A comprehensive work order system is crucial to achieving your organization’s maintenance and operational goals. 

And the ability to automate work orders can significantly improve your team’s efficiency. 

Although there will always be some unexpected maintenance tasks, your team can schedule many of them in advance—including ones you may not haven’t considered. 

A typical work order lifecycle

A work order starts with a work request. Usually someone from the operations team—a floor supervisor, operations manager, or a machine operator—observes a problem with a particular piece of equipment. This could be the result of a routine inspection or equipment that is not working properly. 

The work request is then routed to the maintenance team. The maintenance manager validates the request, creates a work order, and assigns a technician and due date based on the priority of the request. The technician then completes the work order, which includes all details related to equipment servicing and repair.

The case for automated work order management

Although the lifecycle of a work order might be straightforward, it can be difficult to manage work orders manually, especially as your organization grows.

A manual process also makes it difficult to close the loop between your maintenance and operations teams. 

It makes change management challenging as well. You may be forced to rework your maintenance tasks schedule due to emergency repairs, priority changes (such as an upcoming compliance audit), or even technicians going on unexpected leave. It’s easier to handle these changes with an automated work order system.

Automated work order software allows you to manage all these processes and the related data in one place. You can store manufacturers’ manuals, operating procedures, and checklists as well as repair and maintenance histories.

This makes everyone’s job easier and improves decision-making. For example, you can identify patterns related to a particular piece of equipment that frequently breaks down and determine if it’s more cost-effective to replace it. You can also identify areas where your equipment operators or maintenance technicians may need more training. 

An automated work order system that integrates with your inventory management software also allows your team to order parts more efficiently.

How to automate more work orders

If you have already invested in a work order management system, you’ve taken the first step. But that’s just the beginning. To use your system to its full potential, you need to evaluate your current processes and determine how to improve them.

For example, are you still typing in details for every work order when you could store that information in a template for recurring tasks?

Are you still assigning work orders manually? 

Here are three ways you can improve your equipment maintenance process and automate more work orders. 

Make it easy for everyone to submit digital work orders

Work order generation is one of the worst bottlenecks in the workflow. Specifically, many organizations experience lags between a work request and work order creation. This is because creating a work order often requires filling out a detailed form. Unless it’s urgent, machine operators and maintenance teams who are pressed for time may wait until the end of their shift to do it. 

That’s why you need to do everything in your power to remove friction from this process. 

Submitting a work order should be as easy as opening an app, selecting a work order type from a dropdown menu, and entering a failure code. 

To process work orders more efficiently, you can create workflows within your enterprise management software system that automatically notifies certain people based on the task, location, or when it was submitted. 

Schedule preventive maintenance based on pre-determined conditions

Preventive maintenance significantly reduces equipment downtime and unexpected costs. One study by JLL found the ROI of preventive maintenance activities can be as high as 545%. 

While you will always have some unplanned repairs, your preventive maintenance activities should far outweigh these unexpected issues. When you look back on your maintenance activities for the year, about 80% should be planned. 

The best way to achieve that goal is to automate preventive maintenance tasks. 

At the beginning of each year (or when you purchase a new piece of equipment), you can schedule PM tasks based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

Entering this into your preventive maintenance software will trigger automated reminders when the equipment reaches a certain threshold, such as every three months, every 10,000 miles, or every thousand runs. 

This way, you never have to think about when it’s time to change the oil or replace a belt. And you leave as little as possible to chance. 

Generate automated work orders from inspection failures

Regular equipment inspections help make your maintenance activities more purposeful by monitoring specific conditions, such as temperature, friction, and vibration. 

With the right software system, you can generate automated work orders when an inspection fails. This closes the loop between your operations and maintenance teams so there’s no delay between an equipment operator’s discovery of an issue and the creation of a work order. 

Using ManagerPlus for automatic work order generation

ManagerPlus’ EAM software makes it easy to automate work orders. The mobile app makes it easy for anyone to submit them so your team can address issues right away. 

It also allows you to automate preventive maintenance and generate work orders when assets and equipment fail an inspection.  

This makes your team more efficient and your assets more reliable. 

Learn more about how ManagerPlus’ Inspection Module streamlines work orders and improves collaboration between operations and maintenance.

About the author


ManagerPlus is the preferred solution across the most asset-intensive industries, including Fortune 500 companies, to improve reliability and minimize downtime.
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