Creating Effective Maintenance Work Orders
Do you know the game called Telephone? If you don't, the game involves passing information verbally from person to person. The information is delivered once, loud enough that only the person next in line can hear the message.
It is a relatively simple game, but the outcome shows something significant. If you have played the game, you'd realize how easily information is lost or misconstrued as it passes from person to person, especially when it is long or complex.
In maintenance management, there can be no gaps in communication. All information must be clear and communicated effectively. One way to achieve this is through the written word.
Written communications like work orders constitute the heart of any maintenance management system. Without it, chaos can ensue with maintenance teams performing the wrong task on a particular job, confusion on who does what and when, or failing to show up for another.
What is a Work Order?
A work order is a written communication outlining a task's details before work begins. It clearly explains the job that requires completion, the person or employee responsible for completing it, and how long it would take to complete the task.
Other details included are names of team members or other employees involved in the task, who authorized the work, and the expectations upon completion.
Work order is a valuable tool standard in maintenance management across industries. It helps manage maintenance operations and ensure that equipment functions optimally. It can also come in handy for maintenance teams, asset managers, and mechanics during follow-up actions, from inspections to audits.
The primary purpose of a work order is to organize information and assist personnel carrying out preventive and corrective maintenance quickly, efficiently, safely, and consistently across the organization.
Importance of a Work Order
Work order allows for a streamlined and seamless service workflow. This has multiple benefits, which include:
- - Improves Employee Efficiency
When employees and contractors know their tasks, they tend to come prepared with the right tools, materials, or supplies. This eliminates the chances of multiple job-site trips, saving money and time wasted waiting for supplies. A standardized process leads to improved clarity resulting in quality work done.
- - Data Management
A work order provides a plethora of essential information for use. This information ranges from the task at hand to the entire standard maintenance process. A detailed work log ensures quick resolution of identical problems and diminishes recurring issues. Where solutions fail, analysis of these data is essential in ascertaining the flaw in the maintenance process.
- - Proper Workflow Organization
Work order allows for good record keeping. This will enable the appropriate scheduling of tasks, supervision, and completion in record time, providing clients with a professional and excellent experience both on the job and in the office. A well-organized workflow ensures strong team communication and keeps them focused and on the ball. It also ensures that important tasks are dealt with urgently and diligently.
Succinctly, an effective work order results in better communication, leading to increased customer satisfaction, employee efficiency, and a potential increase in profit margins.
Types of Work Orders
There are multiple types of work orders used in facility management. They are usually categorized under the following type of maintenance.
- - Corrective Maintenance
These are work orders generated when assets are approaching failure. It generally occurs while conducting preventive maintenance, inspection, or reactive maintenance.
- - Preventive Maintenance
These are work orders generated for routine maintenance. It ensures that equipment remains in optimal condition and assets enjoy prolonged existence. This work order includes resource requirements, instructions, checklists, and notes on each task.
- - Reactive Maintenance
These work orders are used to track and record unscheduled work resulting from a sudden breakdown of equipment or facility failure that renders the environment unsafe. The work order often includes the cause of failure, the repair procedures, and preventive measures for future avoidance.
- - General work order
A General or standard work order is for maintenance tasks that pose no immediate threat or risk to facilities, equipment, systems, or components. General work orders are suitable for maintenance tasks that do not fall within the above categories. It can include new equipment set-up, removal of old equipment, painting, etc.
How to Create an Effective Work Order
Every good work order must have a standard operating procedure. It is the baseline for every job creation, review, and optimization. Below are some of the foundations of an effective work order
- 1. Collect General Information of the Task
An effective work order should contain general information about the maintenance task. It is vital as it allows facility managers to sort out the appropriate technicians or custodians based on the priority or difficulty of the job. The general information includes the type of maintenance, trade type (HVAC, plumbing, electrical, fire safety, custodial, and so on), priority, and estimated hours for completion.
General information usually resides at the top of the work order.
- 2. Identify Assets in Need of Repair
The asset in need of repair must be identified and recorded. The information should include the location and details like floor, room number, asset name, etc.
- 3. Additional Information
Because each asset is unique, it is imperative that the next section contains details about the assets. Information like asset ID, category of equipment, type of equipment, make, model and manufacturer, and serial numbers are essential for this section.
- 4. Work Order Description
This is where the operation procedures and protocols are listed based on the incoming service request. It is one of the essential aspects of a work order as it provides instructions on what to do in each task. It includes but is not limited to lock-out procedures, inspection protocols, filter changes, cleaning instructions, and bearing inspections.
- 5. Log Summary and Closing Remarks
Many employees would confirm task completion, sign out, and call it a day on this one. However, this section involves more detailed descriptions than that. The log summary and closing remarks should contain information from maintenance personnel. The information should include the action taken to accomplish the task, helpful notes vital for future reference, the cost of materials used, the hours put into the task, the date of completion, the name of the person that did the job, and the approval signature of the administrator.
From Paper to Clicks — Create Your Work Order with Snapfix
As fun as it is to inhale the scent of fresh paper or ink at work, many troubles are associated with paper-based, whiteboard, bullet boards, and spreadsheet-based asset maintenance. For one, there is a limit to their capabilities, with functions like comprehensive scheduling, automatic work order generation, automated notifications, and reporting lacking with these systems. Secondly, it is difficult to sort through months of work orders to find a simple but crucial solution to a particular problem.
This is why Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) software is a much better option, and choosing the right one is just as crucial. Admittedly, transitioning from a paper-based to a CMMS requires a learning curve many don't appreciate. Over 75% of companies still rely on traditional methods due to difficulty with flexibility and ease of use.
CMMS should work for you and not you working for it. Snapfix goes one further. It creates a synergy that allows almost no learning curve to use while still offering you total flexibility and control.
Lauded as the most straightforward facilities and maintenance management platform in the world, Snapfix allows you to manage your buildings, projects, and teams in three easy steps.
- 1. Snap
- 2. Track
- 3. Done
It can't be that simple, can it? Yes, it can, and it is. Say Bye-bye to chasing after e-mails, post-its, and phone calls. With Snapfix, a simple photo or video will suffice to get things in motion.
No more paperwork; anyone can easily report issues, and all team members will receive the notification. As a manager, Snapfix allows you to stay on top of things with effective organization that includes features such as grouping, tags, and priority options. You can schedule periodic tasks with a checklist and ensure all equipment maintenance and inspections proceed consistently and promptly from the comfort of your cell phone, tabs, and any other integration you desire.
Discover all the capabilities of Snapfix today!