Work order template

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Edited by Pat Bitton

June 25, 2021

What is a work order?

Has anyone ever assigned you to work only to be denied payment later? Or have you ever given work to someone only for them to miss it? Both problems have a solution. Whether you are a service provider, a business issuing work to independent contractors, or a customer receiving work, you require a work order.

A work order is the "silent supervisor" that communicates the tasks to be completed and gives guidelines that apply during the work period. It's everything that governs the work to completion.

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  • So, what is a work order, and what format does it have? A work order is a formal document – digital or paper – describing maintenance work approved for completion. Depending on the type of business, you can submit work orders to maintenance, customers, and staff. Work order templates also include information about the work to be done, location, the person doing the work, and tools required.

    By assigning a type to work orders, you may keep track of the labor performed, establish work priorities, and rate the criticality of each job. When you collect and analyze data on the type of work orders, you can evaluate if it is more cost-effective to replace or repair a piece of equipment.

    For instance, if a maintenance manager reviews work orders and discovers that they have made several unexpected repairs to specific equipment, they may decide it’s appropriate to replace it. The following are the primary work order types.

  • General work order

    Any maintenance task that isn't considered preventive maintenance, inspection, emergency, or corrective maintenance is a general work order. Tasks such as setting up new equipment, dismantling old equipment, or painting walls are examples of general work orders.

  • Preventative maintenance

    A preventive maintenance work order is a routine maintenance task performed regularly to preserve equipment and prevent deterioration or failure. You define each task's resource requirements, instructions, checklists, and notes in preventive work orders.

    A preventive maintenance work order comes with a schedule to ensure that the team completes the maintenance task at a specific time interval, such as every 180 days or after a certain number of miles with fleet maintenance. All items subject to a failure with severe consequences fall under preventive care.

  • Inspection work order

    A maintenance technician must audit or inspect an asset based on a set of parameters specified in an inspection work order. Inspections usually take place at a specific time. If a technician discovers a problem during an inspection, he will create an itemized work order to solve it.

  • Emergency work order

    You create an emergency work order when an asset breaks down unexpectedly and needs immediate repair – the emergency work order documents and tracks reactive work not previously planned. In the work order, the technician explains the breakdown that occurred, what they did to fix it, and what they can do to prevent it from recurring.

  • Corrective maintenance

    When a maintenance technician discovers a problem while performing preventive maintenance, inspections, general maintenance, or emergency work, they generate a corrective maintenance work order. Corrective maintenance aims to locate, isolate, and solve problems to restore a system, machine, or equipment to its original state.

    Unlike an emergency work order, you plan and schedule a corrective maintenance work order because you discover the malfunction beforehand. Repair, restoration, or replacement of equipment can all be part of a corrective maintenance work order.

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Details and flow process of work order sample

  • Work orders, like all other formal documents, need attentiveness during creation. If one step of the process is off, it can have a knock-on effect on the entire line. Using custom work orders, one can provide specifics about the completed work, and one can track the performance of the work accordingly. So, what information makes up an excellent work order? What information should a work order contain?

    Some details you might find on a work order sample form:

  • Field


    1. MachineryWhat equipment to use
    2. Issue descriptionWhat exactly is the issue? What did you hear, see, smell, or feel during or just before the failure?
    3. Work's scopeAmount of work and skills to complete the task?
    4. Necessary parts and tools:Are there any replacements, or do you need to use any special tools?
    5. Notes on health and safetyWhat are the safety procedures and equipment? Have you had any near-misses or accidents while working on a similar issue or asset?
    6. Requested time frameWhen did you create and submit the work order?
    7. Name, department, and contact information for the requester areWho issued the work order and submitted it?
    8. Finish/­Completion dateWhen should the work be complete, according to your expectations?
    9. Hours of work expectedHow long should the work order take to complete?
    10. Work hoursHow long did it take you to finish the job?
    11. Checklist of responsibilitiesIs there a step-by-step guide to completing the work that is required?
    12. What is the priority of this job order?High, middle ground, or the low side?
    13. Who will do the work? Assigned toIs it necessary to enlist the help of over one person? Is there a need for a third-party contractor?
    14. Documents that are linked toAre there any resources, such as SOPs, manuals, diagrams, videos, asset history, purchase orders, or images, that can help complete the work order more efficiently?
    15. NotesAre there any other observations that might be useful in completing or reviewing the work order after it has been closed, such as the frequency of an issue, troubleshooting techniques, or the solution reached?

Work orders are flow changers

Work orders are an essential part of any good workflow process. When properly managed, they provide stability and structure that your team needs to be productive. With a well-designed work order and work order process, it is easier to establish a preventive maintenance program and respond to unplanned events.

Using work orders makes it easy to define roles, streamline workflow, keep track of tasks, and organize information. Choosing the right tools and systems is the last piece of the puzzle for managing work orders.

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