Work Order Tracking

Tracking work orders is an essential aspect of work order management, and it becomes immensely more efficient with the help of tracking software. 

Work orders are the centerpiece of an effective maintenance program. Once a work order request is initiated, it triggers a set of tasks and workflows that drive maintenance operations. Creating the work order is just the first step. 

However, a maintenance team can quickly become inundated with work orders if they don’t have a proper system for tracking them. In this article, we’ll dive into some helpful tips and best practices for tracking work orders, along with some valuable tools and resources. 

Work order workflow

Before completely revamping a work order tracking system, it’s helpful to understand the work order process. How do work orders go from service requests to completed tasks?

Three people are typically involved in this process: the work requestor (a machine operator or employee), the work approver (manager), and the person performing the maintenance tasks (technician). 

The work order workflow follows these individuals. Here’s a simple overview of what that process looks like. 

  1. The requestor submits a maintenance request for a piece of equipment they work with. 
  2. The approver reviews the request and, if approved, creates the work order. 
  3. The work order is then passed along to the maintenance technician and worked into their maintenance schedule. 
  4. The technician performs the maintenance work and closes out the work order. 

When a company uses tools like a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) to manage this process, it also provides notifications to all involved parties along the way. Not only does this improve communication, but it also provides for a more streamlined process without the risk of duplicate work orders. 

How do maintenance teams track work orders? 

Maintenance teams across various facility types use different processes to track their work orders. A few common methods include: 

  1. Handwritten paper orders: Some companies use documents where they handwrite each detail of the work order and require handwritten signatures from the approving party before getting started. These can quickly pile up, go missing, and become a monster to keep organized. 
  2. Spreadsheets and online documents: Many companies use Excel or Google Sheets to track work order task approval and completion. Spreadsheets are more organized and easily shared than handwritten notes but can quickly become a mess if not regularly updated. 
  3. Work order management software: Many more companies use work order software or similar programs designed to help track work orders. These tools make it easy to keep all work order information in one place, notify team members, and stick to a schedule so operations run smoothly. 

No matter the size of the company, it’s difficult to stay organized and competitive without using digital methods for work order tracking and maintenance management. These tools help organizations streamline maintenance tasks, improve production, improve employee safety, and ultimately save time and money. 

More tips for optimizing work order management

In line with moving to a digital work order management system, organizations should keep these best practices in mind to improve overall maintenance performance: 

  • Define goals: Determine specific maintenance goals and KPIs that you want to reach within the scope of work order management (i.e., completing a set number of work orders each week or reaching your MTTR and MTBF goals).
  • Train employees: Whenever a company changes its maintenance processes, it is essential to ensure all staff involved are trained sufficiently. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) should be updated, and personnel should have easy access to any resources or guidance on the new process. Also, be sure that each person understands their areas of responsibility. 
  • Organize effectively: While a digital platform enhances organization, it’s still important for managers to  organize their maintenance department for success from setting up their digital system with the right categories, equipment, and information to making sure that their technicians have everything they need to carry out the work order. 
  • Create work order templates: Many work order tracking software systems come with the ability to create templates. In maintenance work, the same task is often needed over and over again – so creating templates provides a more efficient process than starting from scratch each time. Explore our completely free maintenance templates & checklists library if you’re starting from scratch.don’t have anything setup yet. 
  • Track progress: Maintenance managers can, and should, track the progress of their work orders. With digital platforms, this becomes simple, and managers can intervene if they see a critical task falling behind. 
  • Use mobile apps: Choose software that has mobile CMMS capabilities. Managers can submit a mobile work order, and every team member with the work order app on their phone or tablet remains up to date on work order progress in real-time. 
  • Analyze performance metrics: Most work order software solutions can track performance (i.e. how long it took to complete a task, how long a piece of equipment was down, and more), so managers can review and determine what improvements they need to make in their processes. 

Benefits of automated work order tracking

Automated work order tracking, facilitated by cutting-edge digital platforms, revolutionizes work order management and improves program efficiency. Embracing this advanced approach brings a ton of advantages, ensuring a streamlined and effective maintenance workflow

Improved resource spend

Using work order management software gives managers a better overview of their inventory management and resource spend. Automated systems offer real-time visibility of the resources maintenance teams use and how much they spend on them. 

Better productivity

Automated work order systems help maintenance managers prioritize critical work requests, reducing the risk of breakdowns, decreasing downtime, and enhancing overall productivity. 

Plus, when technicians receive automated notifications for new or regularly scheduled maintenance work orders that include checklists and steps, it is easier to complete work orders effectively and on time. 

Better collaboration capabilities

Automated software provides a centralized platform for maintenance teams to track work orders and communicate with one another. With cloud-based data and mobile device access, technicians and managers alike can check on work order status and update work orders in real-time. 

Unmatched performance tracking

With access to maintenance history and equipment data, automated tracking systems provide powerful capabilities for analyzing equipment and employee performance. This helps managers stick to goals and allows them to gain insights into improvements that can enhance performance. 

Integrations with other systems

A good automated work order tracking system can integrate with the other systems and organization uses – like asset management systems, communication and project management platforms, calendars, and more. 

CMMS platforms and work order tracking

CMMS platforms offer plenty of ways to automate and optimize work order tracking. Using this software helps companies across many industries streamline their maintenance operations, from work order management to their entire maintenance strategy. 

Here are a few ways a CMMS can help: 

  • Create customizable work order requests to gather all necessary information
  • Automated assignment of work orders, with instructions, synced across employee devices
  • Automatic updates on work requests to reduce back and forth communication
  • See technician workload, location, and productivity
  • Facilitate preventive maintenance planning and evaluation
  • Send and receive instant communication between team members
  • Collect metrics like MTTR and MTBF by completing work orders
  • Calculate asset maintenance costs, including parts and labor expenses
  • Create custom KPI dashboards

Get started today

Don’t wait to transform your work order process. Schedule a demo with Limble CMMS to get started today. Operational efficiency awaits!

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