Work Order Management: 5 Ways to Make a Difference


Many organizations struggle to implement a CMMS. Most often the problem is not the plan, the software or the personnel. It is a lack of focus on the fundamentals and execution of the basics. Fortunately, this can be corrected with good coaching.

As the leader, or coach, of a maintenance department you need to “coach ‘em up.” Get your team back to the basics and focus them on the fundamentals; just as every football coach, at every level, does with blocking and tackling.

Blocking and tackling in a maintenance program is work order management. As in football, it is all about the fundamentals for work order management.

There are five fundamental areas of a work order management program that require focus:

  1. Initiation—Why is this work order being written? Focus on collecting data at the point of origin
    1. via your PM scheduler
    2. via an operator, a customer, or an input from a device notifying you of an unplanned event, or situation, that needs attention
  2. Administration—planning and scheduling; assignment of related data. Focus on categorizing data for future reporting about
    1. Asset(s)
    2. Task instructions—SOP documentation
    3. Dates—created, due, started
    4. Personnel assignment—internal or contract
    5. Departments, locations, cost centers, and etc for budgetary allocations
    6. Priorities
  3. Distribution—focus on timeliness, readability, and completeness.
    1. via paper
    2. electronic
  4. Completion—collection of repair data. Focus on the what and why.
    1. Completion date and time
    2. Codes (failure and cause)
    3. Labor hours consumed by personnel
    4. Inventory consumed
    5. Notes and comments
  5. Information—Focus on sharing results, making results matter
    1. Leading and lagging indicators
    2. Widgets
    3. KPI progress
    4. Responsiveness

Teams that execute to perfection on every play have the most success. Likewise maintenance departments that execute to perfection on every work order will have successful CMMS implementations. Football players can’t choose to block and tackle on only some plays and not others. Likewise for work orders; they need to be written for every event. Work orders are absolutely critical to the success of a CMMS. Once completed, they must have clean, complete, accurate information in each of these five fundamental areas.

Play ball.