Reviewing Work Orders

It's important to review work orders on a regular basis: work orders that have been completed (closed) as well as those that are still open. Learning from the past is the key to improving the future.

Open Work Orders

With open work orders, your most important priority is making sure that urgent repairs get the attention they need...but you can't let less urgent work hang around forever. On a regular basis (say, every week), you should print out a report of outstanding work orders, especially ones that have been around for a while. For example, you might ask to see any work orders that were created more than four weeks previously. This will show you jobs that have been around for quite some time and shouldn't be allowed to fall through the cracks.

Closed Work Orders

Maintenance managers should be ready to learn from history. Examining closed work orders can let you notice trends that should be addressed. Here are some examples:

Examining Past Work Orders by Unit
  • Do some pieces of equipment need more work than others of the same type? Maybe that means the equipment needs to be replaced or to receive a major overhaul. It could also mean problems beyond the equipment itself (e.g. an operator who often mishandles the equipment or a location that often exposes the equipment to potential damage).
  • Do some pieces of equipment always take longer than expected to fix? Ask yourself why. Are spare parts stored too far away from the equipment? Is there some special difficulty gaining access to the equipment (e.g. arranging for keys, permission, etc.)? Are you simply underestimating how long this particular equipment takes to repair?
Examining Past Work Orders by Worker
  • Do some workers take longer at a particular job than other workers? For example, if worker X consistently takes longer to do a particular maintenance task than worker Y, perhaps you need to do something about the situation.
  • Do some workers take longer to get started on jobs than other workers? If a worker is constantly behind schedule, perhaps that worker is being assigned too much to do or requires more training.