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The Maintenance Management Blog

June 12, 2023

Inside Your CMMS - Work Orders

Image: road crew work with truck

We come to the two-part core of what's inside your CMMS (computerized maintenance management system). Work orders and maintenance. I don't think it matters the order I present these. Preventive maintenance jobs could precede work orders, but work orders also are for other repairs and tasks.

You have your Assets and Inventory listings prepared on your spreadsheet. (You might even have a list of PMs.) How do you let your workers know what jobs are to be done? I suppose you could create a word document template and insert the information, print it, then hand them out. Or convert them to a pdf and email them.

One of the reasons for a CMMS is that everything is centralized. You want to do almost everything in one system. When planning what you want out of a CMMS, work orders are important. Make sure the system provides plenty of options. These will be determined by the size and nature of your operation. A large church will have work orders with different information included than would a resort. Let's explore several aspects of work orders that could be used by many companies.

Work requests. Okay, technically not a dispatched job-to-do, but someone asking that a job be done.

These are good because sometimes one doesn't know jobs or repairs are needed until one notices the problem. These aren't regularly scheduled jobs. The parking lot needs to be de-iced. A light fixture is hanging by one cord. There's a spill in the hallway.

Undergrowth at the property line needs tending to.

If you have a quality CMMS, it will have a way for non-users to submit work requests. Company administrators, staff, volunteers, part-time help, etc. The CMMS admin emails an HTML link where the submission goes into the system. I think this is one of the best options you should have when thinking about a system.

Switching to regular work orders, let's look at some options you might like.

Type. For a lighthearted discussion of this, read this post.

This helps focus the worker on the task at hand.

Priority. How important is this? Immediately or can this be done anytime during the upcoming week? (By the way, an emergency priority is fine for work orders but curb the habit of that option for work requests. Can you see the trend toward everything becoming an emergency?)

What's it for? Again, this helps focus the worker. Is the job for a piece of equipment, at a cost center, a specific location, an equipment move, or part of a route?

Let me take a moment and touch on Routes. These are great to include in a work order. A fine example would be fire extinguisher inspections. Your facility has numerous buildings. All have at least one extinguisher. Why initiate and dispatch one work order for Bob to check on the extinguisher at the administration building, then create another work order for Bob to check the one at the processing plant, and a third work order for the one in the stockroom? Instead, create a Route that is part of one work order and includes all three stops. Save time and labor (and all that walking around from Bob).

Site/zone. Some companies have several sites and designated zones. A manufacturing plant could have a site (a facility location) in Omaha and a second location in Miami. The same CMMS can be used for both sites.

Think of the resort for multiple zones. The golf course, the hotel, and the casino could all be designated as different zones within the CMMS.

Description. This data field is self-explanatory. What needs to be done?

Failure codes. Help your worker with more clarification. Why is the job repair needed? Add an equipment failure code.

Checklists. Make sure the entire job is completed, step by step, and add these handy lists.

BOM. Include the necessary inventory (bill of material). Helping the worker be better prepared.

Attachments. Further aid. Add an image or possibly a link to a video showing the maintenance procedure.

After the fact. Sometimes, while doing one job, the worker sees another quick repair or piece of maintenance that he can complete. Make sure you have an option for submitting work orders after the job is completed.

Of course, yours could be a smaller company that doesn't need all the above information for jobs. That's one of the great things about a quality CMMS. It should be scalable. Maybe you just want to initiate a work order and dispatch it later or have someone else do the extra planning on the job.

When considering a CMMS, think about all those extras you want with work orders. As seen, many are geared toward efficiency. The more the worker knows about the job, the easier he'll be able to complete it.

To discuss more about work orders and a superior CMMS, call 800-922-4336. Mapcon is ready to work for you. (No work order needed.)


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 orders, maintenance, CMMS — Stephen Brayton on June 12, 2023