance task.

How CMMS Software Improves Work Order Management

There are many benefits of using CMMS software for work order management. With the ability to schedule tasks according to asset, resource, and part availability, you’ll know in advance what to do, when the work can be done, and who will do the job.

This leads to the ability to prioritize jobs. For example, before a hotel’s busy upcoming weekend, it may be important to change the pool chemicals, but repainting a wall in the kitchen can wait a few weeks. With work order software, you can schedule both of those jobs at once, but ensure the pool maintenance work order is set to activate first and the priority is set to high. Work orders can also be set to automatically print and/or be delivered via email at the same time the job is activated.

You’ll also be able to create a work order history so you can see reoccurring problems that arise, trends in repairs, and more. This information will help you to see what works and what doesn’t so you can make adjustments to improve your maintenance management over time.

Finally, many software products offer mobile accessibility, allowing you to create, view, and close work orders from the job site using a mobile device. That way, important details don’t get missed or forgotten by having to enter the data later. Attachments such as blueprints or manuals can be viewed on location in case the technician needs to refer to them.

FTMaintenance Work Order Software

FTMaintenance helps you manage your corrective and preventive maintenance work orders. Work orders are the central focus of FTMaintenance, with many other areas of information tying into and leading from information stored in work orders. FTMaintenance uses a very simple work order creation and closure process. It only takes a few clicks to create, update, and close a work order, and the software is very intuitive. FTMaintenance makes creating and closing a work order as fast and easy as possible. Take a tour of FTMaintenance to learn more about how our software can make your work order management easier.