What is a Work Order?

Unplanned downtime due to equipment failure is every facility manager’s nightmare. When you’re running a tight asset-intensive operation, you don’t want execution delays, wrong replacement parts, or a lack of role clarity impacting your organization’s maintenance program success. Yet, these are only a few of the common obstacles to optimizing asset health and uptime without proper work order management.

A work order is a documented response to a work request specifying the process and requirements for executing a maintenance task, such as repair or inspection. It’s recorded in a digital system and notified to the relevant personnel or team. The three main work order maintenance approaches are reactive, preventive, and predictive. As a facility manager, you should choose a work order management system that best boosts your organization’s cost savings and asset reliability.


Reactive maintenance is what we usually think of when it comes to working requests. As nobody sees the problem coming, unplanned downtime can happen. Issues pop up: conveyor belts break, leaks happen, equipment malfunctions, or legacy system complications. Facility managers then have to put together a team to attend to the problem quickly.

A typical legacy system breakdown can cost an organization as much as $100,000 per hour or more. It can be due to a single broken component requiring tearing apart and replacing a more extensive system. Keep in mind that modern replacement parts may not always be compatible with older ones, which is why the entire legacy system may sometimes need an overhaul after a minor complication.

Such losses can arise because, instead of fixing more minor issues to prevent total failure or significant complications, reactive maintenance waits for things to go wrong. When that sort of thing happens, that’s when a work order gets made.


As opposed to reactive approaches, preventative maintenance works in anticipation of things going wrong. It involves planning and scheduling repairs or inspections to prevent future breakdowns and malfunctions. In such cases, a work order is created to specify what needs to be done and provide a schedule for it while the equipment in question is still in working condition.

Preventative maintenance can save businesses money in the long run. It can help prolong the useful life of assets by keeping them in excellent working shape, for starters. Besides minimizing the cost of significant repairs, this approach can also help prevent downtime and the loss of productivity and revenue.

For organizations with several assets, including at multiple sites, a manual preventive maintenance system is ineffective. Facility managers can address this issue with work order management software. The tool lets you track asset maintenance history and helps create schedules and intervals to ensure preventative maintenance is done cost-effectively.


Like preventative methods, predictive maintenance seeks to anticipate and eliminate issues before they become full-blown problems. Instead of relying on predetermined routines or maintenance calendars alone, it involves tracking equipment health based on relevant parameters like temperature. The asset “intelligence” gathered informs the timely creation and scheduling of work orders.

Unlike preventative maintenance, predictive maintenance leans more toward technology and the tools themselves. It incorporates intelligent sensors and downtime tracking software to help figure out what breaks and how often it breaks. Such systems can usually detect signs of problems missed during routine manual inspections.

Work order management software is an integral part of predictive maintenance. It can help sort all of this equipment data in real-time and contribute insights toward improving and maintaining an efficient workspace. The approach can help increase equipment uptime by 30 percent.

Managing Work Orders Without Stressing Out

These different types of maintenance can all be managed under a single work order software system. If you need to track assets that are not that critical to uptime, incorporating reactive methods into software-based management can enhance maintenance efficiency. The same applies to predictive and preventive approaches.

In tandem with the system, facility managers can save a lot of time and money while executing all three types of maintenance. Each model has its benefits and appropriate applications to make provisions in your work order automation. As manual systems are cumbersome and inefficient, organizations swamped with maintenance requests are managing work orders with software to streamline workflows and improve cross-department and multi-team coordination.

Optimized Work Orders

Your work order system determines the reliability of critical assets and maintenance costs. As reactive approaches often result in costly downtimes and equipment losses, asset-intensive organizations move to preventative, predictive, or hybrid maintenance systems. Incorporating work order software and smart asset health monitors enables facility managers to predict and avert failure, avoid unnecessary asset losses, and maximize uptime and productivity.