Master the Chaos!

It seems like only yesterday that we were squeezing our way through crowded stores filled with eager shoppers looking for the perfect gift to delight their loved ones in the coming year. This was a normal sight, with customers crowding the checkout counters in the hopes of making a quick purchase. To ensure the store ran smoothly, a sophisticated work order management system was in place. As soon as a customer made their selection, the sales associate entered the order into the system, which then dispatched it to the stockroom for processing. The staff had access to every detail, including product specifications and packaging instructions, ensuring each order was handled with care and precision. Once ready, the system marked the order as complete and the customer was promptly notified that their purchase was ready for pickup or delivery. This meticulous and optimized process not only provided excellent customer service but also increased efficiency and reduced errors, leading to greater customer satisfaction and profitability during the thrilling new year holiday season.

What is a Work Order?

A work order is a document used by businesses, organizations, and professionals to track and manage task or project completion. It typically includes information such as the job description, the person or team in charge of completing the work, the completion timeline, and any materials or resources required to complete the work.

For example, a maintenance technician at a manufacturing plant might receive a work order to repair a piece of machinery. A blueprint for the specific issue is required for the repair to be completed, which includes minute details such as the issue with the machinery, the expected timeline for the job to be completed, and the parts or appropriate tools for its completion.

Work orders are commonly used in industries such as manufacturing, construction, healthcare, and facilities management and can be created manually or electronically. They aid in ensuring that tasks are completed in a timely manner, and that everyone involved in the project understands what needs to be done and when.

Just as there are different tools for different jobs, there are also different monikers for work orders across various industries. From service requests to service orders, each industry has its own unique terminology to describe the task at hand.

Types of Work orders

Having a game plan is essential for a skilled maintenance man tasked with fixing things around the house. Work orders can be extremely helpful in this regard. There are five major types to consider: general work orders, preventive maintenance work orders, inspection work orders, emergency work orders, and corrective maintenance work orders. Each type is intended for a specific purpose, so selecting the correct one for the job at hand is critical. Whether it’s routine maintenance or an unexpected emergency, choosing the right work order can make all the difference in getting the job done efficiently and effectively.

Standard Work Order

Maintenance tasks are not always essentially characterized as “preventive” or “corrective”. That’s where the general work order comes in, providing a versatile and adaptable solution for a wide range of maintenance requirements. Whether it’s installing new equipment or retiring old machinery, the general work order can handle a variety of tasks, including painting and other small or large jobs. Essentially, it is a versatile maintenance tool that can handle a variety of tasks effectively.

Preventive Maintenance Work Order

When it comes to asset preservation, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Preventive maintenance is similar to anticipating potential equipment failures by scheduling routine maintenance before problems arise. This can prevent unexpected downtime and save a lot of time, effort, and resources in the long run, much like the saying “a stitch in time saves nine”.

One approach to maintenance is to strike a balance between waiting for equipment to completely fail before repairing it (a practice known as “running-to-failure”) and attempting to predict and prevent problems before they occur (known as “predictive maintenance”). These work orders include everything you need for each task, such as resource requirements, checklists, instructions, and notes. They’re also scheduled to keep your maintenance on track at specific intervals, so you don’t miss a beat.

Inspection Work Order

An inspection work order is similar to a scheduled check-up for your assets, which maintenance technicians perform to ensure they are in optimal condition. It’s similar to going to the dentist, but for your equipment.

During an inspection, the technician may spot a potential issue and create a new work order to address it. Think of it like discovering a cavity during a dental check-up: if left untreated, it could lead to bigger problems later on. The technician can prevent the problem from becoming more severe and ensure your assets continue to operate at their best by detecting it early and creating a new work order.

Reactive / emergency Work Order

Assuming the role of a machinery maintenance supervisor in a manufacturing plant, if a critical machine suddenly fails and halts production, an emergency work order would be generated to initiate immediate repair.

This work order would include details on the cause of the breakdown, the maintenance procedures performed, and recommendations for preventing future occurrences as the maintenance technician performs reactive maintenance on the faulty machine. This information would be available in real time, allowing the rest of the maintenance team to monitor the progress of the repairs and anticipate any potential issues.

Corrective maintenance

Prevention is key when it comes to equipment maintenance, but even the best-laid plans of mice and men can go awry. In this context, creating corrective maintenance work orders on time can be advantageous, as being proactive can lead to better results. During routine inspections, technicians may discover a flaw, or AI tools may sound the alarm. In any case, these work orders are a stitch in time that saves nine by addressing new faults before they become larger issues. These work orders cover everything from repairing or replacing worn-out parts to repairing damage. In addition, unlike emergency work orders, corrective maintenance work orders can be scheduled to ensure your equipment is in good working order.

What is Work Order Management?

Work order management, in the context of maintenance management, refers to a systematic approach to processing and completing maintenance work orders in a timely manner in order to minimize asset downtime. When a maintenance issue arises, a work order is generated that details the specific tasks needed to resolve the issue.

However, completing a work order is more complicated than simply assigning a maintenance worker to the task. The completion of a work order in a timely manner is dependent on the availability of various maintenance resources, such as assets, spare parts, skilled workers, and funding.

Efficient work order management ensures that all necessary resources are available when required, allowing operations to run smoothly while minimizing downtime. Work order management is thus critical in ensuring that assets are always maintained and operational.

Importance of Work Order Management

Initially, maintenance teams kept track work assignments using manual paper-based work orders. However, as technology has advanced, it is clear that this antiquated method is more of a hindrance than a help.

Paper-based work orders frequently result in illegible handwriting, misplaced documents, and cluttered file cabinets, which cause confusion and errors. Some teams have attempted to improve by switching to spreadsheets, but this comes with its own set of issues, such as limited accessibility and the need to print orders.

As organizations continue to grow and prioritize efficiency, it becomes clear that these antiquated methods simply cannot meet the demands of a modern maintenance department. It’s time to embrace technology’s advantages and shift towards more efficient and effective work order management solutions.

Work Order Management Process

Work order management is similar to the chess strategist who brings together all of the various pieces of maintenance operations into one cohesive process to ensure tasks are completed efficiently and effectively. The following steps are involved in the process:

Work Request Approval

Let’s understand this with an example of a busy office where everyone is working hard to meet deadlines and complete projects. An employee notices a problem with their computer all of a sudden” with “All of a sudden, an employee notices a problem with their computer. Perhaps it is running slowly or is unable to connect to the internet. They require IT assistance to resolve the problem, but how do they obtain it?

The Work Request Approval process comes into play here. The employee submits a work request to IT, detailing the issue they’re having. This request is then forwarded to the relevant manager for approval. Once approved, the work request is converted into a work order, which details the specific tasks needed to resolve the issue.

The work order is then assigned to a technician, who uses it as a guide to resolve the problem. When the work is finished, the technician updates the work order with notes on what was done as well as any parts or materials used.

Work Order Creation

Creating a work order is similar to laying a solid foundation for a house. It entails gathering all necessary information about the maintenance task at hand and outlining clear instructions for the maintenance team to follow. By creating a well-crafted work order, everyone involved in the maintenance operation has a clear understanding of what needs to be done, ensuring a positive outcome and a satisfied customer. When a CRM system can do so much, why not create a work order?


Prioritizing work orders is an important part of the work order management process because it involves determining the significance of each maintenance task. It’s similar to playing Tetris strategically , where each block represents a maintenance task that must be completed.

Prioritizing tasks based on their urgency and impact on operations can make or break the success of a maintenance operation, just as it does in Tetris, where the order in which you place blocks determines how successful you are. The most critical tasks can be completed first by ranking them in order of importance, preventing equipment failure and safety hazards. The deployment of a CRM software with a help desk will be extremely beneficial when prioritizing work orders.


Scheduling in work order management is akin to assembling a finely tuned orchestra, with each member playing their part at the appropriate time and location. Assigning the right technician with the right skills to each task, ensuring the availability of necessary resources and equipment, and balancing the urgency of each task with the available time and resources are all part of it.

It entails orchestrating various maintenance tasks to ensure smooth and efficient operation, much like an orchestra conductor coordinates the various instruments to create a harmonious sound. This necessitates meticulous attention to detail as well as the ability to balance competing priorities. Why not deploy a CRM help desk and schedule when scheduling is so important?


In the context of digital marketing, assigning tasks in the work order management process is akin to assembling a digital marketing team to execute a successful campaign.

Each work order may necessitate a different set of skills, just as a digital marketing campaign necessitates a diverse set of skills, such as content creation, graphic design, and social media management. A work order to design a landing page, for example, may necessitate the use of a graphic designer, whereas a work order to write a blog post may necessitate the use of a content writer.

In digital marketing, assigning work orders necessitates careful consideration of each team member’s skills and experience. A task can be completed more efficiently and effectively if a work order is assigned to a team member who specializes in a specific skill. Now, this assignment can be done with the help of a CRM system like Apptivo.

Estimation & Approval

Field service personnel are occasionally caught off guard when they require additional work or parts to complete their assigned tasks. This can be a difficult nut to crack because they must jump through several hoops to obtain the necessary approvals and requisition the necessary parts. A Work Order Management System, on the other hand, can make this process a bit easier. It can provide a reasonable estimate for the additional work or parts required and send it to the appropriate people for approval. When given the go-ahead, the system can even pull out all the stops and begin the requisition process. This makes the entire work order management process run like clockwork, eliminating delays and increasing overall workflow efficiency.


The execution stage of the work order management process is where the rubber meets the road; it is where all of the planning and preparation pay off. The maintenance team goes into action at this point, completing the tasks assigned to them in a timely and efficient manner.

Consider it like a pilot getting ready to take off: once all of the pre-flight checks and protocols are completed, it’s time to hit the runway and put the plan into action. Similarly, execution in work order management involves adhering to the plan and completing tasks in accordance with the established timeline and priority.

Eventually, this is the key moment at which maintenance work orders transform from a theoretical plan to concrete actions that improve equipment reliability and safety, reduce downtime, and keep operations running smoothly.


Documentation in the work order management process entails recording and tracking all information related to maintenance tasks, ensuring accurate and detailed documentation for future reference. It’s similar to keeping a maintenance diary that keeps track of all maintenance activities and their outcomes.

This work order documentation includes information such as the work order number, task description, technician assigned, date and time of completion, and any materials used. It aids in tracking the maintenance history of equipment, identifying recurring issues, and evaluating the effectiveness of maintenance strategies.

Example- Consider a hotel that uses a work order management system to track maintenance tasks for all of its communal areas. Now, when a work order is created for a faulty air conditioner in a guest room, the technician assigned to the task will document the details of their visit, including the steps taken to resolve the problem and any parts replaced. This data is then entered into the work order management system, allowing future technicians to easily access the unit’s maintenance history and make informed decisions about future repairs.


The closure phase of the Work Order Management process can be likened to reaching the finish line of a marathon. It’s the final step in a journey that involves many stages and necessitates dedication, attention to detail, and perseverance.

Closure involves documenting the work that has been completed and ensuring that all necessary tasks have been performed to the highest standard. It also involves communicating the status of the work order to all relevant stakeholders, including the maintenance team, management, and customers.

Like crossing the finish line in a marathon, closure is a moment of accomplishment and satisfaction, which marks the successful completion of a task.

Benefits of work order management system

Work order management can provide numerous advantages to businesses and organizations, including:

Improved efficiency

A well-structured work order management system allows a company to assign tasks to the appropriate personnel and prioritize them based on urgency. This results in faster task completion and higher productivity. With this system in place, a company can accomplish more with fewer resources, allowing for a more streamlined and efficient workflow. Finally, better use of time and resources leads to greater levels of success and growth for the company.

Enhanced transparency

Let’s understand through an example. A construction company that uses a work order management system to manage their various projects. The system enables them to track the progress of each task in real time and provide clients with a clear picture of the status of their projects. For example, if the company is erecting a tower, the system can provide up-to-date information on the completion of each phase of the project, such as the pouring of concrete or the installation of electrical wiring. This level of transparency enables the customer to stay informed at every stage of the process and address any concerns as soon as they arise. Henceforth, companies can provide better customer service, increase client satisfaction, and complete projects on time and within budget.

Better communication

A work order management system can significantly benefit a landscaping business by streamlining daily operations and ensuring task completion on time. When a client requests lawn mowing services, the system can assign the task to a team member who is available and nearby, ensuring that the request is met efficiently. When the task is finished, the team member can update the system in real-time, allowing the client and management to monitor the progress. The company can provide better service to their clients, optimize their workflow, and increase overall productivity with this level of transparency and automation.


“Time is money,” said Benjamin Franklin, a famous American businessman and author. This sentiment holds true for businesses looking to optimize their operations and save money.

Example– Assume a car parts manufacturing company, and one of its machines on the production line is a robotic arm that welds metal parts together. If the arm breaks down unexpectedly, it could take several hours to repair, costing the factory thousands of dollars in lost production and repair costs. However, by scheduling regular maintenance for the robotic arm through a work order management system, the factory can prevent the arm from breaking down in the first place and avoid costly downtime.

Enhanced accuracy

“What gets measured gets managed,” said the great management consultant Peter Drucker. Businesses can track their progress towards completing tasks in an organized and efficient manner using a work order management system. This system provides a clear and structured approach to task completion, which can help businesses in a variety of industries improve their accuracy and productivity.

How to improve your work order with a well-built system?

Let’s understand this entire thing through a simple example. A company into transportation business that specializes in shipping products to different destinations. In this industry, there are countless tasks that need to be completed, such as organizing shipments, tracking inventory, and managing logistics. Without a well-built work order management system, it can be challenging to prioritize tasks, assign them to the right people, and ensure everything is completed on time. By implementing a work order management system, the transportation company can streamline their workflow, minimize downtime, and ultimately provide better service to their customers.


Work order management is like the game plan for any business. It involves creating, assigning, and tracking tasks so that everything runs like clockwork. With a work order management system, you can keep everyone in the loop and make sure that things get done on time and done right. Whether you’re running a hospital, an online store, a restaurant, or anything in between, a work order management system is like your secret weapon for success. So go ahead, invest in one and watch your business thrive!

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