Whether you’re in New South Wales or Perth, running a trades business involves a lot of documentation. There’s building certifications, job quotes, invoices, and safety forms. One of the most important documents trades businesses must stay on top of is the work order. In this blog, we explore what work orders are and how your business can manage them effectively.
What is a work order and what are they used for?
A work order is a formal document that authorises jobs for contractors and technicians to complete. It contains vital information, such as job description, material requirements, work location, contact details, and time frames. Work orders can be internal requests for companies that manage their own assets or a contract between a client and a trade service business.
Work orders are especially crucial in construction, asset maintenance, plumbing, and other trades industries. These companies use work orders to schedule jobs and brief contractors on the scope of work. Once a work order has been assigned, managers and clients can refer to these forms to track progress and check whether project deliverables are met.
What are the different types of work orders?
There are several types of work orders, which serve various purposes. These include:
- Construction – Construction work orders are the various assignments involved in a new construction or renovation project. This includes foundation work, bricklaying, plumbing and electrical system installations, painting, and more.
- Preventive maintenance – These are scheduled jobs that aim to minimise the risk of asset or equipment breakdowns. Preventive maintenance work may involve equipment adjustments or tune-ups, routine cleaning, and asset upgrades.
- Inspection – Inspection work orders send out technicians to assess the jobsite and/or evaluate the performance of key assets.
- Emergency – These work orders are requested when unforeseen issues occur and require immediate repairs. Situations that call for emergency work orders may include repairing burst pipes, faulty electrical systems, and structural building damage.
- Safety – Safety work orders are tasks that protect personnel from health and safety hazards, such as posting caution signs and removing exposed live wires.
What information should be included in a work order?
To increase your company’s efficiency, you should standardise work order templates. Here are the key details to include in your work orders:
How should you approach work order management?
Assigning work orders may seem like a relatively straightforward process, but there are steps you need to take to ensure the process goes smoothly. Keep in mind the following work order management best practices:
- Prioritise – Work orders should be assigned based on expertise and priority levels. If a plumbing repair job is urgent, it should be immediately given to the most qualified person. If a work order is routine or can be fulfilled within 10 days, it can go on the schedule.
- Consider team schedules – Dispatchers should also consider a technician’s availability and proximity to the jobsite when scheduling work. Don’t overschedule technicians as this can lead to burnout. What’s more, travel distance and traffic significantly affect the estimated time of arrivals. That’s why you shouldn’t assign a technician finishing up work in Parramatta to go all the way down in Wollongong in 30 minutes for their next appointment.
- Provide detailed instructions – Work orders should be accompanied with job checklists and safe work method statements. These guide field technicians on how to perform their jobs correctly, efficiently, and safely.
- Identify bottlenecks – Some work orders may block others from completing their tasks. To prevent this from happening, split the larger work orders into smaller tasks and assign them to different team members or subcontractors.
- Record progress – As work orders are completed, employees can document how long it took to complete them. This is particularly helpful for tracking turnaround times and predicting future project timelines.
- Use job management software – A fully digitised system can automatically assign jobs to the right technicians and ensure that they have all the necessary information to complete the job properly.
How does WorkBuddy streamline work order management?
When you use WorkBuddy, you’ll get various features that make work order management a breeze. The software processes the information on any digital work order that’s received via email or other channels. WorkBuddy’s automated scheduling capabilities can instantly assign work orders to technicians based on their expertise, location, and availability. You can also apply job checklists and compliance forms to work orders to make sure your team meets contractual and safety standards. What’s more, WorkBuddy’s subcontractor management portals make it easy for on-site teams to track their scheduled work orders and provide status updates.
Book a demo today to see firsthand how WorkBuddy makes your life easier.