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Even with modern, perfectly streamlined workflows, it feels like some tasks don’t justify the admin effort. Should you take five minutes to generate a work order for a recurring three-minute job? But if you don’t get them into the system, over time and once you have enough of them, you’re creating blind spots first in your data and then in your budget. 

The solution might be standing work orders, where you can cut admin overhead on some small recurring inspections and tasks. 

What is a standing work order? 

A standing work order is a work order that you open for an extended period, sometimes indefinitely, for routine or recurring tasks that you don’t connect to a specific asset or piece of equipment. Rather than completing the task and closing the work order, you keep the work order open, updating it every time you do more work. 

Why do it this way? With a standing work order, you can record the costs and history of specific tasks, while also reducing overall work order administration. So, in the end, you get the same amount of reliable data but for less overall admin effort. 

Standing work orders are great for tasks that you can’t assign to a specific asset, but they’re even better for when the cost of the task is minimal compared to the administrative cost of generating, assigning, and closing out a separate work order. Standing work orders save you from spending ten minutes on admin for a five-minute job. 

What is a blanket work order? 

A lot of people use blanket work order and standing work order interchangeably, but there are small-but-important differences. 

Blanket work orders cover miscellaneous tasks, while standing work orders are more specific. You can use blanket work orders to capture the costs of the miscellaneous work completed by the team but not the details, leaving a data holes in your maintenance budget. So in the end, the most important difference between standing and blanket work orders is that you should avoid the blanket ones. 

When should you use standing work orders? 

You usually use standing work orders for small repetitive tasks that you might not be linking to what you generally think of as actual maintenance work, including tool checks, safety and training meetings, and tasks for minor upkeep. In these cases, it’s usually not economical to create a new work order for each task, so you can create a standing work order that’s open and often updated to keep track of costs.  

Standing work orders can also come in handy if the CMMS solution you use doesn’t let you charge transactions to individual assets. In that case, setting up a standing work order can be a workaround that lets you track the costs while reducing admin overhead. 

What are the pros and cons of standing work orders? 

One of the main benefits of standing work orders is that they are a simple way of keeping track of mundane or repetitive tasks where you don’t need a complete historical record. They can also be a helpful way to reduce the time and money you spend creating and administering work orders to improve the efficiency of your maintenance and inventory management. 

But, standing orders aren’t a perfect solution, so you need to be aware of the common pitfalls so you can avoid them. One of the main challenges is that standing work orders can get lost among the many corrective and preventive work orders in your backlog. As a result, it’s possible to forget to close and renew standing work orders on a set schedule.  

Just like that “miscellaneous” folder in your filing cabinet, it can also sometimes be difficult to remember exactly what your standing work orders are supposed to cover, especially if they’ve been open for years. 

How can you use standing work orders effectively? 

A simple rule of thumb for standing work order for general maintenance is to use them for any task that takes your techs 15 minutes or less. The reasoning is that because the cost and time to create and close a work order are likely to exceed the time and cost of the actual work. 

If you do want to create a standing work order for these smaller jobs, it’s important to set some rules. On way to make rules is to think of answers to the following questions:  

  • How long will you keep the standing work order open and eligible for charging? 
  • What types of parts can you charge to the standing work order? 
  • What is the process for closing the work order and opening a new one at the end of the interval? 
  • How will you review your standing work orders to make sure you’re using them properly? 

Typically, you close standing work orders at the end of the month, but you may also close them quarterly when your financial period ends, helping you keep the number of transactions against the work order to a manageable level. 

How can Hippo CMMS help? 

Hippo CMMS® allows you to approve, generate, prioritize, assign, track, and close work orders from anywhere, so you never lose track of your standing work orders. And because everything is digital and on the same intuitive platform, you never have to worry about losing slips of paper or watching critical data disappear into endless, disconnected spreadsheets. 

It’s easy for paper and spreadsheet standing work orders to fall between the cracks, but Hippo CMMS tracks everything so you can avoid rework and keep your team accountable. Its clean and easy layout also makes everything easy to see and understand, while the built-in work order template function means you can easily take existing instructions and copy them over to new work orders. You get more wrench time and less money spent on admin.  

What’s next? 

Hippo's here to help you get the solution that works best for you, from answering your questions about everything related to maintenance to helping you book a live software demo

Executive summary 

A standing work order is a work order that you open for an extended period, sometimes indefinitely, for routine or recurring tasks that you cannot link to a specific piece of equipment. You typically use standing work orders for small jobs like tool checks and general upkeep because it’s not economical to create a new work order for each task. 

One of the main benefits of standing work orders is that they are a simple way of keeping track of mundane or repetitive tasks when you don’t need a record. However, they can get lost among the many corrective and preventive work orders in your backlog, and you can forget to close them and renew them on a routine basis.   

To use standing work orders more effectively, you must set up some rules, such as how long the work order should open for and what you can charge against it. Hippo CMMS work order software can help because it enables you to keep track of all your work orders, including standing work orders, so you end up with data holes in your records and maintenance budget. 

About The Author

Nathan Jeans

Nathan is a long-serving freelance copywriter with a specialism in B2B software. When he's not busy writing transformative content, he likes to spend his time trying to get some sleep.
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