The Eight Steps For The Perfect Work Order

Work Orders PerfectWork orders are an essential part of managing maintenance work in any organization. They provide a documented record of maintenance work that needs to be done within an organization. Work order management is particularly critical in industries such as manufacturing and construction, where heavy equipment and machinery are used. To create an effective work order, it is important to follow some best practices. Here are some valuable tips to enhance the effectiveness of your work orders. Keep in mind that these are recommendations, and it is crucial to cross-verify them with your organization’s specific guidelines or policies.

Importance of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) play a pivotal role. These SOPs offer explicit instructions and guidelines for tasks, fostering uniformity in execution and minimizing variability. The integration of SOPs ensures reliability, efficiency, and the consistent attainment of quality standards in routine work activities. Universally applicable across industries, numerous organizations leverage multiple SOPs to maintain consistently high-quality work throughout their teams. While SOPs may encompass a straightforward bulleted list of action items, the incorporation of visual elements proves beneficial for effective employee onboarding and training. Employing SOPs for work order management enables organizations to execute maintenance activities consistently and efficiently, thereby reducing downtime and enhancing productivity. Furthermore, SOPs serve as valuable tools for pinpointing areas for improvement and optimizing overall maintenance operations. With a strategic approach and the right tools, work order management emerges as a potent instrument for streamlining maintenance operations and curbing costs.

Step 1: Clear Identification of Work Order Purpose

Before diving into the specifics, it’s imperative to clearly identify the purpose of the work order. Whether it’s routine maintenance, preventive tasks, or addressing an unexpected issue, a concise and accurate description sets the foundation for effective communication and planning.

Step 2: Clearly Define The Problem

The core of any work order lies in the detailed description of maintenance activities. A work order should include a detailed description of the maintenance activities that need to be performed. Break down the description tasks into clear, concise actionable steps outlining the problem and the solution. The more detailed the description, the easier it will be for the technician to understand the problem and resolve it. The detailed description should include information as to who requested and approved the work order, the assigned maintenance technician responsible for executing the work, and the associated due dates, costs, and resources. It is also beneficial to include specifics such as the tools required, safety precautions, and any additional information that ensures a comprehensive understanding of the job at hand.

Tip: Ensure that the language used is clear and easily comprehensible. Ambiguous task descriptions can lead to misunderstandings, potentially compromising the quality of work.

Step 3: Assign the Work Order

Once the problem has been defined, the next step is to assign the work order to a technician. Assigning the right resources to each task is an important step. The work order should include who initiated the request and who approved it, the name of the technician responsible for executing the work, as well as any other relevant information, such as their contact information and availability. This will help ensure that the work order is assigned to the right person and that they have all the information they need to complete the job.

Tip: Highlight the collaborative nature of work order creation, emphasizing the need for effective communication between those requesting maintenance and the approving authority.

Step 4: Schedule the Work Order – Balancing Urgency and Realism

After the work order has been assigned, the next step is to schedule the work order. Time is of the essence in maintenance operations. Clearly define due dates for each task within the work order, as well as any other relevant information, such as the time of day when the work should be performed. This step ensures that the maintenance team operates on a schedule, preventing delays and minimizing downtime.

TIP: Discuss the importance of setting realistic due dates. While urgency is essential, creating achievable timelines is crucial for maintaining quality work and preventing undue pressure on the maintenance team.

Step 5: Cost Estimates and Budget Allocation

For effective financial planning, integrate cost estimates into the work order. Provide a breakdown of anticipated expenses, including labor, materials, and any other relevant costs. This step enables better budget management and cost control.

TIP: Emphasize the significance of optimizing resources to ensure that the work order stays within the allocated budget. Efficient resource allocation enhances overall operational effectiveness.

Step 6: Execute the Work Order

Once the work order has been scheduled, the next step is to execute the work order. The technician responsible for executing the work should have all the information they need to complete the job, including the problem description, due date, and any other relevant information. This also includes checklists, utilizing the specified tools, and adhering to safety protocols outlined in the work order. Effective execution ensures the timely completion of tasks, aligning with the due dates set during the planning phase.

Tip During execution, emphasize the importance of precision and attention to detail. Team members should follow the outlined steps meticulously, ensuring the quality and thoroughness of the work performed.

Step 7: Review the Work Order

After the work order has been executed, the next step is to review the work order. The work order should be reviewed to ensure that the work was completed on time and that it was completed to the required standards, including safety and quality standards. Identify any issues or problems that should be noted, any necessary corrective actions that need to be taken, and any areas for improvement. This phase involves a comprehensive evaluation of the work carried out against the initially defined objectives and specifications.

Tip: Highlight the significance of quality assurance during the review process. Emphasize the need for meticulous inspection to guarantee that the executed tasks meet the organization’s standards and comply with safety regulations.

Step 8: Close the Work Order

The final step in creating the perfect work order is to close the work order. The work order should be closed once the work has been completed, updating records, documenting any deviations from the initial plan, and officially closing the work order in the maintenance management system. This will help ensure that the work order is complete and that there are no outstanding issues.

Tip: Stress the importance of thorough documentation during the closure phase. Team members should record any unforeseen issues, changes to the initial plan, and lessons learned during the execution. This documentation contributes to the continuous improvement of future work orders.


Creating the perfect work order is critical to the success of any maintenance operation. Following the eight steps outlined in this article provides a structured framework to craft work orders that are clear, concise, and effective. The emphasis on a detailed description of maintenance activities, requester and approver information, due dates, costs, and resource allocations ensures a comprehensive approach.

Integrating a robust Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) into this process further enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of work order management. CMMS facilitates seamless data collection, maintenance planning, and informed decision-making. By leveraging CMMS, organizations can streamline work order creation, execution, review, and closure, leading to optimized maintenance practices.

Remember, a well-executed work order contributes not only to timely and quality maintenance but also to the overall operational excellence of an organization. 

FAQs About Work Orders

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