Your Guide to Choosing Facility Maintenance Work Order Software

April 14, 2021 in Maintenance



Your Guide to Choosing Facility Maintenance Work Order Software
Table of Contents

Keeping a facility running in optimal condition 24/7 isn’t easy.

Facility managers (FMs) must continually prioritize operational expenses, capital improvements, and various departmental costs to keep organizations running smoothly. 

Facility management involves a broad scope of activities, including financial and performance management, real estate management, asset management, occupancy management, and facility maintenance management. Is it any wonder FMs sometimes find themselves feeling overwhelmed?

Hardly anyone notices when a facility manager (FM) is doing the job well. Stakeholders seldom give thought to the many moving pieces behind the scenes. 

However, the minute an old HVAC unit breaks down on a summer day, you better believe everyone is looking to management to fix the equipment breakdown immediately! One of the easiest ways for FMs to organize competing tasks is with modern, cloud-based software. 

In this article, we’ll explore the types of software available to facility managers with an emphasis on facility maintenance work order software. After reading, you will better understand how the platforms work and the benefits they provide. 

Your Guide to Choosing Facility Maintenance Work Order Software

work order software
MaintainX Work Order Software Dashboard

FMs need to be able to prioritize executing competing hard and soft responsibilities with limited resources. Soft services—cleaning, landscaping, security systems—improve the wellbeing of stakeholders in the workplace. Alternatively, hard services—electrical, plumbing, mechanical—keep physical facilities in working order so occupants can achieve their goals. 

The objective is always to keep stakeholders safe, comfortable, and productive. As this guide’s title suggests, the easiest way to leave no stone unturned is to use facility maintenance work order software and facility management software. Before we delve into the software’s capabilities, let’s take a quick look at the current state of facility management. 

The State of Facility Maintenance Management

If you’re still relying on manual processes to oversee O&M activities, you’re not alone. 

According to Plant Engineering’s 2019 Facility Maintenance Report, 45 percent of facilities still use in-house spreadsheets for maintenance management, and 39 percent employ paper records for tracking maintenance rounds. 

Courtesy of Plant Engineering

The statistics are surprising given that 78 percent of facilities follow some kind of preventive maintenance (PM) strategy to maintain essential assets. Facilities PM programs a) reduce unnecessary downtime and b) extend asset longevity. 

Fewer unexpected breakdowns translate to more efficient production timelines, improved customer experiences, and fewer outsourced expenses. And longer-lasting assets translate to fewer frequent replacement purchases over time. Who wouldn’t want results like that? Let’s take a closer look at the experience of working with modern facility maintenance work order software: 

What Is Facility Maintenance Work Order Software?

Facility maintenance work order software is a tool that allows facility managers to effectively assign, track, and manage digital work orders from a central database. It provides FMs with real-time status updates, digital audit trails, and a cross-indexed database of tangible assets. 

Essentially, the software automates routine O&M tasks so managers can spend more time implementing high-level strategies and less time worrying over extraneous details. 

facility maintenance work order software

You can use facility maintenance work order software to:

  • Create work orders for both planned and unplanned maintenance tasks
  • Collect, assess, and analyze time and cost metrics for more efficient decision-making
  • Instant message maintenance technicians to troubleshoot unforeseen issues
  • Outsource specialized tasks to third-party contractors 
  • Automate mechanical PMs based on triggered meter readings 
  • Track parts and inventory for minimum quantity levels

The term facility maintenance work order software is often used interchangeably with the term computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). And that’s because, in today’s marketplace, they are essentially the same product. 

If anything, some outliers may only advertise themselves as facility maintenance work order software because their platforms only allow for basic work order scheduling, tracking, and digital filing. Alternatively, a complete CMMS solution goes beyond basic work order management. 

Software Options Often Confused with Work Order Software

Facility maintenance work order software is sometimes confused with Facility Management Software (FMS) and Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM). 

FMS is often referred to as Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM). Ultimately, the software solutions allow FMs to improve long-term planning for facility spaces, services, and budgets. 

Though the platforms serve similar purposes, their overall focus and functions are different. While facility maintenance software primarily focuses on maintenance and asset management, FMS helps FMs automate all aspects of facility management, including soft services like customer service requests and room reservations. 

CAFM software solutions can be integrated with facility maintenance software solutions using API technologies. In plain language, that means data from both programs can “talk to each other” to provide a more complete picture of facility happenings. Let’s look at some other common confusions and misconceptions of FM software in our next section. 

Common Misconceptions about FM Software

The reasons for sticking with outdated facility management methods are multi-faceted. However, the primary cause is based on a handful of common misconceptions.

Smaller facilities often assume FM software options are:

  • Complicated to use
  • Expensive to purchase
  • Difficult to launch

The good news is that these assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth. Organizations of all sizes can now track unlimited assets, assign recurring work orders, streamline team communication systems, and glean cost-savings insights for nominal monthly fees. 

And it’s all thanks to SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms that store data in the cloud. Instead of paying the full cost of data center operations on your own—labor, networking, backup/recovery, hardware, software— you can now split the cost amongst several fellow application users. 

For example, MaintainX offers a Basic Plan with limited features for FREE, an Essential Plan with enhanced features for $8.33/ per user monthly, and a Premium Plan with comprehensive features for $32.50/ per user monthly. The facility maintenance work order software also includes a mobile-friendly version specifically designed with offline mode functionality for field workers.

The Benefits of Switching to Work Order Software

We’ve already summarized some of the benefits of using facility maintenance work order software over analog systems. But here’s a closer look at the core benefits provided: 

  • Improves Repair and Maintenance Management: The primary goal of facility management is to ensure all assets are working in optimal conditions. This involves the proactive scheduling of required maintenance activities. The right work order software makes it easy to submit, track, and ensure the completion of work orders. 
  • Extends Asset Lifespan: Frequent asset breakdowns cause assets to wear out faster. This is why most facilities now practice preventive maintenance. Facility maintenance work order software allows facility managers to develop robust asset maintenance schedules, which not only improve asset uptimes but increase asset longevity. 
  • Centralizes Asset Management: Facility maintenance work order software provides a single and centralized platform for comprehensive record-keeping of tangible company assets and their locations. Storing all maintenance records and work history in the cloud provides the benefit of simplified asset tagging, warranty tracking, and audit inspection preparation. Put simply, it’s a game-changer!
  • Provides Efficient Parts and Supply Management: The software gives an easy mechanism for sourcing and buying approved maintenance parts and supplies. It allows FMs to streamline purchasing, eliminate inefficient stockroom practices, and save money. 
  • Offers Better Proposal Management: Some work order platforms offer digital Request for Proposal (RFP) management. The feature allows FMs to quickly send an RFP to contractors, monitor its status, and accept contracts.
  • Reduces O&M  Costs: You already know PM is essential to keeping maintenance costs down. But facility maintenance work order software takes things a step further with advanced reporting capabilities. Generate time-based reports to provide insights into PM program effectiveness. 

Now that we’ve covered the many benefits of the software, let’s dive into the features.

7 Features to Prioritize in Facility Maintenance Work Order Software

facility maintenance work order software
MaintainX Mobile—Facility Maintenance Work Order Software

While most work order software providers include overlapping core features, not all options are the same. Budgetary considerations aside, choose a platform that satisfies your department’s unique maintenance needs. Features worth prioritizing may include: 

  • Cloud-Based: A cloud-based facility maintenance work order software provides much more flexibility. This enables you to get real-time updates from your team when they are working remotely. It improves the efficiency of your PM program.
  • Mobile-Friendly: The best work order systems are designed with mobile users in mind. FM managers and maintenance technicians are often on the move. Everyone should be able to access work orders, asset entries, and inventory information from their smartphones. They should also be able to snap a quick photo of any equipment issue and attach it directly to digital work orders within the app. 
  • Secure Document Storage: Keeping asset, maintenance, and PM documentation secure at all times is crucial. Prioritize providers that encrypt data as soon as it’s uploaded and store it under high-security standards in the cloud. 
  • Communication: FM software should support quick troubleshooting, instant messaging, and team collaboration. The best platforms provide commenting functionality directly within digital work orders. This feature keeps project developments neat, organized, and accessible. MaintainX goes a step further by providing users with both private and team messaging threads. 
  • Tracking Task Allocation: This feature allows FMs to monitor the progress of work orders assigned to team members and third-party contractors. Filter work orders to see which ones are completed and determine if further action is required.
  • Location Integration: Your work order software also should allow you to upload the building plan and assign maintenance tasks based on specific locations. This way, you can pinpoint the precise location where maintenance work is required. You can also attach photos when sending work orders to a maintenance technician or contractor.
  • Automated Notifications: Lastly, invest in work order software with automated notifications. This feature ensures team members won’t miss essential work requests, PM assignments, or time-sensitive facility announcements. 

Other features worth evaluating include advanced reporting capabilities, emergency maintenance planning, and customer support. We recommend making a list of your “must-haves” before reading customer reviews. Once you’ve narrowed your selections, download the providers’ free versions and seek answers to remaining questions before making a final purchase decision. 

Streamline Facility Maintenance with MaintainX

Facility managers no longer need to rely on manual management methods in 2021. Newer cloud-based software programs provide affordable, scalable, and user-friendly alternatives to stay on top of maintenance, repairs, and asset management. 

If you’re facing a mounting list of tasks in the face of compartmentalized analog systems, MaintainX is here for you. We designed our facility maintenance management app to streamline the work of both FMs and maintenance technicians. 

MaintainX is free to download and includes everything you need to begin creating work orders, communicating with staff, tracking assets, and identifying cost-savings opportunities right now. 

FAQ:

What are CAFM and CMMS?

Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) and Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) are software solutions used by facility managers to automate various processes. CAFM allows FMs to improve long-term planning for facility spaces, services, and budgets. It streamlines all potential aspects of facility management, including customer service requests and room reservations. Alternatively, CMMS focuses on asset, parts, SOP, and work order management. 

What Is the Best CAFM Software?

Many CAFM software solutions are available in the marketplace. While it can be difficult to settle on the best option, we recommend trying MaintainX. The platform’s free version includes unlimited work order creation, unlimited asset entries, and unlimited team messaging. We could brag about MaintainX’s other noteworthy features here, but our customers say it better than we can. Check out MaintainX’s hundreds of positive reviews listed in Capterra, Google Play, and the Apple App Store

What Is CMMS Software?

A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is maintenance software used to streamline and centralize maintenance processes and information. The software helps facility managers to optimize their preventive maintenance programs and increase the availability of assets. Click here to read The Ultimate CMMS Software Guide: Everything You Need to Know


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