Work orders contain details of jobs such as maintenance work tasks, repairs, audits, and inspections. Field service managers and maintenance managers use work orders to assign a task to the right employee and track its status. A work order is also referred to as a work ticket or job order.
Work order software helps users automate the different steps involved in creating and completing a work order. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll walk you through the most important considerations for choosing a work order solution suitable for small businesses.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
What is work order software?
Work order software is a dedicated tool for tracking field service orders from the time they are opened to the time they are closed. This software offers automated templates to help users create work orders quickly and consistently. It also allows users to update tasks and capture customer signatures upon completion of the job.
These tools help managers track the status of a job; assign or reassign it to employees; seek customer feedback; and collect customer, product, or service data to improve decision-making.
Types of work order software
Work orders are used in different scenarios, e.g., for tracking equipment repair within a company or for servicing client requests on site.
Work order software capabilities can also be found in CMMS (computerized maintenance management software), FSM (field service management software), and EAM (enterprise asset management) software.
The different types of software that offer work order modules include:
- Enterprise asset management (EAM): Enterprise asset management work orders help facilities managers track assets and inventory items. Users can generate these work orders manually or automatically based on scheduled tasks. Larger organizations that support maintenance operations in multiple sites and need additional features such as fleet management should consider EAM software.
- Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMSs): A maintenance work order covers the repair, restoration, or replacement of equipment. Work order management capabilities are a must-have for CMMS software. CMMS work orders are more suited for small maintenance teams, as they come at a lower price point and are capable of managing most maintenance needs.
- Field service management (FSM): Work order capabilities in field service management software help users track the progress of scheduled, completed, and ongoing field service jobs. FSM software is useful if you mainly provide services to external clients and your technicians are primarily in the field.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Based on my specific needs, what are the benefits and drawbacks of buying stand-alone work order software compared to a CMMS or EAM solution?
Deployment options for work order software
Like most software, work order software can be either hosted on the cloud or installed on-premises. Whether to implement a cloud-based tool or an on-premise system will depend on your specific needs, budget, data control requirements, and the capability of your IT team to manage an installed application and its related data.
- Lower upfront costs and total cost of ownership.
- No new infrastructure needed.
- Can be accessed anytime and from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Service providers primarily handle data storage and security.
- Upscale and downscale as needed by purchasing the required number of subscriptions.
- Better control over your data and systems.
- Higher upfront costs, but major expenses are a one-time charge.
- You’ll be responsible for maintenance and upkeep.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Does your SaaS version and/or on-premise version support use on mobile phones: iOS, Android, and Windows? Is there any additional charge for this?
Tip: Mobility is a key requirement for work order software, since technicians often work away from the office. Being able to access work order details on a mobile device saves the time and effort required to call into the office before or after each job. It also allows them to update the status of jobs in real time, helping the entire team get more accurate visibility into the status of different tasks.
Work order software features
Deciding on the features you need in your work order software can be challenging. A tool with too many bells and whistles can overwhelm or distract your users. Analyzing your business needs and choosing software with features that help meet your current and future needs will save costs and improve productivity
Here we discuss the core features you should look for in work order software.
Work order creation: Helps capture data from manual data entry sheets and web forms to create new work orders. It also automatically creates work orders for recurring maintenance jobs and audits. You can modify the work orders to meet any specific requirements.Creating and submitting work order requests in FMX (Facilities Management eXpress) Scheduling
Helps organize the calendar of maintenance jobs. Also allows you to assign tasks to technicians and prioritize them. You can update assignments and view the schedule summary, as well.Job scheduling feature in Field Force Tracker Work order tracking:
Allows managers to monitor the progress of different tasks. Track the status of different tasks, who they’re assigned to, and how satisfied the customer is. This feature helps users identify tasks overdue and job orders with additional steps. You can also send alerts for high priority jobs or for jobs that have an approaching deadline.Tracking work orders by due date or person assigned in UpKeep
Reporting and analysis:
Collects data on the likely causes of problems, costs of repairs, and downtime. Analyze the data for more accurate maintenance job predictions. The dashboard functionality helps users view real-time reports on the progress of various tasks.Reports in mHelpDesk
There are also some additional features that may improve the software's overall functionality for certain users. Maintenance teams that handle third-party client requests, rather than internal jobs, are strongly advised to consider these additional features:
- Customer relationship management (CRM) Helps users maintain a database of customer contacts, communication history, location, and equipment/service summary. It also helps users manage customer feedback, store invoices, and assign account managers for large customers.
- Cost estimating Helps users prepare cost estimates or quotes for different tasks. You can then share the estimates with your clients and others on the team.
- Invoicing and payment processing Allows users to generate invoices and accept payments through debit/credit cards, e-wallets, or net banking. This feature may be built in to the software or may be available through integrations with third-party accounting/e-payment applications.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: What unique values and cost proposition does your software offer to help me meet my needs?
*Note: The applications selected are examples to show a feature in context, and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations.
Important work order software integrations
Businesses today use multiple applications to collect and store data. Your website, social media platforms, CRM, ERP systems, and CMMS are all applications that you use to collect data on customer requests, sales orders, etc.
It is therefore important to integrate your work order software with other key platforms that data must be pulled from or sent to. Common software tools with which your work order software should integrate include:
Accounting software: Integrations with accounting software such as QuickBooks allow you to capture customer signatures after completion of a job, generate invoices, and email them to clients. Integrating with accounting tools also allows you to track and improve your cash flows.
Data connectors: Integrating with data connectors such as Zapier allows you to automate data entry tasks and send alerts to customers whenever entries are updated.
Calendar tools: Integrating with Google Calendar or iCal allows you to plan your schedules and minimize overlapping tasks or double allocation of jobs to employees. You also get a complete view of the tasks to be completed in a week or month.
Marketing automation software: Applications such as MailChimp allow you to email customers, store customer contact info, and directly contact customers to remind them of scheduled tasks, alert them about any pending jobs, and collect their feedback.
MS Office tools: Integrating with MS Excel and MS Outlook allow you to sync data stored in these platforms with your work order software without manual entry.
Collaboration platforms Integrating with collaborations apps such as Slack and Dropbox allow technicians to communicate details about tasks and discuss issues even while in the field. It also fosters improved collaboration between the field service teams and other in-office support teams.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Is your tool available to connect with the other applications that I use and make updates to the work orders in real time?
Work order software trends
Work order software is evolving every day as new equipment, including IoT devices, is introduced in workplaces and homes. Other technologies such as advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) are also changing the way work orders are created and processed.
Here we discuss major work order software trends.
Integrating IoT with work order software: IoT technology enables you to add sensors to various equipment including boilers, pumps, drills, pipes, and more. These sensors allow you to collect more data to track metrics such as usage, condition monitoring, and failure rate. It will help you automatically create work orders in case of any repairs needed and in improving preventive maintenance measures.
AI and automation: Artificial intelligence tools embedded within work order software is expected to help automate tasks such as scheduling repair jobs, optimizing work order planning, monitoring job status, and communicating with customers. It will increase workflow efficiency and help improve customer experience.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: What steps have you taken to add advanced capabilities like AI, data analytics, and IoT in your software?Back to work order software directory