We have talked so far about the different techniques and philosophies of maintenance management. Today we are going to talk about information management in maintenance and what role the work order plays.

The maintenance process needs and generates a lot of information, so it is very important to choose the right system to collect data and convert it into information. The information is composed of data ordered in such a way that allows us to make decisions. Therefore, the system must collect all possible data to be able to convert it into information.

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work order

All the data is obtained from the stops of all the machines in the plant. This data will collect precisely when and why each machine has stopped. The information will give us the list of equipment that has stopped the most during a given period; or those whose stop is costing the company the most money. Therefore, this will allow us to make decisions on which equipment we should do a certain preventive work to avoid failures.


What is a maintenance work order?

The work order is the document in which maintenance managers inform the maintenance technician about the task to be performed. Work orders collect the most important data for each intervention and are the most important source of maintenance data. This document serves as a support to the equipment’s resume, and can be required by internal and external control entities to perform audits.

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In case of investigations about repeated problems and failures in equipment, work orders provide the information that managers need to make decisions regarding assets.

What information should a maintenance work order have?

Regularly the work orders detail the following information:

  • Work order number
  • The equipment or machine to be intervened
  • Work to be done
  • Tools and materials needed for the job
  • Risks and precautions for doing the job
  • The priority of the work
  • Date and time of order issuance

In a company it is necessary to define the roles of those who can issue orders, those who authorize them, those who carry them out and those who consign or close those orders. Consequently, a flow chart must be determined for the work orders.

Corrective or Urgent Work Order

This type of work order builds the communication of an intervention whose purpose is to correct a problem that has been detected in a machine. These urgent orders document all the activities carried out in the corrective maintenance of the machines. The parties involved in a corrective order are: applicant, maintenance supervisor and executor or maintenance technician.

The requestor for the rush order must fill out the following information:

  • Order number
  • Applicant’s name
  • Date and time of the request
  • Symptoms presented by the equipment
  • Priority of the intervention, which helps the person in charge of maintenance to organize the work.

The maintenance supervisor should take that initial information and attach:

  • Risk analysis for work execution.
  • Materials and tools to use
  • Date and time of programming of the intervention.

The technician must capture the following information:

  • Date and time of work start
  • People involved in the work
  • Date and time of completion of work
  • Used spare parts
  • Description of the work carried out
  • The status of the WO (partially or fully completed, not completed)
  • Observations or suggestions.

In companies, a work permit form must be filled out regularly together with the work order, where all the precautions and possible risks that exist in the workplace are taken into consideration.

Preventive Work Order

These work orders are somewhat different. In these work orders, the work to be done is precisely known, since they result from a preventive maintenance plan. Therefore, their planning is much more precise in terms of time, parts, tools and tasks to be performed. A preventive work order regularly has the following information:

  • Maintenance plan activity code or Maintenance range
  • Periodicity (given in terms of the machine’s control variable)
  • Date of realization
  • Estimated completion time
  • Start date and end date
  • Name of the technicians to intervene
  • Risk analysis
  • List of tools and materials needed
  • List of areas to be executed
  • Check list

It is important to emphasize that the information provided in the work orders must be truthful. The basis of the information on which the decisions made in maintenance areas are based is born from the work order. Technicians, supervisors, operation personnel must give the importance that it deserves to the work order.


The above is a question that is asked by many and the answer depends largely on the company you work for. Regularly the CMMS software has a module where you can make work orders, and track the generation of efficiency indicators of the department.

However, there are other companies that, due to their size and structure, do not have the way to acquire a CMMS maintenance management software. Therefore, maintenance engineers and managers are forced to use tools such as Excel, to track their activities.

If you are one of those who still work your maintenance from Excel, then you may be interested in our Macro for work order management.