What is work order management software?
Work order management software is a kind of database for work orders, facilities requests, and action plans. A good work order management software makes it easy for managers to track maintenance work and for employees to create and update work orders, sometimes even automatically generating them.
A work order management software is, in essence, a simpler version of a computerized maintenance management system, or CMMS. Instead of managing an entire maintenance program, this type of software only deals with the initial step of maintenance and repair.
Work order management software was created in response to the need for a more effective facility management strategy. Essentially, employees needed a faster-than-paperwork way of creating work orders, and work order management software evolved out of this need. As time goes on, these systems become faster and more automated.
Today, work order management software is widely used across the manufacturing industry to centrally organize and manage the usually-vast amount of requests that occur in a day. For example, a factory might use work order management software to categorize and schedule maintenance tasks for equipment. In other cases, the software functions as a way of gathering job orders and bills of materials.
Prior to this technology, managing work orders could be a Herculean task of organizing paperwork. Work order management software, even free versions, alleviate much of the stress of tracking work orders.
How different industries use work order management software
- Manufacturing — Manufacturing industries often use this software for maintenance applications. Maintenance technicians receive work orders to fix machines and perform preventive maintenance. These maintenance requests can be created manually (a piece of equipment needs repaired) or automatically (a work order logged every X days for a preventive maintenance task). The work order itself contains documentation and inspection checklists, as well as a log for the technician’s actions and observations.
- Housing — The housing industry uses the software to create maintenance and repair requests. In this system, tenants and staff create a work request to indicate that work needs done. This can be as simple as unclogging a toilet or as complex as creating a new wall. The software is also useful in these instances for scheduling work with the proper party (plumbers, maintenance personnel, pest control agencies, etc).
- Contractors — Contractors use work order management software similarly to how they might use a personal website. A work order can be logged by a customer for a product or service. This work order might contain prices, requested materials, schedules, and locations to carry out service. The contractor can then fulfill the work order and send it back to the customer, which serves as both a log for labor and materials and a customer invoice.
Popular inventory management features
The primary feature is work orders. The most useful part of work order management software is that work orders are modular; they can be customized based on the industry, meaning they are a blank template. This makes the software applicable to any place that uses work orders or work order-style ticketing to request, perform, and log work.
On a more specific note, work requests serve as a way of requesting maintenance or repair work. These requests can be submitted by anyone in the system and then assigned based on area, type of work to be completed, schedule, etc. In some work order management software, work requests are automatically generated in response to certain events (like a downed machine or specific fault).
Some software has a customizable database of contractors, meaning you can assign onsite or offsite contractors at will to work orders. For example, if a work order is filed for concrete laying but you don’t have the proper tools on hand, you can hire a contractor and set a price with ease.
The work order feature in UpKeep. Advanced features that are part of a CMMS are blurred out in the left-hand navigation.
Ultimately, work order management software is a way of simplifying the immense amount of work required to manually organize work orders and requests. If a facility has a regular need for maintenance, repair, or operational work—whether that’s scheduled or reactive to downtime events—that facility can benefit from this type of maintenance software.