Optimizing Work Order Management: Best Practices for Efficiency



Efficient work order management is essential for optimizing operational efficiency and productivity in industrial operations. By effectively managing work orders, organizations can reduce downtime, minimize errors, and ensure the efficient allocation of resources. Leveraging technology and implementing best practices in work order management can streamline processes, improve coordination, and drive overall operational efficiency.

In this article, we will explore the importance of efficient work order management and its impact on operational performance. We will discuss strategies for creating and assigning work orders, evaluating and improving current work order processes, and leveraging technology for streamlined processes and improved coordination. Additionally, we will examine real-world examples of organizations that have successfully implemented efficient work order management practices and the benefits they have achieved. By understanding and implementing these strategies, organizations can optimize their work order management processes and enhance operational efficiency.

1. Understanding the Importance of Efficient Work Order Management

Effective work order management is the backbone of successful industrial operations. It ensures that tasks are well-defined, properly allocated, and carefully tracked, leading to an increase in productivity and overall operational proficiency. By adhering to the best practices in work order management, organizations can significantly reduce downtime, decrease errors, and ensure efficient utilization of resources.

Take Fujitsu Network Communications, for instance, a prominent designer and manufacturer of fiber optic transmission products. The company faced challenges managing over 13,000 orders per month due to a shipment process that heavily relied on manual data entry. To overcome this, Fujitsu adopted a new material handling system proposed by Cisco Eagle, ultimately integrating a carton flow rack system, conveyors, and automated weighing and sorting. This innovative solution enabled Fujitsu to process 20 orders in five minutes, a substantial improvement from the previous rate of five minutes per order. The system also eliminated the need for manual data entry, thereby enhancing accuracy and efficiency.

Another example is Hertz, a car rental company that utilized CMW Lab's low-code workflow software to streamline capex approval processes and improve capital productivity. Hertz needed a flexible solution to access projects in a single place due to multiple separate Excel files for different business units within finance. The adoption of CMW Lab's BPM software effectively streamlined Hertz's business processes.

These examples highlight the transformative potential of effective work order management. Key strategies that can be implemented for efficient work order management include having a centralized system for managing work orders, using technology to automate and streamline processes, prioritizing preventive maintenance, and fostering effective communication and collaboration among teams.

For instance, implementing a streamlined and automated system, such as digital work order management software, can simplify the creation, assignment, and tracking of work orders. This software should have features like real-time notifications, mobile access, and integration with other systems. Moreover, implementing standardized processes and workflows can help reduce errors and delays, ensuring that work orders are completed efficiently.

Efficient work order management in industrial operations can lead to improved productivity, reduced downtime, and enhanced overall operational efficiency. By having a well-managed work order system, organizations can minimize errors, improve communication between teams, and optimize resource allocation. Furthermore, efficient work order management enables better tracking and analysis of maintenance activities, supporting data-driven decision making and proactive maintenance strategies.

Overall, whether it's Fujitsu's implementation of a new material handling system or Hertz's use of low-code workflow software, adopting efficient work order management systems and leveraging the power of technology can significantly enhance operational efficiency and productivity.

2. The Lifecycle of a Work Order: An Overview

Comprehending the nuances of the work order lifecycle is a cornerstone for boosting operational efficiency. This lifecycle encompasses several crucial stages, from the inception of a request to the eventual closure of a work order. Each stage necessitates comprehensive management to ensure tasks are completed effectively and efficiently.

The lifecycle springs into action with the submission of a request, signaling a need for work to be undertaken. This request evolves into a detailed work order, which is then allocated to the appropriate party or department for execution. To streamline this process, a digital system can be implemented, allowing for easy submission and tracking of work orders. This eliminates the need for manual paperwork, reducing the chances of errors or delays.

During the execution stage, the tasks outlined in the work order are carried out. This stage requires vigilant monitoring to ensure the work aligns with the work order's stipulations and is on track for timely completion. A well-designed and integrated system can significantly aid this process, with features such as real-time work order tracking, automated scheduling and dispatching, and seamless communication between technicians and supervisors.

Once the tasks are successfully completed, the work order enters the closure stage. This stage involves the customer or supervisor accepting the completed work. In some instances, work orders that have been completed previously may be closed to make way for new ones. To improve this closure process, efficient communication channels between different departments involved in the work order process should be established. In addition, using a centralized system or software to track and manage work orders can help ensure timely completion and closure.

The lifecycle of a work order symbolizes a continuous cycle of improvement. By understanding the stages in this lifecycle, organizations can pinpoint potential bottlenecks and areas that require enhancement. A commitment to continuous improvement, coupled with the implementation of best practices, such as clear communication channels, standardized workflows, regular monitoring, and data analysis related to work order performance, can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of work order management. Implementing these strategies enables organizations to optimize their maintenance operations and achieve efficient execution of work orders.

3. Submitting a Work Request: Key Steps and Considerations

The first step in the work order cycle is the submission of a job request, which should ideally contain all the necessary information about the task. The details covered should include the nature of the task, the location for its execution, and any specific requirements. The importance of a standardized method for lodging these requests cannot be overstated, as it ensures that all the requisite information is included, and that tasks are ranked effectively based on their priority.

In order to standardize the work request submission process and promote efficiency, transparency, and consistency in handling work requests, you can follow these steps:

Detailed information in work requests is critical for effective communication, proper planning, and successful execution of tasks or projects. Without detailed information, there is a higher chance of miscommunication or misunderstandings, which can lead to delays, errors, or the need for additional clarification. Additionally, detailed information helps prioritize and allocate resources appropriately, as it provides a comprehensive view of the scope and requirements of the work.

To effectively manage tasks, it is beneficial to use work request templates. These templates provide a standardized format for submitting and tracking tasks, making task management more efficient. By utilizing work request templates, teams can easily communicate task details, assign responsibilities, set deadlines, and track progress.

To streamline the work order process and standardize work requests, it is important to implement a centralized system that can manage and track all work orders. This system should allow users to easily submit standardized work requests, which can then be assigned, tracked, and monitored throughout the entire process.

To improve task prioritization through standardized work requests, it is important to establish clear guidelines and processes for submitting and managing work requests. This can be achieved by implementing a centralized work request system where employees can submit their requests in a standardized format. The system should include fields for capturing important details such as the nature of the request, its priority level, required resources, and expected timeline.

A standardized work request process can provide several benefits. It helps streamline and automate the process of submitting and managing work requests, ensuring consistency and efficiency. By standardizing the format and requirements for work requests, it becomes easier for teams to communicate and understand the scope of the requested work. This can lead to improved collaboration and reduced misunderstandings. Additionally, a standardized work request process can help prioritize and track work requests, ensuring that they are addressed in a timely manner. This can enhance productivity and customer satisfaction. Overall, a standardized work request process can bring clarity, efficiency, and accountability to the work request process.

4. Creating and Assigning a Work Order: A Comprehensive Guide

The evolution of an initial work request into a formalized work order, and its subsequent delegation to the relevant team or individual, is a pivotal stage in the work order lifecycle. This phase demands the thorough integration of all details from the initial appeal, supplemented with any extra directives or resources required to successfully accomplish the task.

The genesis of a work order goes beyond a mere administrative step; it's an opportunity to foster improved coordination and maintain a dependable schedule, similar to the Last Planner System (LPS) and pull planning methodologies employed in construction projects. These approaches have demonstrated their ability to enhance stakeholder engagement, streamline work sequencing and handoffs, thereby contributing to increased efficiency.

During this process, the work order should specify the exact milestone being aimed for and provide clear, comprehensive details about the activities involved. This includes recognizing the prerequisites necessary for work initiation and avoiding the inclusion of hidden contingencies in durations to uphold a reliable schedule. This degree of transparency and detail is crucial to prevent confusion and ensure that the work order serves as a comprehensive guide for the assigned team or individual.

Furthermore, akin to the way the Last Planner System includes milestone pull planning sessions and weekly work plan discussions, similar mechanisms can be incorporated into the work order management process. Regular check-ins and updates can ensure alignment among all parties and that the work is progressing as planned.

The delegation of the work order is another critical facet of this process. It's more than just assigning the task to a team or individual, it's about ensuring that the assignment is made strategically, considering the expertise and capacity of the team or individual. This demands a collaborative approach, similar to the pull planning sessions in construction projects, where continuous collaboration among trade partner foremen is encouraged to guarantee optimal coordination.

In this context, the principles of lean management, as advocated by Keyan Zandy, CEO of Skiles Group and co-author of "The Lean Builder," can provide valuable insights. These principles stress the importance of open-mindedness, collaboration, and courage in exploring new methods of planning and execution, which can be directly applied to the work order creation and assignment process.

The ultimate aim of this process is to set the stage for efficient and effective execution of the work, thereby contributing to overall operational performance. By leveraging best practices from methodologies such as LPS and pull planning, organizations can ensure their work order management process is optimized for maximum efficiency.

5. Essential Elements to Include in a Work Order for Optimal Efficiency

The creation of a well-structured work order is an art that requires careful planning and attention to detail. This involves outlining the task specifics, identifying the exact location for task execution, assigning appropriate personnel, estimating the time frame for completion, and listing all necessary materials or tools. These components, when thoughtfully integrated, can accelerate task execution by ensuring the availability of all required resources when needed.

A work order's effectiveness can be substantially improved by focusing on five essential areas. The first one is identifying the right people with the necessary skills for the task. This also includes labor estimates, specifying the number of workers needed and the duration for task completion. Secondly, pinpointing the right place accurately to lessen time spent on travel, investigation, and setup.

The third critical component is determining the right time. This involves finding optimal opportunities for accessing the work site and setting expectations for task initiation or completion. The fourth one involves identifying, procuring, and making available the right parts, tools, and equipment before scheduling the task. This also includes arranging for any additional specialty tools and equipment that may be needed.

Finally, a complete work package should incorporate specifications, permits, potential hazards, work instructions, and relevant documentation. Addressing these five components with enough detail increases the chances of completing the task within the scheduled window with minimal delays.

In the realm of lean construction, methods like the Last Planner System and Pull Planning can be employed for improved work order management efficiency. The adoption of these methods can lead to better coordination, trade partner buy-in, and a more reliable schedule. Continuous collaboration and work sequencing discussions can enhance a project's work flow.

Adopting these methods requires an openness to exploring new planning techniques, a clear understanding of the milestones being pulled, readiness to seek guidance on phasing and direction of flow, clarity and completeness in providing details on pull plan cards, and an understanding of the prerequisites for work initiation. It's also crucial to avoid hiding float/contingencies in durations and to exhibit courage, collaboration, and open-mindedness during pull planning sessions.

In essence, detailed planning and a comprehensive approach to work order management can notably enhance operational efficiency, leading to increased productivity and effectiveness. By following best practices, clear task descriptions, location information, and ensuring the availability of materials and equipment, you can create a well-structured work order. Also, regular reviews and updates of the work order as necessary, including monitoring progress, making adjustments, and documenting any changes or deviations from the original plan, can further promote efficiency and effectiveness.

6. Exploring Different Types of Work Orders: Their Role in Efficiency

Work orders, a key component in the machinery of efficiency, come in various forms, each serving a unique role in enabling a smooth workflow. An example of this is preventive maintenance work orders. These work orders are vital in planning recurring maintenance activities that are crucial in preventing equipment failures and minimizing downtime. By scheduling regular maintenance tasks using maintenance management systems or software, equipment life is extended, and unexpected breakdowns are reduced, leading to fewer disruptions in operations. These systems have features that allow scheduling and management of preventive maintenance tasks, setting up recurring work orders for specific equipment or assets based on their maintenance requirements. The system will automatically generate work orders at the scheduled intervals, prompting technicians to perform the necessary maintenance tasks. This proactive approach helps prevent equipment failures and minimizes unplanned downtime.

On the other hand, there are corrective work orders, which are designed to address specific issues or malfunctions. These work orders play a vital role in resolving issues swiftly and efficiently. When a piece of equipment or system malfunctions, a corrective work order is issued to rectify the problem. This ensures that any issues are dealt with promptly, minimizing the impact on overall operations and ensuring that workflows are not significantly disrupted. To prioritize corrective work orders, an evaluation of the urgency of the issue is needed. This evaluation takes into account factors such as the impact on operations, the criticality of the asset or equipment, and the potential for escalation if left unresolved. A clear priority system is established, and a work order management system is implemented that allows tracking and prioritizing corrective work orders. This system provides visibility into the status of each work order, enabling the assignment of priorities accordingly.

The use of Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) software, such as FTMaintenance, can aid in implementing best practices in work order management. Through features like categorizing work order types, notifications, documentation review, work order histories, and maintenance schedule planning, these software can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of work order management.

Understanding the functionality of work orders in such software is imperative for driving maintenance efficiency. By leveraging these tools, companies can ensure that their work order management processes are streamlined and efficient, leading to improved operational performance.

However, it's essential to remember that the work order management process isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. It requires continuous refinement and adjustment to suit the unique needs and challenges of each organization. By understanding the different types of work orders, their roles, and how to effectively manage them, companies can significantly enhance their operational efficiency and effectiveness.

7. Leveraging Technology for Streamlined Processes and Improved Coordination

In the realm of work order management, technological advancements have brought about significant improvements. Platforms like Makini have emerged as pivotal elements in this transformation. Makini's universal API has revolutionized industrial maintenance and asset management systems by enabling seamless data integration and real-time retrieval. This has fostered enhanced interdepartmental coordination and boosted operational efficiency.

Take for instance, the application of this technology in Pura Building Cleaning, a mid-sized German firm providing cleaning services. To optimize their operations, Pura collaborated with Makandra to create a web application. This application, accessible via tablets, facilitates property managers to service over 800 properties efficiently. During on-site inspections, managers can input cleanliness-related data, take photos, and create detailed checklists for reporting. All the information, including proof of performance, is stored on a central server and is immediately available to Pura's back office, providing a live overview of the status, satisfaction, and cleanliness of all serviced properties.

This application not only expedites workflows and reduces errors but also allows access from any location. It aids property managers in scheduling resources by providing a list of upcoming inspections and due dates. It further recommends properties that are close to the user and have an impending inspection, thus conserving fuel and time.

The application also manages cleaning personnel, tracks working permits and required training courses, and manages cleaning tools and spare parts. This comprehensive management system can help prevent defects from improper use through additional training. The application, which was developed in just two months, has digitized and mobilized Pura Building Cleaning's core business process.

Another transformative platform in work order management is Bizagi. This intelligent process automation platform facilitates the building and modernization of apps and processes. It offers capabilities like process automation, low code apps, enterprise orchestration, process improvement, and process mining, among others.

Bizagi has proven particularly effective in modernizing investment management operations. It integrates with SAP and offers intelligent process automation and artificial intelligence capabilities. Tecpetrol, a leading Argentinian oil and gas company, utilized Bizagi to document 300 business processes across 10 departments. The processes were stored in a central web repository, significantly enhancing transparency and efficiency across the business.

Leveraging technological platforms like Makini and Bizagi can bring about a considerable change in work order management processes. It facilitates seamless integration, real-time data retrieval, and improved coordination between departments, significantly enhancing overall operational efficiency.

To use the Makini API for work order management, you can use the base URL "https://www.makini.io". This allows you to automate and streamline your work order management processes. Furthermore, Makini provides various integrations and use cases for organizations. It provides solutions for advanced maintenance and offers features such as Oracle Fusion Cloud Warehouse Management integration.

Makini's API allows integration with industrial maintenance systems, which can be set up following specific steps. It also provides best practices guidelines for asset management. To optimize work order management with Makini, you can leverage its integration capabilities with other systems such as Oracle Fusion Cloud Warehouse Management and Infor WMS. This helps streamline your work order management processes and improve overall efficiency.

To implement the Makini API for work order management, you can use specific code snippets for authentication, retrieving, creating, updating, and deleting work orders. By following these best practices, you can ensure a smooth and efficient integration of the Makini API for asset management into your workflows.

8. Evaluating Your Current Work Order Process: Strategies for Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is a key tenet of effective work order management, requiring regular evaluation of existing processes, identifying areas for improvement, and making necessary adjustments. For instance, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, the largest wine and spirits distributor in the country, collaborated with Bastian Solutions to upgrade their operations at their distribution center in Wilsonville, Oregon. The integration of a new conveyor system, pick modules, and software led to impressive results, including a 38% increase in cartons sorted per day, accuracy rates above 99.5%, and improved delivery times.

Similarly, Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. adopted a new material handling system to boost the efficiency of their manifesting and processing area. This resulted in a drastic improvement in their order processing speed, from an average of five minutes per order to handling twenty orders in five minutes, with some orders processed in as few as 12 seconds. The system also automated the process of sending shipping information to Fujitsu's order administration department, allowing for real-time execution of the billing process.

These case studies underscore the potential benefits of continuous improvement in work order management. The process involves constant evaluation and refinement of procedures, leading to optimal efficiency and effectiveness.

To achieve this, organizations can adopt several best practices. For example, standardizing work order processes ensures consistency and reduces errors. Implementing a digital work order management system improves visibility and enables real-time updates. Regularly reviewing and updating work order templates ensure they capture all necessary information, minimizing delays and confusion. Providing training to employees involved in work order management ensures they understand the processes and can effectively use the software. Regularly monitoring and analyzing key performance metrics related to work order management, such as completion time, backlog, and accuracy, can help identify areas for improvement and implement necessary changes. Finally, fostering a culture of continuous improvement encourages employees to provide feedback and suggestions for improving work order management processes.

Organizations can also consider implementing various strategies to evaluate and improve work order processes. Performing a thorough analysis of the existing work order processes, identifying any bottlenecks or inefficiencies, and benchmarking against industry best practices are useful approaches. Technology solutions that can streamline and automate work order processes, such as work order management systems that enable easy tracking and monitoring of work orders, can also be beneficial. Regular performance monitoring and measurement using key performance indicators (KPIs) related to work order processing time, accuracy, and customer satisfaction can provide valuable insights. Lastly, fostering a culture of continuous improvement by encouraging feedback and suggestions from employees involved in the work order processes can help drive meaningful changes and enhancements.

There are several tools and software solutions available to help optimize work order management. These solutions typically offer features such as work order tracking, scheduling, resource allocation, and reporting. Some popular options include computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), enterprise asset management (EAM) software, and field service management (FSM) software.

When implementing changes in work order processes, it is important to clearly define the objectives and goals of the changes. Regularly monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the changes is essential to identify any potential issues or areas for improvement. Adopting a proactive approach to work order management improvement can help organizations identify and address potential issues before they become larger problems, minimizing downtime, reducing costs, and improving overall efficiency.

Organizations that have achieved efficiency through continuous improvement in work order management include those that have implemented streamlined processes, standardized procedures, and integrated technology solutions. By adopting lean principles and regularly reviewing and optimizing their work order management systems, these organizations have been able to reduce waste, improve productivity, and enhance overall operational efficiency.

To measure the effectiveness of work order management improvements, it is essential to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and track relevant metrics. Some common KPIs for measuring the effectiveness of work order management improvements include reduction in work order completion time, increase in on-time work order completion, decrease in work order backlog, and increase in work order accuracy. To measure these metrics, data can be collected from the work order management system and analyzed regularly.

For training and resources on implementing continuous improvement in work order management, you can visit the Makini.io website. They offer integrations with Oracle Fusion Cloud Warehouse Management and SAP Extended Warehouse Management, which may provide the necessary tools and resources for improving work order management processes.


Efficient work order management is crucial for optimizing operational efficiency and productivity in industrial operations. By effectively managing work orders, organizations can reduce downtime, minimize errors, and ensure the efficient allocation of resources. The importance of efficient work order management and its impact on operational performance have been discussed in this article. Strategies for creating and assigning work orders, evaluating and improving current work order processes, and leveraging technology for streamlined processes and improved coordination have been explored. Real-world examples have demonstrated the benefits of implementing efficient work order management practices.

Efficient work order management in industrial operations leads to improved productivity, reduced downtime, and enhanced overall operational efficiency. By having a well-managed work order system, organizations can minimize errors, improve communication between teams, and optimize resource allocation. Furthermore, efficient work order management enables better tracking and analysis of maintenance activities, supporting data-driven decision making and proactive maintenance strategies. Implementing these strategies allows organizations to optimize their work order management processes and enhance operational efficiency.

To achieve maximum efficiency in work order management, organizations should consider leveraging technology solutions such as Makini's universal API. This platform enables seamless data integration and real-time retrieval, enhancing coordination between departments and boosting operational efficiency. By implementing best practices in work order management, organizations can streamline processes, improve coordination, and drive overall operational efficiency. To learn more about how Makini's Unified API can help optimize your organization's work order management processes, schedule a demo with one of their integration experts at Learn how Makini’s Unified API can help you build 100+ product integrations with ease by scheduling a demo with one of our integration experts.

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