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Is a CMMS the Right Choice for Work Order Management?

By Reena Sommer | September 03, 2018

Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) has changed how a growing number of businesses of all sizes and across a broad range of industry, corporate and services sectors take care of all of their maintenance management needs. When using an automated maintenance management system, maintenance managers and staffers have access to all their maintenance operations right at their fingertips. With a click of a mouse or a tap on a mobile device, CMMSs make it possible to obtain an overview of a facility’s functioning or zero in on the status of a single piece of equipment. These powerful systems use thousands of data points that at any given point, have the ability to monitor inventory levels, track work orders, quickly generate accurate reports, and determine which company assets require preventive maintenance.

Maintenance Work Orders

One of the key functions of CMMSs is managing work orders, a primary activity for maintenance departments across the board. When it comes to facility management, a work order refers to a task or job relating to a repair or upkeep of a piece of equipment. It may be as simple as changing a light bulb or replacing an air filter or as complex as installing a new HVAC system or replacing a roof. While work orders typically follow a request by a maintenance manager or business owner, they may also come as a request following an inspection or audit. Some examples of inspection related work orders include:

  • A property inspection that requires repairs to roofing, plumbing, landscaping, electrical etc.
  • A health and safety inspection that requires the replacement or repair of signage,  changes to lighting, removal of hazardous material, renovations to stairways etc.

Work orders might also come about when preventive maintenance checks on a piece of manufacturing equipment takes place and requires the need to change parts, add lubricants or tune components. In all these instances, the maintenance work order software aspect of CMMS system is critical. Here, I’ll highlight some of the key components of a CMMS maintenance work order process.

User Friendly Platform

All CMMS functions are accessible from its user-friendly desktop. And, because of this, maintenance techs do not require any advanced technological training or know how. When it comes to work order management, a work order template can also be generated from the system desktop. From there, it’s simply a matter of filling in the blanks by making selections from a number of drop down menus that contain all relevant information relating to the task at hand. For example, selections can be made about the specific type of equipment, location, scheduled time of repair, estimated time to repair and the priority of the repair. All of this information and more can be entered into the work order form in a matter of minutes.

Instant Notification

Unlike manual maintenance management approaches where work orders are created in hard copy format and then sit on a desk or in a tech’s inbox for hours to days until retrieved, maintenance work order software functions in real time. As soon as work orders are created, they can be sent to the appropriate maintenance tech instantly and without delay. This means that a repair can be taken care of often within an hour or two instead of days.

Ordering Replacement Parts

At the same time as a work order is being created, replacement parts can also be ordered, if needed. Ordering parts is made even easier by using the CMMS’s integrated bar code scanning app on mobile devices. Not only is this approach more efficient because it does away with having to conduct manual searches for parts using serial numbers, it also prevents unintended transposing errors that may occur.

Checking the Status of Work Orders

With maintenance work order software, maintenance managers are able to keep track of the repairs as they are being done. Using a CMMS, they will be able to ascertain if and when a job has been started. They will also be informed how the job is progressing and they will be alerted if any problems arise.

Finally, a reminder will be sent if the work order has not begun on time. All of these functions keep the maintenance department running as it should. Considering these CMMS features together, manual maintenance management approaches pale by comparison.

Work Order Reports

Once a work order has been completed, a comprehensive report of the job can be generated, emailed to others and stored within the CMMS system. The report itemizes a number of variables including the date of the repair, the assessed problem, time to complete, parts utilized and the number of technicians assigned. This information is valuable on a number of fronts because it can later be analyzed for purposes of re-evaluating preventive maintenance schedules, establishing budgets, estimating staff deployment and planning for equipment replacement.

Current economic conditions, market trends, industry competition and changing technology all challenge today’s businesses to operate smarter and leaner. CMMSs offer business owners a complete maintenance management solution aimed at extending equipment lifespans, improving organization, better time management and labor utilization and ultimately, reducing operational costs and increasing company profits. The maintenance work order software feature is a valuable component of the overall CMMS system because work orders are the mainstay of maintenance departments. By using CMMS systems as designed, companies are able to streamline and expedite every aspect of the work order process from start to finish.

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Topics: Preventive Maintenance work order management building maintenance software ROI cmms software cmms cmms pricing facilities maintenance CMMS features equipment preventive maintenance Preventive Maintenance Plan


Reena Sommer

Reena Sommer

Reena Sommer originally hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba and currently resides in the Houston, Texas area. In 1994, she graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Ph.D. in Psychology, Sociology and Family Studies. Reena is a regular contributor for Hippo CMMS.


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