What is a work order?

If you’re in Maintenance, Operations, or Quality Department, this is probably one of the terms you hear most often throughout the day: work order. Considered the engine of maintenance operations, work orders are essential to the maintenance management of any organization. In this article, we’ll explain what a work order is and how you can be more efficient managing them.


What is a work order?


A work order (WO) is a digital or paper document that describes a maintenance task and provides all the necessary information – such as location, skill requirements, tools needed – to perform it.


Often, work orders are directly related to maintenance requests. Once a request has been reviewed and approved by the maintenance manager, a work order is issued to perform the work.


Although a work order and a maintenance request look similar, these documents have some fundamental differences. A maintenance request can be submitted by anyone in the company and consists, for example, of a work order for equipment that is out of order. Later, this request is validated by the maintenance manager, who adds information and assigns the task to a technician. Thus, a maintenance request becomes a work order.


In addition to the details present in the maintenance order, if applicable, a work order should contain the following information:


  • Task description;
  • Name of requesting department or person;
  • Expected completion date;
  • Name of the technician or team that is to perform the task (internal or external);
  • Location of the activity;
  • Requirements and tools to complete the task.


What are the different types of work orders?


There are several types of work orders, ranging from inspections to repairs. The following are the most commonly used:


  • Preventive maintenance work order – Preventive work orders (or preventive maintenance) are scheduled jobs to avoid breakdowns or unexpected downtime on assets. These work orders include instructions, checklists, and notes for each task. They are usually scheduled on the calendar to ensure that the maintenance task is performed within a certain time frame.
  • Inspections – An inspection is a work order in which the maintenance technician audits or inspects the condition of a piece of equipment. This is usually based on a predetermined period of time, similar to preventive maintenance work orders. During an inspection, a maintenance technician may identify a problem and then create a new work order to correct that problem.
  • Emergency work order – This is generated when a malfunction occurs on a critical asset that needs to be repaired immediately. The maintenance technician can add details to the work order, such as why the asset broke down unexpectedly, what maintenance work was performed, and information on how to prevent this breakdown from recurring.
  • Corrective maintenance work orders – A corrective work order is generated when a technician detects a problem with the asset while performing preventive maintenance tasks, inspections, or emergencies. Corrective maintenance consists of repairing or replacing a piece of equipment or parts of a piece of equipment. to return it to its original function. Unlike emergency OT, corrective maintenance is planned and scheduled once the failure/malfunction has been identified in time.
  • Safety – Work orders that prevent the risk of accidents and serious damage and ensure the safety of the spaces, such as repairs to prevent falls or cleaning to prevent exposure to hazardous chemicals.



How can CMMS software help you be more efficient managing work orders?


Traditionally, work orders were created on paper, but in reality, most companies have now digitized the process of managing maintenance work orders. By digitizing this process, through maintenance software such as Valuekeep, you can achieve several advantages compared to paper-based management. Below, we highlight some of them.


More efficiency and higher productivity


First of all, digital work orders are more efficient than paper ones. The digital format makes everything easier, since all the information needed to perform the task can be included and technicians can access them using their smartphone or tablet, thus increasing the productivity of the teams and the loss of information.


More reliable and accessible data in real-time

Easy access to digital work orders makes data visible to any employee in real time. In addition, it is possible to generate reports on them and draw conclusions about the maintenance department’s performance.


Easier job planning


Accessibility to data in real time and anywhere also makes it easier to plan maintenance work. Since all information is centralized in the software, it is quick and easy to generate work orders from submitted maintenance requests. In addition, tasks such as listing skill requirements, tools needed, scheduling schedules, and attaching checklists to TOs, is much more streamlined and simple when done digitally.


In addition, this digitization of work orders allows you to quickly obtain important metrics to make decision-making faster and smarter.


Undoubtedly, it is easier to register and manage work orders with the support of a digital platform than on paper. Maintenance management software (CMMS) stores information about assets, work orders, controls inventory, and even allows you to link work orders to more than one asset.


Finally, the fact is cloud and mobile software allows you to create, monitor, edit and analyze tasks in real-time and anywhere. Technicians can carry all the information about work orders, assets, and historials in their pockets and also are notified in real-time whenever a new work order is assigned.



Find out how Valuekeep can help you be more efficient and centralize all work orders in one platform!

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