As a facilities manager, you're always looking for ways to streamline processes and improve efficiency. One of the key components of facilities management is addressing maintenance issues that arise in your buildings. Whether it's a broken air conditioning unit, a leaky faucet, or a malfunctioning elevator, these issues need to be addressed quickly and effectively.
That's where work order requests come into play.
Work orders are formally approved descriptions of needed maintenance that ensure tasks are completed in a timely and organized manner. A work order typically falls into one of the following categories:
- Safety work order. Protects employees against harm from instances like a broken window or damaged step.
- Emergency work order. Opened to prevent loss of life or important assets. One example is fixing a gas leak.
- Reactive general maintenance work order. Fixes broken or damaged assets, like plumbing or HVAC systems.
- Preventive and predictive maintenance requests. Pre-scheduled requests that address routine tasks and prevent future issues.
Without an efficient work order submission process, many of these issues may be left unresolved, leading to unhappy employees and customers, and a potentially dangerous environment.
Continue reading for the steps you need to develop an efficient work order process and to better understand the benefits of successfully implementing one.
7 Steps to an Efficient Work Order Submission Process
An effective work order submission process facilitates clear communication, efficient resource utilization, accountability, and prioritization of requests. Here are seven steps you can take to create a process that works for everyone involved.
1. Define the Work Order Process
Identifying and defining each step of your work order process, from submission to completion, should be the first action you take when creating a process for your team. Be sure to document the steps in a clear and concise manner so that everyone involved understands what's happening and knows what is expected of them.
2. Automate the Work Order Process
Manual work order processes may suffice for smaller operations, but digital systems can help automate the work order submission process for employees, facilities managers, and contractors. When implemented properly, they can also reduce errors, improve communication, and save time.
3. Standardize the Work Order Process
To ensure all work orders are received in a consistent and comprehensible way, establish a standardized, user friendly format for work order requests. Require necessary information like job description, location, priority, and deadline so that your team has everything they need to complete the request.
4. Assign Responsibilities
Assign clear responsibilities to each team member involved in the work order process, including who is responsible for submitting, approving, and completing work orders. This will eliminate confusion and improve the overall efficiency of work order completions.
5. Implement Tracking and Reporting
Using your digital work order system, you can track metrics like status updates, completion times, and any issues or delays. Consistent tracking and reporting not only helps identify bottlenecks or inefficiencies in the process, but also allows for continuous improvement.
6. Train Employees and Get Them Comfortable With the Process
Ensure everyone is aware of their responsibilities and comfortable with the work order system. By providing training on how to use the system, offering incentives, and emphasizing the importance of reporting maintenance issues, you can ensure a smooth and efficient work order process—ultimately leading to better productivity and satisfaction among employees.
7. Continuously Review and Improve
Once you have a work order submission process in place, make an effort to regularly review it. Encourage employees to provide feedback on what’s working and what’s not so that you can make changes to improve the process.
The Benefits of a Successful Work Order Process
A well-oiled work order process yields a number of benefits.
- Improved productivity. A work order submission process helps employees get the information they need quickly and easily, ultimately reducing delays and improving productivity.
- Better communication. When responsibilities and tasks are clear, there is less room for miscommunication errors. Not only does a work order process ensure that the right jobs are done at the right time, but it also ensure everyone involved is on the same page.
- Cost savings. Properly organizing and managing work order submissions enable you to identify potential issues early on, reducing the risk of expensive downtime or repairs.
- Improved customer and employee satisfaction. As work orders are processed more quickly and efficiently, you will see an uptick in customer and employee satisfaction. Not only are your facilities in better shape, but your users feel heard and respected.
- Enhanced data tracking. Having a work order process in place, especially a digital one, makes it much easier to identify trends and areas for improvement. Work order data can also be used to make better-informed decisions about how to allocate resources and improve operations.
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