A work order like an asset has a lifecycle of its own. The work order lifecycle can be viewed as the time it takes to accept a work request through the time it takes to complete the work order. How much time you spend any given stage is dependent upon the skills of the administrator, the type of system used (manual or EAM/CMMS) and of course the level of expertise the maintenance teams have acquired.

Work Order Lifecycle

What is a Work Request

A work request is a paper document or a screen of an online CMMS that identifies maintenance work needed on a particular asset. The work request may be the result of an asset failure or the result of inspections as part of a preventive maintenance routine. Regardless of how the problem was identified, a work request must be reviewed for priority, parts availability/requisitions, time required and labor availability. Once the work request has been analyzed, it may result in a work order for action.

What is a Work Order

Once a work request is approved for further action, it is converted into a work order. A work order is more than a maintenance job assignment, it represents the document trail (either paper or computerized) that follows the maintenance of an item. A work order should contain at a minimum; a description of the task, details of the asset, a tracking number, date requested, due date, who it is assigned to, a priority, a place to record the time spent on, inspection notes, general notes/remarks section. As the task is completed, time spent, cost, materials, outcome and notes of special tools/considerations should be recorded. Results are returned to maintenance management either via paper or on CMMS handheld devices.

Role of an EAM/CMMS for Work Order Lifecycle

The opportunity maintenance managers have is two-fold. The first opportunity if to increase the efficiencies of the work order lifecycle itself. This includes but is not limited to the elimination of a paper based system, shifting the source of work orders from reactive identification to pro active thus decreasing labor and materials costs. These opportunities for improvement can best be ascertained by implementing EAM/CMMS software. For example:

  • Elimination of paper based system: Manual systems are inherently slower as the paper trail must continually make it back and forth for further review or clarification. In addition, transcribing information is subject to greater errors or lost/misfiled forms. The elimination of a paper based system will all but eliminate forms costs as well as help make the move to a greener operation. EAM/CMMS systems make use of computers and mobile handheld devices to record all work requests, work orders and results.
  • Shifting the reasons for maintenance: One of the main reasons work orders and work requests can overwhelm facility managers is because much of their work is a result of reactionary need. Improvements in efficiency, scheduling flexibility can be achieved by shifting from a reactionary based system to a pro active maintenance management philosophy of scheduled inspections and preventive maintenance. A commitment to the CMMS scheduling of inspections and preventive maintenance will help identify minor issues before they become major repairs and labor intensive.

The second opportunity is use the results of all work to create a historical database of knowledge that can be used for asset lifecycle projections, identification of repair trends and knowledge transfer for training. EAM/CMMS handheld device applications when set up correctly will automatically record work order and work request information to produce a variety of management reports that will enable better asset lifecycle management.

Ultimately, this enables early asset issue identification and better capital budgeting. The EAM system can also provide repair fix detail to maintenance staff unsure of the last actions taken or provide instructions on how to fix a particular problem.

Clearly, the use of an EAM/CMMScan improve the work order lifecycle. Tell us how you have made improvements to your maintenance operations. If you liked this article you may also enjoy reading: