Types of Maintenance Work Orders

Maintenance Work Orders are essential to the smooth running of every maintenance team. The best Work Orders provide structured, repeatable, standardized processes to ensure assets are kept running as efficiently as possible.

These Work Orders also help teams delegate and execute their responsibilities reliably through clear shared documentation.

Using a CMMS is one of the easiest ways to ensure service and maintenance Work Orders don’t fall through the cracks. The best CMMS software uses alerts and automation rules to ensure everyone involved knows what needs to be done and when.

In this article, we take a closer look at how Work Orders are used in the workplace, create a Work Order, and manage Work Orders throughout an organization so that work is completed on time, safely, and efficiently.

What Are the Different Types of Maintenance Work Orders?

There are several types of Work Orders that maintenance technicians, facilities management teams, and asset managers encounter in their day-to-day work. For the most part, these are internal work orders detailing maintenance work that has already been approved.

These include repair Work Orders for broken, out-of-service equipment, and service Work Orders for periodic maintenance, scheduled cleaning, or specific lubrication schedules. Service Work Orders also are used to maintain equipment not running optimally.

For Repairs

Repair Work Orders are used when equipment fails or breaks down unexpectedly–they also are used for Corrective Maintenance (CM) and/or Reactive Maintenance (RM). Primarily unscheduled, repair Work Orders need to be created on-demand to get vital equipment back up and running.

This type of Work Order is used when equipment is out of service and needs to be recommissioned or an asset is broken and needs fixing. They are often urgent tasks that need to be completed quickly and efficiently–and safely–so they don’t negatively affect productivity.

For Service

Service Work Orders ensure scheduled maintenance, cleaning, or repairs are undertaken regularly. These also are used for replacing machine parts with a limited life, such as mining drill wear parts.

Preventive Maintenance Work Orders

Work Orders also are used for preventive maintenance (PM), which covers tasks such as cleaning, inspecting, or replacing parts at regularly scheduled times or intervals dictated by a specific amount of use. Computerized maintenance management systems allow managers to schedule preventive maintenance work with the click of a button.

“Companies that have digitized and automated their maintenance processes now showa significant increase in labor productivity and a 20 to 30 percent reduction in maintenance costs.”


For example, equipment that has 500 hours in active service may require lubrication, belt changes, or cleaning. Preventive maintenance also can be as simple as repainting an asset to ensure continued protection against the weather.  

Predictive Maintenance Work Orders

Predictive maintenance is similar to preventative maintenance, with historical data logs or real-time reports used to accurately estimate when to schedule a Work Order for a particular task.

An example of predictive maintenance is a filter change on an excavator–a task prompted by fuel consumption data logs indicating an increase in emissions readings.

Daily Work Orders

Daily Work Orders are ideal when recurring tasks need to be completed each day. These daily tasks often include routine safety inspections.

This Work Order type can be used when a large and complex job needs to be broken up over multiple days. It may require dividing the various components or steps of the job. For example, carrying out maintenance on dozens of fire extinguishers across a large and sprawling site may happen over several days. They help plan out the overall task in a manageable way.

Where Are Work Orders Used?

Work Orders are used across industries needing ongoing internal asset maintenance or maintenance and repair tasks as part of official customer agreements.

Industries That Use Work Orders

  • Manufacturing
  • Facilities management and HVAC
  • Hospitality, food, and beverage
  • Education and schools
  • Field service and inspection crews, e.g., power and utilities
  • Municipal and local governments
  • Clubs and associations

When to Create a Work Order

Work Orders are necessary whenever a piece of equipment or an asset needs attention. These can be urgent repairs and equipment failures, scheduled maintenance, part replacements, or service calls.

MaintainX can help you create effective Work Orders. Follow this guide to creating a preventive maintenance Work Order, or see how easy it is to enter a Work Order using the MaintainX app.

“By interacting with a digital environment in a realistic way, quality compliance, production and logistic efficiency can be increased, as can the self-learning and training opportunities that enable the workforce to adapt to their changing environment.”


Online vs. Offline Maintenance Management Systems

Using a CMMS to Manage Work Orders

A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is software designed to centralize maintenance information and procedures.

CMMS, such as MaintainX, helps maintenance teams manage Work Orders, track vehicle inventories or equipment, conduct inspections, and refer to standard procedures.

This keeps everyone informed of Work Orders and requests, improves communication, and increases efficiency across the organization.

Manually Managing Work Orders

An alternative way to manage planned and unplanned work is offline with paper hardcopy forms. These can either be offline, pen-and-paper forms, or online PDFs. However, in both cases, the information contained in them is static.

This means that creating a streamlined process for large teams is difficult, as there is no “single source of truth” or centralized database that is continually up to date.

Many businesses find that managing maintenance offline is unwieldy and hard to track, leading to an uptick in the number of companies implementing cloud-based maintenance work order management apps.

Start Creating Work Orders with MaintainX

Work Orders are necessary whenever a piece of equipment or an asset needs attention. As we covered above, this could be urgent repairs, scheduled maintenance, part changes, or service checks.

MaintainX has several resources to help you create effective Work Orders. Take a look at this guide to creating a preventive maintenance Work Order.

author photo
Caroline Eisner

Caroline Eisner is a writer and editor with experience across the profit and nonprofit sectors, government, education, and financial organizations. She has held leadership positions in K16 institutions and has led large-scale digital projects, interactive websites, and a business writing consultancy.

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