What a Work Order is and How to Create One?
Field service companies depend on large teams of people to complete a job, making communication and documentation a complex process. For example, a single job requires authorization, one or multiple field technicians, client communication, and history of the equipment and its problems.
To add to the complexity, most field technicians are freelancers, so a new technician will likely be servicing the machinery each time.
Communicating with each person individually, sending information via email, and documenting processes would be a nightmare.
That's where a work order comes in.
What is a Work Order
A work order is a single document that shows the scope of the problem, the goal, the assigned technicians, and who authorized the project. It creates a simple solution for internal collaboration and provides the client with a detailed account of all work done on the job.
Traditionally, the field service industry has relied on spreadsheets to track work orders. However, many are adopting digitized work order software which allows faster communication, more targeted outsourcing, and more accurate tracking.
The Work Order Process
Work orders may vary depending on the scope of the project, but most follow the process outlined below.
Issue is Identified
The first step in the work order process is to identify a task. Some tasks arise from planned maintenance, where a scheduled inspection shows an issue in the system.
Most companies have regular planned maintenance. But unfortunately, unplanned maintenance is still necessary when problems arise and onsite technicians are needed, and usually fast. In this case, a machine operator contacts the service company to explain the issue and open a work order.
Create a Maintenance Request
Once the issue is identified, the maintenance team will usually create and authorize a maintenance request.
The maintenance request includes the address of the broken machinery, critical information describing the issue, and any other relevant information to complete the task. This information is submitted to the field services company either manually or digitally.
Assign and Schedule the Task
Once the work order reaches the field services team, the field services manager will schedule the task and assign it to a field technician.
Unplanned maintenance tasks are prioritized by urgency rather than a first-come-first-serve basis. For example, the field services team will assign a broken piece of critical machinery before a broken light.
Planned maintenance tasks can be pre-scheduled and assigned months in advance or during a current inspection.
Field Technician Arrives On The Scene
Once the work order is scheduled and assigned, the field technician will fix the problem on the property. If it's a planned maintenance check, it may only take a few minutes, though unplanned maintenance can take several days to complete.
The technician will record the times he/she was on the scene and note any additional issues. This is usually where the majority of problems arise, as the field technicians may not have access to the necessary information to complete the assignment on the first visit.
The Work Order is Filed
Once the job has been completed, a manager will mark the work order as completed, sign off on it and file it away. It's important that filing is done correctly, as accurate documentation is essential for auditing purposes and is also useful in the event of a dispute.
An organized work order system will also help the field services company refine its process strategy. For example, if the field services company is testing new field technology, it can compare its previous on-site times with current on-site times.
Benefits of Work Order Management System
As field service managers look for new ways to increase efficiency and productivity, many leading brands are using work order management systems to replace spreadsheets. Here are a few of the main benefits of a work order management system.
One of the most significant benefits of work order management systems is that it improves company processes and eliminates unnecessary emails. Technicians can communicate directly with clients, and invoices are automatically prepared and sent through the work order management system, reducing communication chains.
By making the company more productive, work order management systems have allowed companies to decrease incomplete orders by 16 percent and increase daily completed work orders by 20 percent.
Work Order Software
FieldAware offers a work order management system that does just this. It provides field staff with customer location, customer contacts, tasks, equipment required for the job, service history, and digital media of the machinery.
Management teams also love the software as it can integrate with your existing
Work Order App
Our work order app also makes it easy to track what technicians are doing in real-time. This allows dispatchers to reallocate tasks and track driver performance in addition to decreasing scheduling time. The app also makes communication easier with mobile alerts and preset email communication.
Work orders are the heartbeat of field service companies. Without them, there would be no efficient record of what projects had been completed and who worked on the projects.
It allows technicians to complete their job more efficiently, clients know exactly what was done, and managers can rely on accurate documentation. Get a demo from us today!