You’re a maintenance manager, and you’ve got more on your plate than just keeping the lights on. You’re in charge of keeping a facility running smoothly and safely for your employees, contractors, and visitors—and that means making sure everything is up to date and working correctly.
But how do you get it all done? How do you know when something needs fixing?
Fortunately, there’s an easier way for maintenance managers to keep track of their team’s work orders: a maintenance work order system.
What is a maintenance work order system?
A maintenance work order system is a computerized database of equipment and parts. It’s used to track when maintenance needs to be performed, what work should be done, and where it needs to be performed. Maintenance work orders are also known as PMRs (planned maintenance reports), MOTS (maintenance operations technical standards), EPRs (engineering change proposals), or preventive/corrective action plans.
Do I need a work order system?
If you think your operation is too small to need computerized maintenance management software (CMMS), think again. Everybody has maintenance needs, whether they ignore them or not, and work orders are what get maintenance done. If work orders aren’t planned and executed properly, you might as well give your money away. The secret to cutting maintenance costs is a good work order system, and here’s why you need one:
1. Reduce equipment failures
Whether you manage a large factory or run a community center, you buy insurance. Traditional insurance protects you from unexpected problems but sometimes doesn’t cover the cost of extensive damage. The best kind of insurance to buy is the kind that prevents the problem from happening in the first place. The problem, in your case, is unplanned asset downtime, and the insurance is a work order system.
Work order system software ensures preventive maintenance gets done on schedule, saving the most expensive maintenance issue of all: Downtime. It reduces equipment failures by:
- Helping you keep track of maintenance tasks and schedules
- Identifying equipment failures
- Prioritizing repairs, so repair work is done in a timely manner and with the right parts
- Keeping records of equipment failures and their causes can be helpful when it comes to preventing future breakdowns or other problems with the same piece of equipment
2. Extend asset life
Every piece of equipment or infrastructure you own is an asset. Every asset has an annual operating cost, which includes purchase financing or cash outlay spread over its lifespan. Although you don’t see that cost every day, you still pay it and feel it at the end of the year. A work order system extends asset life by helping you:
- Conduct preventive maintenance. Regular inspections and service help to prevent expensive repairs, which can extend the life of your assets.
- Improve quality control: The data collected through a maintenance work order system gives managers insight into how much time is spent on each asset at each location, helping them identify areas where they could improve efficiency.
3. Save money on parts and supplies
In a CMMS, the work orders are linked automatically to your parts inventory. You save money because it helps:
- Reduce the number of parts purchased
- Cuts inventory in your storeroom
- Reduces the number of parts that are returned unused
- Minimizes the amount of time spent on ordering parts
4. Boost maintenance productivity
No doubt about it, maintenance requires an investment. A maintenance work order system can help boost productivity by:
- Reducing the time spent on paperwork. Keeping track of all your maintenance tasks, scheduling them, and updating them is very time-consuming. A good maintenance work order system will automate this process and make it easier for you to manage your assets in one place.
- Helping to prioritize work. If you need clarification on which asset needs attention first or if any safety issues need immediate attention, then using a CMMS can help identify these things quickly so they don’t get overlooked.
- Identify equipment that requires repair or replacement by looking at its history of service requests over time (e.g., this machine broke down last week versus this machine has never broken down before).
5. Improve health, safety and compliance
A maintenance work order system is a critical component of any facility. It’s the single source of truth for all maintenance tasks, providing a clear picture of what needs to be done and when. This makes it easier for managers and employees alike to know their responsibilities, making them more efficient at their jobs—and safer.
A work order system can also help you improve compliance with safety standards by making sure that all necessary inspections are being conducted regularly and on time. This reduces the risk of accidents or other hazards taking place.
A good maintenance work order software can help your organization efficiently manage all your equipment
This is just a short list of the many benefits that can be gained by using a maintenance work order system. It’s important to remember that these are not just theoretical benefits—they’re real, tangible results that will help your organization run better and more efficiently every day.