Managing Work Order Backlog: Strategies for Efficient Operations

Maintenance StrategiesWork order backlog can significantly impact operational efficiency and productivity in all industries. In this article, we will explore what a work order backlog is, how to calculate it, and strategies to effectively deal with a backlog of work. By understanding and addressing work order backlogs, organizations can streamline their processes, minimize delays, and improve overall performance.

What is Work Order Backlog?

Work order backlog refers to the accumulation of pending or unfinished work orders within an organization. It occurs when the number of incoming work orders exceeds the capacity to complete them within a given timeframe. Backlogs can occur due to various reasons such as resource limitations, unexpected equipment failures, or inefficient workflow processes.

How do you Calculate Backlog Work Orders?

To calculate the work order backlog, you need to determine the number of work orders that are pending or awaiting completion. This can be done by subtracting the number of completed work orders from the total number of work orders received over a specific period. For example:

Backlog Work Order = Total Work Orders Received – Completed Work Orders

By tracking this metric regularly, organizations can gain insights into the extent of their backlog and measure progress in reducing it.

How do you Deal with a Backlog of Work?

Prioritize and categorize: Assess the backlog and prioritize work orders based on urgency, impact on operations, and criticality. Categorize them into high-priority, medium-priority, and low-priority tasks to allocate resources accordingly.

Resource allocation: Evaluate available resources such as manpower, equipment, and time. Efficiently allocate resources based on the priority of work orders, ensuring that the most critical tasks are addressed promptly.

Streamline workflow: Identify bottlenecks or inefficiencies in the workflow process that contribute to the backlog. Streamline processes, eliminate unnecessary steps, and automate tasks wherever possible to enhance efficiency and reduce delays.

Increase resource capacity: If the backlog persists despite resource allocation adjustments, consider increasing resource capacity. This can involve hiring additional staff, outsourcing certain tasks, or investing in equipment upgrades to improve productivity.

Communication and transparency: Maintain open communication channels with stakeholders, including clients, team members, and management. Provide regular updates on the backlog status, progress, and expected timelines for resolution. Transparency builds trust and manages expectations.

Implement preventive maintenance: Proactive maintenance strategies can help minimize equipment failures and the subsequent work order backlog. Implement preventive maintenance plans to identify and address issues before they escalate, reducing unplanned downtime and associated backlog.

Continuous improvement: Regularly review and analyze the root causes of the backlog. Use data-driven insights to identify areas for improvement in processes, resource allocation, or workflow management. Continuously refine strategies to prevent future backlogs.

Not All Work Order Backlogs Are Bad

Not all work order backlogs are necessarily bad for organizations. While a large backlog can indicate operational challenges and inefficiencies, it’s important to recognize that not all tasks within the backlog have the same level of urgency or impact on operations. Some work orders may be low-priority or non-critical tasks that can be deferred without significant consequences. In such cases, a manageable backlog can actually provide flexibility in resource allocation, allowing organizations to focus on higher-priority tasks and urgent maintenance needs. However, it is crucial to regularly assess and manage the backlog, ensuring that critical work orders are addressed promptly and the backlog does not accumulate to a point where it adversely affects operations and customer satisfaction. Effective prioritization, resource allocation, and efficient workflow management are key to maintaining a healthy balance between work order backlogs and operational efficiency.


Efficiently managing work order backlogs is crucial for organizations to maintain operational efficiency and optimize performance. A reliable CMMS solution like eWorkOrders can greatly assist in this process. With eWorkOrders, businesses gain access to a comprehensive suite of features that streamline work order management, automate processes, and foster collaboration among team members. Prioritizing and categorizing work orders, allocating resources effectively, and optimizing workflow processes are made easier with eWorkOrders. The CMMS’s preventive maintenance capabilities enable proactive issue identification and resolution, reducing unplanned downtime and minimizing backlog. Real-time data updates, robust reporting capabilities, and data-driven insights empower organizations to make informed decisions and drive continuous improvement. By implementing CMMS software into your maintenance operations, you can more efficiently tackle work order backlogs, enhance customer satisfaction, and achieve operational excellence.

See What Our Customers Are Saying

Customer Testimonials To Read More

Customer Success

GetApp Category Leader Award for CMMS, Preventive Maintenance, Fixed Asset Management, Work Order, Fleet Maintenance, and Facility Management      #1 Rated Maintenance System for CyberSecurity      Capterra Shortlist Award for CMMS, EAM, Asset Tracking, Fixed Asset Management, Fleet Maintenance, Facility Management, Field Service Management, and Preventive Maintenance