Mastering the Work Order Management Process: 6 Essential Steps for Success

Mastering the Work Order Management Process: 6 Essential Steps for Success

Work orders are essential for ensuring preventive maintenance tasks are carried out effectively. When done correctly, accurately created work orders can introduce efficiencies in organisational processes and reduce machine downtime.

To achieve this goal, your maintenance team needs to have a clear work order management process in place. This process should be carefully designed and implemented for more successful outcomes.

In this article, we explain what work order management is and the six crucial steps in the process. Keep reading to find out more.


Mastering the Work Order Management Process: 6 Essential Steps for Success

What Is Work Order Management?

Work order management is an organisational process that approaches multiple and often simultaneous preventive maintenance tasks in a streamlined and efficient way. This is achieved by defining, assigning, tracking and sometimes billing jobs.

To ensure that asset downtime is minimised as much as possible, jobs must be organised systematically by taking into account organisational resources including people, assets, parts and costs.

In the past, legacy and paper-based systems were used for task management. However, today’s technologically advanced landscape allows organisations to digitally manage these jobs through a computerised maintenance management system (CMMS).

A CMMS creates work order management processes that are standardised and structured. It facilitates the smooth transition through different phases, so work orders are carried out on time. This way, critical machinery is always maintained and operational.


6 Steps on How to Manage Work Orders

Managing the work order process can be daunting. It requires exceptional attention to detail and strong organisational skills. Here are six key steps for how to manage jobs efficiently and effectively.

1. Identifying maintenance tasks

scheduling maintenance tasks

The world of manufacturing operations predominantly relies on machines. These need to be maintained regularly for several reasons. Firstly, to ensure that expensive equipment’s warranty remains valid. Secondly, maintenance helps to prevent costly downtime and a slowdown or halt in operations.

In most cases, maintenance managers deal with either unplanned or planned maintenance tasks. Unplanned maintenance is akin to a knee-jerk approach and is reactive. In other words, maintenance is carried out when a machine breaks down and an emergency work order is issued. This is also known as a corrective maintenance work order.

When it comes to planned maintenance, it is carried out proactively or before a machine malfunctions to ensure that all machinery operates smoothly. Since preventive maintenance as part of planned maintenance is one of the main maintenance activities, this is what we’ll focus on.

With this maintenance type, the process of managing tasks begins by identifying what maintenance tasks need to be carried out before a due date. For example, some maintenance tasks may be quite small and include things such as changing oil or lubricants, which can take around 20 minutes.

In other cases, a preventive maintenance task may take place across multiple facilities over several weeks and is, therefore, more time consuming and larger in scope. Identifying these maintenance tasks before an error or breakdown occurs is the first step in the process.

2. Submitting work requests

The second step after maintenance tasks have been identified is to create work order requests. This is done before the work order is created in step three, which is discussed next.

These requests are submitted (usually by machine operators and/or other team members) for review and approval. They can be a part of a regularly scheduled preventive maintenance task or a broader organisational audit.

When submitted for review, these work requests are analysed in terms of scope and details to determine the task's feasibility.

After this, the responsible team member determines what personnel and resources are required to complete the task. If approved, a work request is then converted to a work order.

3. Creating work orders

Creating work orders is the third step in the job process flow. When a work request is finalised and approved, it signals that there is sufficient manpower and resources for the maintenance task to be carried out.

In this creation process, an appointed member of your maintenance team or a supervisor is then responsible for allocating the materials, equipment and staff that will be required to finalise the job. This requires the task to be thoroughly set out.

All the necessary details of the jobs should be included, in addition to the priority level, deadline for completion, resources and materials to be used, which machine or asset will be worked on and who will be responsible.

To streamline the process, work order software helps eliminate unnecessary paperwork and digitises the process through task templates, which determine what type of work order needs to be carried out.

As such, when you have created a new work order and you want to submit it, the relevant team member will receive a notification (often on their smartphone or tablet) so that they know what they need to do, by when and how.

In addition, supervisors can use reminders after trigger-based events occur to schedule and create multiple jobs for their team.

4. Distributing and completing work orders

One of the major benefits of using a CMMS for your process is that you can submit a work task to the right team members. This is essential because each specialist may have different levels of qualifications and training.

Some may be well-suited to more regular maintenance tasks, while others may be more experienced and capable of handling more complex jobs. Strategically assigning tasks through a CMMS is one of the best ways to streamline your processes. That’s because this is done by automatically notifying the relevant person through a mobile or email notification received on their smartphones.

Furthermore, when you know what the capabilities and skill levels of your team are, you can assign those with lower levels of expertise to receive more training during quiet times. You can also onboard them to take on tasks with greater levels of complexity later on to create a constantly evolving workforce.

Once a team member is assigned to a job and they’ve been notified, they then get to work on it within the parameters set out in the specific job order. They should also pay attention to the time frame for the task’s completion, as work orders may have specific deadlines, and note any attached documentation, files or images. The latter can assist them in completing the job on schedule and within budget.

5. Documenting and closing work orders

The next step is to document and close the task. The reason behind this is simple. Documenting helps to note which processes were used, review previous solutions, build asset histories, work according to the organisation’s best practices and to prepare for audits.

Documentation also helps identify if any critical steps were missed to help future technicians know what challenge they are dealing with. After documentation is completed, the task may be considered closed.

This will signal to the relevant parties in your organisation that the order is ready. As such, accounts and financial teams can prepare invoices, if necessary, and ensure compliance requirements are met.

6. Reviewing and analysing work orders

analysis and reporting from CMMS

Scheduled jobs should be reviewed and analysed for many reasons. It’s about capturing valuable information from each order so that you can identify patterns, look for challenging areas and try to optimise your processes.

This can easily be done through work order management software, which gathers data from every work order, allowing you to create reports and study the insights that the data shows you. Ultimately, this will help with decision-making processes to introduce greater efficiencies in your preventive maintenance procedures.

When you study your work orders, you’ll also be able to ensure your machines are in perfect working order and that there is uniformity in terms of how the maintenance work was performed.


Work Order Management Process Optimisation

Going digital is one of the fastest and most secure ways to optimise work order processes. A CMMS is a perfect tool for this because it minimises the need for paperwork, automates the process of assigning tasks and issuing reports, offers centralised data storage and facilitates better asset management and real-time accessibility.

What is more, your team will receive mobile notifications when a work order is ready to be carried out. Overall, a CMMS is the answer for organisations seeking to streamline their operations, reduce downtime and its associated costs, and introduce efficiencies that would otherwise not be possible.


Fabrico’s Work Order System: Assign Maintenance Tasks Easily

If you are looking for the right CMMS solution for your organisation, Fabrico is the answer. Just a few of the benefits to enjoy after implementing it in your operations include:

  • Dashboard: Fabrico’s dashboard enables you to see every task that needs to be carried out, is being carried out or has been completed.
  • Work cards: Work cards can be viewed and created in real time so that you know who is working on what and when.
  • Work schedules: These can be prepared and combined to give you a total overview of which team members from various teams are assigned to a particular task during the day, week or month.
  • Machines: These can be inventoried by title, code, location, responsible technician and other criteria for easier management.
  • Inventory: Your spare parts inventory is visible at a glance with minimum quantity levels, stock, storing, expected deliveries, revisions and common nomenclatures.
  • Reports: Reports are a key feature of Fabrico’s CMMS. You can view analytics, repair history by machine or task, downtime, employee efficiency, annual preventive maintenance plan and task materials.
  • Administration: This functionality enables you to give user rights to specific team members and to limit access to staff that do not require access to some of the platform’s functionalities.

If you want to improve maintenance operations and enjoy all the perks of a reputable and industry-leading CMMS, get in touch with Fabrico today. 

From task management and work cards to machines, inventory and reporting, all your needs are covered seamlessly on one platform.


Work orders are the lifeblood of your preventive maintenance operations and management. An efficient task management process is necessary for businesses that seek to remain competitive.

Choosing the digital route over paper trails by implementing a CMMS is essential. That’s why we encourage you to consider Fabrico’s CMMS as you look to streamline your processes and reduce costly downtime.


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