Guide to Creating Effective Work Orders 

November 21, 2022

A Work Order is a standardized document that clearly explains a task to be completed, who is responsible for completing the task, and the time frame for completion. It also lists other people involved in the task, including who authorized the work, and details what is expected upon completion. 

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All types of WOs are used in the manufacturing sector to ensure that reactive and preventive maintenance are completed according to instructions promptly, safely, and consistently across organizations. 

When done well, a standardized Work Order process helps maintenance teams, asset managers, and mechanics keep on top of maintenance to improve efficiency.

“Digital work management: work gets done faster, cheaper, better.”


The Work-Order Lifecycle 

Creating Work Orders includes the following steps:

  • Identify maintenance work to be completed 
  • Get authorization for work, if necessary
  • Create Work Order
  • Assign and prioritize WO
  • Complete work and get sign off, if necessary
  • Close Work Order
  • Analyze assigned work for process improvement

Reviewing and analyzing completed Work Orders is essential for continuous improvement, giving facility managers and maintenance teams valuable real-life data on their reactive and preventive maintenance efficiency and productivity. 

How to Create a Maintenance WO (Step-by-Step)

Following the above lifecycle, here is a real-life example of the process that flows through an organization from need identification to completion. 

  1. Identify: A maintenance manager notices that a steam valve is leaking in the plant room.
  2. Authorize: The maintenance manager authorizes the repair work to be completed. 
  3. Create: A WO is created detailing the issue, what is required to repair it, how quickly it needs to be repaired, and the approximate cost of parts and labor. 
  4. Assign: The maintenance manager schedules and assigns the task to a repair technician on his team or contacts the valve’s supplier if a specialist maintenance crew is required.
  5. Prioritize: The repair technician reviews his workload and adds the task to his scheduled work based on the urgency noted in the WO.
  6. Complete: The repair is made, and the steam valve is successfully put back into service. The technician signs off on the task. 

What to Include in a WO Template?

The template should include the company’s details, the people involved in the repair or maintenance process, and a description of the work required. The work order also contains a list of any materials, parts, labor, and an estimated total cost. 

There are many examples of downloadable templates online. However, if you are not using a CMMS like MaintainX, these templates are primarily printable forms that require the information to be manually entered. 

Effective Work Orders include the following information:

  • Name of person requesting the work
  • Name of person approving the work
  • Date and time of the request
  • Asset that requires attention 
  • Detailed description of the work (with photos)
  • Tools and equipment needed for repair
  • Estimate of hours 
  • Estimate of cost
  • Priority (low to high) of work
  • Expected completion date
  • Safety issues or special permits required (e.g., Lockout/Tagout procedures, confined space permits, OSHA regulations)
  • Task or procedure checklist

The easiest way to create, manage, and maintain this detailed information in a work order is to use computerized maintenance management software (CMMS). The best CMMS allows manufacturers to create and assign the work through an easy-to-use app.

Work Order

Using a mobile-first digital platform to manage Work Orders ensures that everyone involved in the process knows the status of the work. This workflow helps improve productivity and offers a scalable way to manage the process. 

Tools for Creating Work Orders

As mentioned above, there are plenty of paper-based forms out there, but the most efficient tool to create a Work Order is a digital app. 

A range of CMMS platforms can make creating a Work Order more efficient. MaintainX, for example, allows you to sync with different asset management software, meter reading, and other integrations essential to improving overall production.

MaintainX offers these features and helps you manage, track, and schedule unlimited Work Orders with ease. It provides a simple way to look after preventive maintenance programs, monitor spare parts, communicate with other technicians, and track maintenance in real-time, all in one platform, on a mobile device or desktop.

Find out how to create and store unlimited Work Orders in the cloud or create a free account to get started.

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Caroline Eisner
Caroline Eisner
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