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The Maintenance Management Blog

April 17, 2023

Work Order Steps

From July 7, 1953, to July 26, 1956, there was a radio show called 21st Precinct. It concerned officers in a New York City police department. Each show began with a telephone ringing, the desk sergeant answering, and his side of a conversation about a crime. At some point, the announcer broke in by saying something along the lines of "A call has come in. You will follow that call from beginning to end."

Shift this scenario to a maintenance department. A call for a repair or preventive maintenance has come in. Let's follow the work order steps from beginning to end. We might subtitle this post "The It Factor" because we'll be discussing various aspects of it, the work order.

What is it - This desk sergeant took down all the information about the crime. What happened, who was involved, where it happened, and anything else useful to pass along to officers.

A maintenance supervisor should detail as much about the job as is needed. What type of job is it? A repair, an inspection, or a safety issue? Where is the location of the job? What's the problem and what needs to be done?

Image: priority checkbox

How important/urgent is it – The desk sergeant needed to know if the crime was still in progress or if anyone was in danger or injured. How soon did officers or medical personnel need to be on the scene?

This is the priority setting for a work order. Emergency and safety hazards should be tended to immediately. Routine PMs can be prioritized lower…unless one has been neglected for a time.

How to do it – After arriving on the scene, the detective would assess the situation, gather facts, and figure out the best way to investigate. Places to search or visit, clues to process, and people to interview.

For maintenance, this is a follow-up to the first point. What's needed for the job? What inventory and job steps are needed? Are there safety protocols to follow?

When is it done - Even police detectives follow a schedule. Depending on the crime, detectives could work until the case is solved. Otherwise, they may follow a shift schedule. In addition, they'll probably be working on multiple cases so they'll figure out when to switch from one case to another.

Preventive maintenance can be scheduled since these are routine jobs. Other repairs are put on the calendar, again, keeping type and priority in mind.

Who does it – A lot of times, cases fall to the next detective or team on the list. Also, there are more people involved in a detective's case than the investigator. These could include a coroner/medical examiner, forensics, and other police agencies.

For maintenance, supervisors look at the best-qualified worker (available) and whether the job is to go to a crew or specialized craft. Other considerations for dispatching the job include the schedule and workload of the workers.

Do it - The actual investigation begins, taking the detective wherever it leads. Following clues, interviewing witnesses, suspects, and other relevant people, analyzing the clues, and finding the culprit.

For the maintenance worker, it's the actual job, making the inspection, repairing what's broken, cleaning, lubricating, and following the job steps laid down in the work order. Here, the worker strives for efficiency and quality.

Image: hand holding a review sheet

Review it – After the arrest or solution of the case, the investigator should review it. How many movies, television shows, and books have that one detective questioning if the right person was deemed guilty? Was there a clue missed that would lead to the truth? In addition, all evidence and notes should be organized for the eventual trial. Also, a review of the investigator's method, behavior, attitude, and actions during the case should be reviewed for any areas of improvement.

Similarly, a maintenance supervisor should read any feedback from the worker about the job, spot-check completeness and quality of the job, and analyze reports including costs, worker attainment, and worker on-time compliance.

Benefits of a CMMS work order

For facilities using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), work orders are better organized. Those who initiate work orders find it easier to accomplish the above 'it' points.

Details on job type, priority, and description are easily input. Adding a bill of materials takes out the guesswork. Scheduling and dispatching work orders are both done in the CMMS.

A quality system has options for checklists and attachments of images, safety regulations, and a website for video guidance.

Maintenance technicians also benefit from a CMMS on a mobile device.

A CMMS is a great 'tool' to use because it eliminates written and confusing paper work orders.

It retains a history of open and completed work orders.

For reports, supervisors have access to on-time compliance, attainment, and cost reports.

As there are stages to investigating a police case, there are steps of a maintenance work order. They're a logical progression through a job whether a routine preventive maintenance or repair.

A CMMS moves one through the steps more efficiently than spreadsheets or paper work orders. The system from Mapcon Technologies has been benefiting companies for over forty years. 800-922-4336 gets you all the details. Take charge of your work order management with MAPCON!


Stephen Brayton

About the Author – Stephen Brayton


Stephen L. Brayton is a Marketing Associate at Mapcon Technologies, Inc. He graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College with a degree in Communications. His background includes radio, hospitality, martial arts, and print media. He has authored several published books (fiction), and his short stories have been included in numerous anthologies. With his joining the Mapcon team, he ventures in a new and exciting direction with his writing and marketing. He’ll bring a unique perspective in presenting the Mapcon system to prospective companies, as well as our current valued clients.


Filed under: work order, maintenance, CMMS — Stephen Brayton on April 17, 2023