A work order represents a request for a specific work task or process to be completed.
Work orders can mean slightly different things to different industries, but in any case it generally demonstrates there’s a need for specific work to be done.
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That’s why proper tracking and management is so important when it comes to work orders: if information about work orders isn’t communicated appropriately across your team, it’s easy for tasks to slip between the cracks.
Delayed or unfinished work orders can lead to upset clients or customers, damage to your organization’s reputation, customer, employee, or facility health and safety risks, and more. This is why aligning your team on work order processes is so important. Having a clear way to track, manage, and review work order completion keeps everyone on the same page and keeps work flowing so you don’t end up with bottlenecks or blocks.
In this article, we’ll discuss types of work order systems used for tracking, what digital work order systems are, and the top 5 benefits of these modern systems so you have all the information you need to understand the importance of implementing digital processes.
Types of work order systems
✍🏻 Pen and Paper
When it comes to work order systems, the first and most obvious tracking tool many companies have historically relied on is pen and paper. Paper tracking was once the best tool available for documenting work processes. But over the years many industries have realized that, while paper documents are helpful for storing logs and archiving information for posterity, using pen and paper to track ongoing tasks can create confusion.
Paper documents are easily misplaced or even damaged or destroyed—not to mention the possibility of illegible handwriting making communication muddied or difficult between team members. And it makes it harder on team leads and managers who have to ensure all these paper work orders are accounted for.
📊 Spreadsheets and Excel-Based Web Tools
With the growth and widespread availability of technology and web-based tools across many industries teams have quickly found the advantage of utilizing tools like Excel to track work orders and team processes. This can be a great way to keep a thorough log of work orders to get a clear view of how everything’s being completed. It allows you to create clear process parameters and create expectations around work order procedures.
However, while Excel-based tools can be great for tracking and improving the potential miscommunication issues caused by missing, misfiled, or incomplete paperwork, it still isn’t the best way to track work orders in real time. Accessing a spreadsheet on the go isn’t practical in many fields, and filling out information after the fact can lead to misremembered steps or missing information.
📱Work Order Management Apps
Modern digital operations solutions like Xenia allow teams to manage work orders digitally via a web and mobile application. This ensures that teams have access to work orders directly from their own mobile devices, so no matter where they are they have the necessary information to complete work orders quickly and effectively.
Apps like Xenia allow for instant messaging too, so you can stay in contact with your team if there are questions, comments, or concerns about specific tasks. Plus all historical information about work orders is instantly logged so you have full details about how a work order was completed and what went into completing it. And unlike with paper tracking, you can rest easy knowing all this information is housed in one place and easy to find.
What is a digital work order system?
While many operations have utilized paper and clipboards to track work orders in the past, more modern organizations are moving toward digital work tracking methods to streamline processes. A digital work order system allows for a single place of truth for work order information and more. Teams no longer have to shuffle through paper sheets to ensure they complete the appropriate procedural tasks or log the right information. Now, it’s all in one unified place.
Solutions like Xenia allow you to upload work order checklists for your standard operating procedures (SOPs) so that your team knows exactly what they need to do to meet quality and brand standards every time.
Team members can access work order SOPs and work through requests and tasks, including detailed information and photo attachments when necessary, all from their mobile device. And logs of completed work are automatically saved in the system, so when you need to check something from a previous work order, it’s simple to pull up that information with just a few clicks.
Many digital systems like Xenia also include analytics features, team communication tools, and accountability solutions that allow for a more unified team. Whether you’re spread across a large hospital campus, connecting across different hotel properties, or working on opposite ends of a construction site—you can stay in touch and in the know.
Industries that benefit from digital work order systems
Any industry with work order needs can benefit from a digital tool to track and manage work orders. But specifically, industries like hospitality, senior living, healthcare, and travel are some of the areas that benefit most from these digital systems.
🏨 Hotel Work Order Examples
The hospitality industry has no shortage of work order needs. With ongoing preventative maintenance and regular requests from guests, it’s crucial for hospitality teams to stay on top of work orders. Utilizing a digital work order solution, hotel teams can easily see and assign work orders from their mobile devices, and team members can quickly complete any work orders on the go. Plus, with a digital solution, these teams can communicate instantly via digital message rather than disturbing their guests with noisy radio comms.
👴🏿 Senior Living Work Order Examples
Senior living facilities likewise have a lot to manage when it comes to work orders. If something in a resident’s room breaks down, the team needs to know quickly and have an immediate way to not only address the issue but track its completion to ensure the health, safety, and comfort of guests. With a digital solution like Xenia, these teams can receive work order requests directly on their mobile devices and take care of these requests on the go to ensure fixes are made as quickly as possible and residents can go about their day to day routine undisturbed.
🏥 Hospital Work Order Examples
Similarly, hospital teams need to ensure health, safety, and risk prevention when it comes to facilities so that hospital staff and patients can focus on what’s important. If a work order request comes through for an x-ray machine, the team has to address it quickly to continue addressing patient health concerns and keep appointments going. With a digital work order system, these requests get to the maintenance team quickly with all the necessary information the hospital’s maintenance tech will need to finish the job swiftly and autonomously.
✈️ Airport Work Order Examples
Finally, airports and airlines are another industry segment that can greatly benefit from digital work order tracking. If something’s wrong with the seats on an airplane or—even more importantly—the airplane itself needs a fix, a digital system allows the team to rapidly rally around work order needs to get everything taken care of before takeoff.
5 benefits of a digital work order system
We’ve discussed a few of the major benefits of digital work order systems, but let’s review and really lay them out here:
📝 Eliminate Paper Stacks
The biggest immediate benefit of a digital system is the elimination of stacks of paperwork. You won’t have to sift through logs of paper to find historical work order information anymore. With a digital system, you can quickly search through work order logs in the application to find exactly what you need without sorting through stacks of paper or file cabinets.
⏰ Save Time
With a digital work order system you not only eliminate the time-consuming action of having to sort through paperwork—you also save time communicating information with the team and addressing process questions. Because your team will have all the information they need in the palm of their hand, they’re able to work more autonomously. Plus, if a question comes up, team members can instantly message you with questions to get their answers quickly without having to pause work to track you down.
💔 Reduce Errors
Because work order information is central and accessible within a digital work order system, it helps reduce errors that happen when team members don’t have enough information or clarity. Tools like Xenia not only allow for clear SOPs to be housed in the system—you can also attach documents and images to messages, checklists, work orders and more for additional clarity or further information.
🧾 Create Audit Trails
Since data on completed work orders, checklists, and more are automatically saved within a digital tool, you’ll have a clear audit trail if you need to review past work information or clarify details. And you won’t have to sort through papers to find the information you’re looking for! You’ll be able to locate work order logs quickly to find what you need, when you need it.
📊 Use analytics to identify patterns
Because historical data is saved within a digital system like Xenia, you can utilize our custom analytics to identify patterns in your work flow and work orders to make improvements over time. When it comes to work orders specifically, you’re able to identify patterns that might be affecting specific assets—for example, if a certain machine is constantly needing to be serviced for a specified issue, you might identify that it’s time for that machine to be replaced.
🔒 Enhance information security
Finally, to top it all off, a digital work order system allows for enhanced informational security, because information isn’t being lost in the shuffle of paperwork or housed in multiple computer files and locations. Important information and data is housed in one place and only accessible to authorized team members.
Download Xenia’s Free Excel Work Order Log
Download Xenia’s free excel work order log to start utilizing digital methods of work order tracking today! It’s free to download below—and you can tailor the template to your process log needs from there.
Use Xenia App for Work Order Management
Xenia is one of the most powerful, user-friendly solutions for digital work order management and general operations. Our solutions work across industries, enabling and empowering teams to do their best work. Xenia’s work order management solutions allow you to customize the tool to your processes, so you can work digitally in the way you need to to streamline work order procedures and unify your team.
To learn more about what Xenia can do to take your work orders to the next level, visit our website and book a free demo any time. Our team would be happy to show you how you can elevate your operations with our simple, all-in-one solution.