Work order software makes approving, prioritizing, generating, delegating, and tracking work orders a breeze. And then it helps you leverage all the data you've collected into reports that paint the maintenance big picture. You can finally make decisions driven by data. No more relying on hunches when you're ordering spare parts and materials. No more guessing when you're deciding to repair or replace assets. Facilities managers and maintenance professionals have always managed work orders. It comes with the job. But for the longest time, they've been using paper or spreadsheets. Those methods were adequate back when they were the only options, but now it's like getting by with a horse and buggy when you could be cruising along in a V8.
Benefits of work order software
To fully appreciate the benefits of modern work order management software, it helps to look at the earlier, error-prone methods it replaces.
When a new maintenance problem comes up, it gets scribbled down on paper. There might be two copies, one for the maintenance office and one to hand off to a technician. But before you can hand it off, that tech needs to be tracked down. And every time you write out a new work order, you have to run through the same steps. Worse yet, each work order contains only a small amount of information. How much can you reasonably cram onto a scrap of paper? That means even when you get the paper to the right tech you end up having to spend time explaining everything to them, hoping they remember it. Techs spend all day doubling back to the maintenance office, picking up and dropping off paperwork that only ever partially explains what they needed to do and what they actually did.
Paper-based systems suffer because it's hard to make copies. Everything is by hand, which means you have a few copies and they don't have much information on them. Spreadsheets promise to make it easy to copy and send files. Now all you have to do is punch in the data, save the file, and attach it to an email.
But you're not attaching the file. You're attaching a copy of the file. So when you send it, there are now two identical-but-separate copies, the one on your computer and the one in the email. Only they don't stay identical for long. As soon as you update the one in the office, the tech's now working off old data. And when they make a change in their file, for example to close it out, your version is now behind. Spreadsheets make it very easy to spread information. They also make it easy to have everyone working from different information. It's like everyone in the band is playing a different song at the same time. Sounds terrible.
Even when these old methods work as well as they can, it's still difficult to take the data you've captured and leverage it. Need to know which asset has eaten up the most in parts and labor over the last six months? Want to find out how much industrial lubricant to keep on hand? With paper- and spreadsheet-based systems, you need to pull out the data on your own. With paper, that's a lot of time with a pencil and calculator. And with spreadsheets, it's a lot of hunting for the right files, clicking through endless columns and rows, and copy and pasting.
But you already know all about these problems. You're likely dealing with them every day. So, the question it, How is facility maintenance software going to make your life easier?
Cloud-based work order software solutions
Modern facilities management software is a cloud-based solution that keeps your data safe, accessible, and up to date. Instead of data being scribbled on scraps or hidden in spreadsheet cells where it's easily lost or corrupted, it's kept for you in a secure database you can access from anywhere, at any time. All you need is a desktop, mobile device, or work order app. And whenever you add to or change the data, everyone on your team can see the updates in real-time.
"In the cloud" just means your software provider looks after everything for you. They take care of the software updates and upgrades and data backups and security. They do all the IT heavy lifting. But your data is always yours. It's sort of like the provider is babysitting it for you. Of course, you can get it back when you ask for it.
With work order software, you approve, prioritize, generate, delegate, and track work orders easily.
Approve with work order software
Maintenance requests come in from all over. Everyone from equipment operators to front-office staff send in requests. But they don't know how to reach you, and they don't know what information to include. You end up with an unorganized mix of emails and voice mails, and most of them don't have the information you need. Someone saw a leaky pipe by the bathroom. But which bathroom? There are ten of them in the facility. And how bad was the leak?
Modern facility maintenance software has an online portal that everyone can access to send maintenance requests, which means all your requests come in through the same channel. On top of that, the request template standardizes the data. When they're reaching out in an email, people might forget to tell you exactly where they noticed a problem. But if there's a field in the template called "Location," they're going to fill it in.
Once you have the data you need, you can decide if you want to act on it. Remember, not all maintenance requests are worth creating a work order. The request portal ensures you have the information you need to make that decision.
Generate with work order software
Once you've decided to approve a request, you're only a few clicks away from a data-packed work order. Using templates, you can quickly generate a work order with everything techs need to close out efficiently, including:
- Complete asset work order history
- Step-by-step instructions
- Customizable checklists
- Digital images, schematics, and O&M manuals
- Associate materials and parts
Good facility management software even has interactive site and floor maps.
Techs go directly to exactly where they're needed. And when they get there, they have everything they need. No more running back to the office to hunt for the manual or ask a question about the last time the asset was fixed.
As you're generating work orders, you can also prioritize them using a work order software. Techs can see what needs to get done first and what can wait for when things are slower.
Delegate with work order software
Once you've created the work order, you can quickly find the best resource to assign. With the calendar view, you can see all the current open work orders and who's on them. You can even move work orders around with a simple drag and drop. Remember, the techs can see these changes in real-time, and the software can send out email alerts. Everyone is working from the same up-to-date data. Everyone can see the same data, but not everyone can see all of it. By adjusting user permissions, you can restrict access. For example, it might make more sense to allow the senior techs to see everything while junior techs are limited to their work orders. This helps you manage resources, keeps down the visual clutter on screens, and keeps people focused on their tasks.
Track with work order software
Work order tracking increases visibility and encourages accountability. There's a record of what work was assigned, how and when it was completed.
The work order tracking software notifies you once a tech closes out. You can check their notes or make sure they checked all the boxes on the customizable list. You can also set up the work order so that you're the only one who can close it out, which is a great option when working with junior techs. As soon as they're finished, you can go and double-check their work before closing out the work order.
Report with work order software
The software makes it easy to collect and protect your data. Then it gets your data working for you with autogenerated reports. By taking the data and crunching the data for you, the software paints the maintenance big picture. Thanks to easy-to-understand graphs and key performance indicators (KPIs), you gain important insights into your maintenance operations.
For example, traditionally one of the hardest decisions to make on an asset was to repair or replace. Every piece of equipment eventually becomes cheaper to replace than repair. The trick is pinpointing when that happens. Replace it too early and you're throwing out value. But wait too long and you end up throwing good money after bad. Reports deliver data-driven decision-making. This is the reason why equipment maintenance softwares usually include the ability to manage work orders.
Get started with work order software
To get a real sense of how this software works and can work for you, you need to see it in action. Would you buy a TV after just reading the specs on the side of the box? No, you'd want to see the TV plugged in, switched on. And then you'd get someone to walk you through all the features. It's the same with facilities management software. Getting started means getting into a demo.