1. Ensure Every Request Begins with an Actual Work Order
Good habits are cultivated at the beginning of any process, and the first step toward ensuring efficient work order management is to create a work order for every project. It sounds elementary, but we all know that busy employees will eventually want to bypass protocols for small requests in hopes that they can get the issue taken care of even more quickly. Using a standardized work order initiation process for everything from a busted light bulb to a major maintenance request helps create a cohesive system that operates predictably and reliably in any circumstance.
2. Categorize the Specific Type of Workflow
What happens in the following stages of the process will largely depend on the type of work order request that is created, so it’s necessary to have a well-defined set of categories that make it easy for end users to choose what type of work is being requested. The software needs to allow for changes to be made by management when necessary. That’s because inputting the correct category has a significant effect on the efficiency of the process as well as the efficacy of metrics collected from the event.
3. Complete the Approval Process
To avoid delays and complications, all orders should be subject to approval prior to actual execution and assignment. Approval will likely be contingent on all required information fields being accurately completed, as well as a review to ensure that any additional budgetary or safety concerns don’t need to be addressed before assigning the work. Upon approval (or cancellation, or a request for revision), a notification can be sent to the end user to inform them of the status change for their request.
4. Assign Appropriate Access Based on Need and Expertise
Access rights work best when they are doled out judiciously, as fewer hands in the jar usually results in fewer opportunities for mistakes, errors, and delays. Innovative WOMS software solutions create the possibility for intelligent access management; you can create and maintain groups of users who can be granted access to modify certain components of the work order based upon categories. Access can also be granted to end users for functions (such as adding comments and viewing status updates) without giving them the ability to modify the core functions of the order.
5. Determine the Priority
Successfully prioritizing your work orders is a key tenet of system efficiency. This is why it’s imperative to employ a standardized set of rules for prioritization that lead to consistency throughout the process. Of course, people often want their request to be a higher priority than it actually should be, which is why it’s crucial to develop a rubric and stick to it. Any work request that is necessary to remove a risk for injury or significant asset damage can be evaluated immediately, and the routine requests that occur every day can be addressed at the appropriate time.
6. Utilize Scheduling Management Tools
Scheduling is one of the tasks that benefits the most from smart software; these programs have the ability to use algorithms to erase inefficiencies and reduce instances of over-scheduling. Not only does this make a facilities manager’s job significantly easier, but it also results in technicians’ time being used more effectively. With the availability of mobile apps offered by WOMS software providers, managers can view and update schedules from any location through a mobile device.
7. Assign and Execute Efficiently
Once the preliminary planning has been taken care of, any effective WOMS needs to have a mechanism in place for competently executing the order. All the necessary information needs to be shared with the assigned technician or team, and clear instructions should be available for how to proceed with the job. Information pertaining to the work should be automatically updated in the system for tracking purposes so any authorized user can see real-time status reports on the progress being made.
8. Track Maintenance Inventory Diligently
Inventory management features provide new ways to intelligently keep track of parts and service equipment. These tools eliminate the need to check manual inventory records before approving a work order, which allows the end user to be instantly notified if their request necessitates a part or piece of equipment that is out of stock or unavailable. Software solutions can even automatically create purchase orders for products that aren’t currently in stock. This allows facilities departments to be better prepared for the variety of requests they frequently receive.
9. Consolidate Product Information Within a Database
Software databases can also be turned into information hubs where authorized parties can instantly see any information about an area or product, including a detailed service history, warranty information, parts lists, and more, that has been worked on. In the past, many of these variables had to be manually located (often from multiple locations) and reviewed before the approval of a project; however, now all of this information can be automatically displayed any time a corresponding work order is requested.
10. Keep Stakeholders Apprised with Notifications
One of the ways that WOMS software platforms allow you to connect with customers in innovative ways is by enabling automatic notifications. Users feel more comfortable—and engaged in the work order process—when they have an idea of how things are progressing. New programs can keep them in the loop when there’s a change they should know about, or when there are simply routine developments as part of the process. In general, sharing more with the customer and being transparent are worthy practices, and WOMS software facilitates clear communication between the stakeholders.
11. Take Advantage of Advanced Budgeting Features
Advanced budgeting systems are able to integrate functions such as labor and inventory costs within the work order management system, creating a streamlined database with figures that change in real-time. When a work order is approved, and it results in a technician working overtime, these additional funds can immediately be added to the labor costs and be reflected throughout the organizational budget. Similarly, when orders are generated for new parts, the costs can be shared with the accounting software and the budget can automatically be updated.
12. Document the Good and the Bad
When it comes to work order management, more information is almost always preferable to less. All results of the WOMS process, from the most serious to seemingly inconsequential, need to be documented in order to facilitate accurate record keeping and systemic improvements. When a customer has a positive experience with a technician, when an accident results in injury, or when the incorrect part was ordered for a job, it should always be noted in the software system for future edification.
13. Set and Revise Goals
Like any business process, work order management needs to have achievable goals that can be measured using data. Through a successfully implemented WOMS, it is possible to track your progress on a daily basis. Of course, to increase operational efficiency, there should be routine assessments and revisions of goals. That way you may also challenge your team to work smarter, harder, and safer in service of meeting these goals.
14. Analyze KPIs
The possibilities for data collection through the use of software solutions are astounding, so take advantage of everything these platforms can do and put the data to work for you. Analytics tools can look at trends in your company and help make your department more proactive, and user behavior can be studied in order to provide a more personalized customer experience. Choose the KPIs that make sense for your organization, and harness the power of real-time data to make detailed assessments concerning the state of your performance.
With proper analysis of your KPIs, and the effort you put behind these steps to organize your work order management system, your company will improve its customer satisfaction rates. This achievement will create happier customers and continued growth—goals every company should have.