When you’re struggling under an outdated work order management system and stuck with unreliable data, getting on top of maintenance feels impossible. Modern work order software makes it so much easier to keep accurate work order records. And once you can trust your data, your data can start to work for you.

Good work order records are crucial to running an efficient maintenance department. Day to day, accurate records keep things humming along because everyone is singing from the same songbook. Tasks are completed efficiently. Records also play an important role in operations tracking and long-term planning.

Those who do not learn their maintenance history are doomed to repeat it.

Accurate, accessible work order data boost time on wrench

In the old days, you had to struggle along with either paper- or spreadsheet-based work order management systems. Using paper meant work orders were easily misplaced and forgotten, with important maintenance tasks slipping through the cracks. Using spreadsheets meant your data was easily corrupted. Just a few typos here and there was all it took to throw everything off. Even when it was correct, data quickly went out of date, soured. Remember, when you email a spreadsheet work order, you’re not actually sending the work order, you’re sending a copy. And now that there are two unconnected copies, every time you make a change to one, the other version becomes bit more useless.

Modern work order tracking software keeps everything is one spot, a secure database that’s updated in real-time. Everyone is looking at the same work orders because there’s only one version. It’s like when you watch a movie at a theater. No matter how many people are in the audience, they’re all looking at the exact same screen. With complete, accurate work order records, maintenance departments don’t waste time running around hunting and gathering little slips of paper. They don’t waste time working from old information. Time on wrench increases because your skilled technicians have the time to do what they do best, maintain and repair assets.

Workflows can be automated with work order data

When your work order data is always up to date, you can start to put it to work for you. Every time you generate a work order, you pack it with information, including:

  • Customizable step-by-step instructions and checklists
  • Digital images, schematics, and O&M manuals
  • Interactive floor plans
  • Associated parts and materials

That last one is a great example of using data to automate processes. When the work order is closed out, the associated parts and materials are marked as used, and automatically removed from the inventory count.

work order software inventoryword order software keeps track of all your parts

Once the software notices inventory has dipped below a customizable preset level, it sends out an email alert. Then right from inside the software, you can start to generate a purchase order.

Inventory control is a big topic all on its own. To learn more, check out From the Experts: Is CMMS Inventory Management Right for Me?

The maintenance big picture is painted with work order data

How many of these questions can you accurately answer off the top of your head?

  • Which asset is costing you the most to keep up and running?
  • Which asset has had the most failures in the last year?
  • Which asset is ready to be replaced because the cost of repairing it is too high?

For the ones that you can’t, how easily would you be able to get the data you’d need to figure out the answer? With your records safe in your work order software, you could find the data easily, trust that it was accurate, and then have the work order software, core feature of a CMMS software(Computerized Maintenance Management System), calculates the answers for you. Not only that, it would give it to you in reports packed with KPIs and easy-to-read graphics.

work order software KPIswork order software keeps your data safe and accurate, then crunches it

Just thinking about should induce anxiety, but take a minute to consider how you’d do this relying on a paper- or spreadsheet-based system. With all your work orders on paper, you’d have to go through page by page, adding up the numbers. But would you really have all your work orders on paper? How many of them would have been misplaced? You’d never really know. What about with spreadsheets? How many times would you copy and paste cells before you made a small mistake that poisoned your data?

KPIs are a big topic all on their own. To learn more, check out Classic KPIs for CMMS ROI.

Preventive maintenance programs are built on work order data

When equipment and assets are brand new, no one knows them better than the people who designed and built them. So, when it comes to setting up a preventive maintenance program, departments typically follow the manufacturers’ recommendations. It’s just like when looking after someone else’s kid: parents know their kids best, so you follow their list of instructions. But what about a spouse? Who knows your spouse better, you or their parents? Even early on in the relationship, it’s likely you. And it’s the same with equipment and assets. Pretty soon, you know more about them than the people who designed and built them. So when you set up the PM program, your direct experience counts for more.

The idea is simple to understand, but the execution is tricky without reliable work order records. You need to know how often equipment and assets have had trouble, and exactly what that trouble was, to accurately predict when to schedule preventive maintenance tasks. Here again, it’s just like a marriage. You know your spouse better than anyone else, but even you’d have a hard time remembering all the times in the previous five years they caught a cold and exactly what medicine the doctor prescribed. With accurate records, because you can clearly see the past, you can take steps to avoid the same problems in the future.

About The Author

Jonathan Davis

Jonathan has been covering asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions since joining Hippo CMMS. Prior to that, he wrote for textbooks and video games.
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