Work Order Management: Best Practices That Save You Time
We know how it feels. Work orders are piling and you can’t find the paperwork with the details of your last visit, or you’re not sure where the equipment you need is, or you’re guessing how long repairs will take based on the last time your technicians checked in. Work order management is how governments and private businesses keep things running. It’s an intricate process that involves many departments, exact scheduling, all with the flexibility to account for issues that arise on the job.
Most companies would agree that their work order management is either disorganized or needs some ironing out to increase efficiency, cut costs, and save time. Here are some of the best practices you can adopt to change the way you think about work management.
Train Employees on How to Identify Problems
Take the time to train staff on how to identify and classify problems accurately and with confidence. Designing a set process for how to manage assets and work orders will help all staff make the right calls at the right time and doing this type of training when an employee is hired will speed up the onboarding process.
Staff needs to be able to determine which work orders are most urgent in order to schedule and keep technicians focused on issues of high importance. Also, understanding how to identify trends or problems before they escalate can help to reduce average work time and additional equipment costs.
All Requests Must Begin with a Work Order
The act of cutting corners happens in just about every business. Busy employees decide to complete small requests on top of other work orders to save time, managers decide to tack on follow-ups if they are in the vicinity of another repair. In order to stop these habits from forming it needs to be enforced that all projects have an associated work order. Setting up a standardized process for every type of request – from broken light bulbs to road repairs – helps your work order system remain reliable and cohesive.
Switch from Paper to Digital
No more searching for missing files and stop with all the manual administration and paperwork. Not only is this time consuming but this outdated method can be easily updated with a variety of digital options. Consider this: no more lost papers, missed signatures, or forgotten assignments. With work order management software, you can simply generate and track orders and feel confident that nothing is missed or lost along the way.
A study by Salesforce, of over 550 companies that use some kind of maintenance management software, saw an approximate 20 percent reduction in equipment downtime and materials costs. There are a variety of software options of all price points and different add on features, so finding one that meets your specific business needs is simple.
Use Work Orders to Track Inventory
Common work orders include details on individuals performing repair or maintenance, time tracking, and completed activities, but to get the most out of your work order process try to include material and supply information as well. Many work order management solutions include asset tracking and can streamline multiple processes at once. This means you can be sure you’re approving work orders only when equipment is available and nearby.
Gather and Analyze Data
No matter what type of software you are using, find a way to gather as much data as you can. Input information on every order and track as much as possible not only for accurate record-keeping but in order to analyze inefficiencies, set goals, and work to meet them.
You need a hub of information that can guide future projects and give you accurate costing and scheduling information. With many work order systems, this center of information can include service histories, warranty information, parts lists, and employee scheduling data, all vital information for all staff involved in the process.
Work order management doesn’t need to be tedious or time-consuming. With the proper process in place, training for all staff involved, and the right technology helping you deploy and track every work order, there will be no more confusion, just timely repairs and happy customers.