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When a business needs maintenance or repair work done, the most common tool used to organize such activity is the work order. But what is a work order exactly?What does one look like, and how do you design a work order so that it’s effective? Here’s what you should know about this document and how it should be used.
One of the most essential components of any work order is clarity. The clearer the language used in the order, the easier it will be for maintenance and repair workers to carry out the tasks they’ve been assigned without any delays or mistakes. Clearly written work orders should have the following components:
Work orders should begin with clearly identifying everyone who is involved in the repair or maintenance work that needs to be done. This goes further than just which maintenance worker is scheduled to complete the job – it also includes who originally drafted the order as well. This provides accountability and offers opportunities for workers to speak to the person who is supervising the order to ask for clarification if necessary.
Every work order needs to specify, as clearly as possible, where the repair or maintenance needs to take place. This includes not just the general location of the maintenance issue but also information such as which piece of equipment needs the work completed. This prevents maintenance employees from performing work in the wrong place or the incorrect equipment.
Some maintenance or repair work can wait. If it’s not crucial or essential, it may not need to be addressed immediately – especially if there are more pressing matters that need the attention of maintenance personnel. Be sure to clearly prioritize the work needed so that the work can be done in a timely manner. If something is absolutely urgent, it needs to be addressed first – and prioritizing that work order accurately ensures it will happen when it needs to.
While this isn’t always necessarily the case, there may be times when a work order will need to have the tools and equipment necessary for the job listed clearly on the work order. This helps maintenance workers immensely and reduces response times.
Finally, a work order isn’t officially complete until the maintenance worker has successfully signed off on the work. The last field on any work order should have space not just for a signature and date but a detailed description of the nature of the work completed. This provides high levels of accountability and allows the completed work order to be used as a reference in the future whenever necessary.
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