Maintenance is an essential part of any manufacturing facility. When your business operations rely heavily on assets and equipment, you cannot afford to have unplanned downtime. It’s not just a problem with manufacturing – hotels, restaurants and office buildings need equipment to be working and management needs tools to keep everyone on the same page. When something inevitably breaks, the response time is absolutely critical. This is where work order software can be a game-changer.
When dealing with maintenance requests, you essentially have two options: assign a work order manually or use a software tool. Research shows that more than 50% of companies use work order software for maintenance management today.
This is because work order software comes with many benefits and features that you simply can’t get with traditional ‘offline’ maintenance management. Good work order management software simplifies work orders by letting you create and assign work orders instantly.
You can also track work orders easier than ever – some software solutions update the status in real-time. You can also get access to powerful analytics and reports that would otherwise take a lot of time to compile manually – assuming you could even read your technician’s handwriting.
If you’re planning to use a work order software or if you’re interested in switching from manual work order management to computerized work order management, this article is your best resource for everything related to work order software.
You won’t just get a list of software to choose from – rather you’ll learn how to evaluate work order management software, how to choose the right one for your organization, and review the best work order software on the market today.
What Is Work Order Software?
Work order software, simply put, helps manage work orders. When most people think of the term Work Order, they tend to think of something maintenance-related. However, the term is evolving to include any type of directive action. When your spouse asks you to take out the trash, that could technically be a work order. A walkthrough inspection performed by a safety manager could also technically be classified as a work order as well.
With modern work order software, you should be able to create, assign, and track work orders with your team with ease. A great work order software solution won’t require you to dramatically change your workflow, rather it just facilitates your existing processes to happen within the software with added benefits that improve efficiency.
What do we mean by added benefits? Let’s compare a workflow example with a ‘traditional’ process versus a modern process.
|Traditional Work Order System||Modern Work Order System|
|Work Order Delivery||A technician or team member is verbally told to fix something or picks up a paper work order from an office.||A technician or team member receives a digital work order notification on their phone when something is assigned to them.|
|Work Order Communication||If directions are unclear or something needs to be changed, the assignee must call or contact the assigner and discuss next steps. If the assigner isn't available, the Work Order is delayed indefinitely.||The technician can comment on a specific Work Order, put it on hold if necessary, and the assigner can reply with further instructions. No information falls 'in the cracks'.|
|Work Order History||If the paper Work Order was filled out correctly (and legibly), it must be returned the office and filed away in an organized manner. If it needs to be referenced later, it will require finding it and pulling it out at the office.||Work Orders can easily be searched directly, by assignee, by location or by asset and retrieved at your fingertips.|
|Asset Information||If the technician needs to reference warranty information or the Operator manual, he needs to hunt that information down and hope the office is organized enough to find it.||Asset details can be stored electronically and is instantly available at the technician's fingertips.|
|Reporting||Requires a very disciplined office staff to take each paper Work Order and compile handwritten details into a structured spreadsheet to present useful information.||Reporting happens in real-time as work orders are completed (or left unfinished).|
MaintainX, for instance, does an exceptionally great job at work order management. You can create unlimited work orders, assign them to your team, your teams can access work orders from their mobile or computer, comment directly on work orders, receive real-time updates and status notifications, and access insightful reports with a few clicks.
Everything works smoothly, automatically, and right on time.
Types of Work Order Software
Work order management software comes in different formats and is designed for unique use cases. Not all organizations like using CMMS tools for work order management so there is always room for different software.
1. Simple Work Order or Task Management Software
These are the specialized tools that are specifically developed for work order forms and management. This type of standalone work order software will help you create, manage, and track work orders only – nothing extra.
Standalone software is best suited to small businesses that don’t want to complicate processes and prefer simplicity.
A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) tool is more comprehensive and manages your company’s entire maintenance and repair system including work order management.
A work order management tool that comes with a CMMS tool is often used by large-scale organizations that are geographically dispersed. CMMS tools also focus heavily on managing critical equipment preventative maintenance schedules and asset history.
Field Service Management (FSM) tools are typically used by companies that have service teams working out in the field. Some of these tools are optimized to support invoicing clients for completed work. FSM tools come loaded with work order management tools that let you share work orders with your teams in the field right on time.
FSM work order software is helpful if you have to work with distributed teams that are located in different areas while needing to manage customer service records and send invoices.
Work Order Software Features
Finding the right work order management tool becomes easier if you know what to look for in work order software and how to evaluate and compare different tools.
Here’s a list of some of the key features that your work order software should have:
Work Order Form Creation
The first thing that you should look for in a work order software is its ability to create and manage work orders. After all, it’s the core feature.
Does it let you upload your own work order forms? Does it provide you with work order form templates? Does it offer web-based and mobile-responsive forms? Does it allow you to modify work order forms in real-time?
Another key feature is unlimited work orders. This feature helps you move in the right direction without any fear of utilizing your work order limit. It’s a key feature for businesses looking to grow fast.
Work Order Tracking
The best work order software lets you track work orders throughout the process. You can prioritize work orders, re-assign them, schedule them, track time and cost, and asset tracking.
Tracking cost and time for work orders individually is a great feature that helps you prioritize work orders and helps with cost-reduction. If a high-cost work order is being delayed, you can send a notification to the assignee or you can increase its priority level in the system.
Work Order Scheduling/Repeatability
Most businesses need to perform routine inspections or preventative maintenance at specific intervals. Automating those work orders can be a huge time saver and help prevent important maintenance or inspections from being forgotten.
The ability to create recurring work orders and auto-assigning similar work orders to the right employees are a couple of ways your software can automate work orders, including preventative maintenance.
This is a must-have feature for any work order program. If your work order software doesn’t have a simple to use mobile app, employees will always need access to a computer to update the progress of work order which is usually an impossible ask for workers who don’t spend most of their day behind a desk.
A software that is accessible for both desktop and mobile users should be your top priority in selecting a work order software. Mobile accessibility empowers your team to collaborate from the field and complete data entry in real-time. It also keeps everyone on the same page and allows your workforce to become more agile in the field if things change throughout the day.
Today, there are multi-billion dollar manufacturing companies that spend millions of dollars each year on phenomenal desktop-based work order software without a usable mobile interface. To account for this lack of mobile interface, they spend millions on data entry staff who collect completed paper work orders and enter them into their system. Even with this extensive (and expensive) human-powered system, their data still lags behind by more than a month!
Mobile accessibility is critical for providing important information that would otherwise be impossible to retrieve from the field. For instance, if a field worker needs to look up the asset history or how to perform a specific procedure, that information obviously can’t all be stored in a convenient fashion using paper.
Lastly, if your software allows workers to upload photos from their phones, it can increase accountability, increase the quality of information, and make collaboration a piece of cake.
When you use a work order management program, it should help you aggregate your data on asset management, downtime, cost, time, repair, materials, labor, and more. A powerful analytics feature will help you with decision-making across all levels and provide insights that would otherwise be difficult to spot.
You may determine that a certain machine has been breaking down more frequently than similar machines and needs to be replaced to prevent a breakdown. Analytics and reporting can also help you identify which team members are most efficient and which ones may need additional training to become more productive.
Best Work Order Software of 2020
With these features in mind, here is a list of the best work order software for 2020 that will help you create, track, and manage work orders seamlessly.
MaintainX is a complete work order management software solution that is easy enough for anyone on your team to pick up and use. Even on the MaintainX free plan, you can create unlimited work orders, invite unlimited users and create unlimited assets and locations. Creating, customizing, and managing work order forms is hassle-free with its intuitive design and form-building features.
One of the most popular features of MaintainX is the built-in collaboration that empowers your team to work together via comments on Work Orders, easily accessible asset history (who worked on this machine last?) and built-in messaging – including group messages, direct messages and comments/messages directly on Work Orders.
When your team’s communication and messages are centralized in one place, it easier for employees to collaborate, stay on the same page, and work more efficiently.
MaintainX supports multiple devices and can be accessed from any internet-enabled device, mobile, and tablet. It also offers native Android and iOS apps that empower team members to access, collaborate and update work orders on the go. For the first time, you’ll have full transparency of your entire team’s workflow.
Users can upload photos and annotate them (draw on) for clarity on requests, or problems in the field. Your employees can also upload photos of the equipment as proof of completion when they mark work orders complete.
Barcode scanning, reporting, inventory management, and team support provide robust functionality that allow advanced organizations to drive even more value with the platform.
Lastly, every action in MaintainX is time-stamped and recorded which creates a full audit log of everything your team has done and when they did it. Several organizations have already used MaintainX’s audit log as evidence to protect themselves from false claims against their business and said that with their system prior to MaintainX – they would’ve been out of luck.
Here is a list of the major features and
benefits of using MaintainX work order software:
- Custom Forms for procedures, inspections and work orders
- Super-fast and intuitive Work Order creation
- Real-time Work Order tracking and audit logs
- Unlimited messages
- Unlimited assets and location
- Work order repeatability and scheduling
- Barcode Scanning
- Create Teams and Multi-Org support
- Mobile apps and cross-device accessibility
- Photo, Video, and PDF support
- Inventory and Parts Management
- Third-party tool integration via API
Jobber is a field service software that offers an end-to-end solution for service businesses. Its work request and scheduling tool are exceptionally great for businesses that want to stay connected with their teams in the field.
The scheduling software helps you assign tasks, clients, and sites to your teams in the field. When a new customer order is received, you can instantly update in the schedule app, assign it to a relevant worker, and that’s it.
It comes with a drag-and-drop calendar that makes creating new work orders, assigning them, and scheduling them super-easy and fun.
It has a work request feature that lets you get work requests from clients and convert them to a job that can be assigned to an appropriate worker in the field.
Interested in using Jobber? Here are some
of the major benefits that you’ll get with their work order software:
- Scheduling app for work order
- Job forms and work requests
- Mobile app
- Drag-and-drop calendar for work
- Reporting and analytics
- In-app text messaging service
- Push notifications
- Upload photos and files to work
ManagerPlus offers complete maintenance management software that comes loaded
with several features. The work order management tool generates work orders
automatically based on a preset schedule.
Work orders can be assigned to the field
agents who get notifications on their mobile apps. Yes, ManagerPlus comes with
mobile apps that make work order assignment and tracking easier. It also
supports messaging and comes with a powerful asset management feature.
It also has a built-in CRM solution that helps you manage clients and vendors right from your CMMS dashboard. This feature lets you update your clients and vendors on the progress of their work orders and deliver invoices. While they leave a lot to be desired with their mobile interface, ManagerPlus has effective CRM integrations that some customers require.
Here is a list of the major benefits of
ManagerPlus work order software:
- Create work orders with a
- Assign and track work orders
- Complete work order management
- Asset management
- Mobile app
- CRM solution
- Third-party integration support
- Reporting and tracking
UpKeep is a CMMS tool that comes with work order software that lets you create and manage work orders. You can create simple work orders and recurring work orders which can be assigned to the right employees.
It has a mobile app that lets your technicians update work orders right from the site. When a new work order is assigned to an employee, you can send a push notification too. All work orders have a priority level. Unfortunately, you can’t message your team members through the app. Reviews often complain of UpKeep’s high price point relative to the value the product offers. While MaintainX is rated the easiest to use product according to Capterra, UpKeep continues to be one of the easiest products to adopt in the space.
Here is a list of the major features that
you’ll get with UpKeep’s work order software:
- Work order management solution
- Work order creation and
- Automated workflows
- Time and cost tracking
- Mobile app
ServiceMax is a field service management tool with an intuitive work order management software that’s perfect for businesses in the service industry. You can integrate the work order tool with CRM tool which lets your clients create service requests that are converted to work orders.
It has a drag-and-drop work order assignment tool that makes work order creation, tracking, and management super-easy. Work orders can be assigned to multiple employees and all of them are notified immediately through push notifications. ServiceMax is a great tool for well-heeled enterprise organizations that need to monitor their team on the go.
The major features of ServiceMax include:
- Easy-to-use work order
- Create work orders with a
- Work order scheduling,
assignment, and tracking
- Mobile accessibility
- Reporting and analytics
The Right Work Order Software for Your Business
Finding the right work order software for your business gets easier if you know your requirements. Ask yourself what exactly you want from your work order management tool. Is it work order form creation? Or, do you need a full-feature maintenance software? Are you concerned that a complex solution may result in low adoption with your team?
List your requirements and then evaluate the work order software by comparing their features. For instance, if you know you need to create custom procedures and forms and want your employees to upload photos of the site and equipment, you should look for a product that makes work order form creation and collaboration simple and seamless. (e.g. MaintainX).
If, however, you’re in the service industry and want a complete solution to managing your work orders as well as CRM, invoicing, payments, dispatching, and work requests – with no equipment/assets to manage, you should consider Jobber.
Choose the work order software that’s right for your business, fits your business strategy, and then implement it. Good luck!