An Overview of Work Order Software Then and Now
Work orders are the backbone of any operation’s maintenance management system. While preventative maintenance tasks falling under the “planned maintenance” category may seem as if they can be easily accomplished with a calendar and some standard recurring work orders, maintenance management gets much trickier when unplanned corrective action is required. Breakdowns happen, even with the best maintenance practices, and the more asset-intensive the operation is, the more important it becomes to use a work order process which minimizes downtime.
The terminology which is the legacy of work orders left over from 20th Century enterprise business processes gives us a hint about the major drawback of these antiquated workflow procedures. Long before the days of the smartphone and the Big Data power of the cloud, work orders were also known as:
Before the dawn of the desktop computer era, all of the above was accomplished with paper-based administration. “Tickets” had to be initiated by the person discovering a defect in writing, forwarded to the person who had the authority to issue an actual work order, and received by the appropriate department responsible for executing the order.
Just the term “ticket” conjures up a host of scenarios about what could go wrong as it makes its way along the old slow paperwork trail. Tickets fly out of pockets. Ink gets smudged to the point where it’s illegible. Orders are forwarded to the wrong department, or conveniently discarded by a disgruntled employee who’d rather not crawl under the truck today. Carbon copies are faded and subject to tampering. The paper-based system is anything but a streamlined, reliable workflow process.
When the order is finally executed the process is reversed; that is if a harried maintenance manager can find the time to run those completed orders back up to the main office, where they will be stamped, stored, and absorbed into the vast archives of file cabinets or mountains of cardboard boxes at great storage expense to the company. Should those repair records be required to comply with a DOT inspection the whole fleet will be in a scramble to lay hands on the required documents. In the meantime, the fleet stands deprived of a vehicle that’s fully ready to roll, still parked while the paperwork clearing it to carry its share of the load catches up.
The burden of paperwork is so obvious and cumbersome that by the end of the 20th Century most forward-thinking enterprises were quick to embrace the digital transformation technology becoming available at the time.
Which leads us to our next work order process.
The term “spreadsheets” hardly inspires confidence for those of us who don’t hold advanced accounting degrees. But back in the last century spreadsheets were the go-to solution for overcoming the problems caused by paperwork. One of the most popular spreadsheet programs is Excel, embraced by the tech-savvy IT types, but frequently loathed by everyone else in maintenance and on the road. Microsoft’s most popular program, now under the Windows 10 umbrella, has so many issues for businesses that it has a dedicatedExcel repair website. Common issues which can throw roadblocks into the maintenance management workflow include:
Stops responding, hanging, or freezing- Not an issue with Whip Around with the power of the cloud. With Excel frequent updates must be installed. With Whip Around we maintain the app so you don’t have to.
Printing issues- And we’re back to paper again because mechanics can’t access the spreadsheet on their smartphones and it’s not in the maintenance budget to issue a costly iPad to all personnel. With Whip Around expensive print cartridges, paper, and iPads are all unnecessary expenses which are eliminated with the convenience of the smartphones everyone has and knows how to use.
Content is Unreadable. Open and Repair- Caused by the corruption of the entire file or even just one object in the file. Now you have another repair ticket to issue on the program which is supposed to issue repair tickets. Talk about a classic Catch 22! Whip Around’s industry-leading uptime performance means that it’s ready when you need it to stay ahead of fleet maintenance and operations. That’s why leading corporations including Amazon and Fed-Ex rely on Whip Around to optimize their fleets’ safety.
Formula Performance and Pasting Issues- This can be particularly troublesome when work orders involve separate platforms between internal departments or external maintenance resources required for leased vehicles and equipment. An IT expert can fix the problem, but again you’re now spending time repairing the wrong asset when fleet uptime is the priority. One of Whip Around’s most attractive features is the capability it gives managers to integrate existing fleet management software for a painless transition without the need for a team of IT experts.
Just as the spreadsheet overtook paper in its day, Whip Around has relegated the spreadsheet to the category of antique legacy software. When you choose Whip Around you easily generate and track work orders, manage lists of faults, and optimize planned maintenance schedules to keep the fleet rolling at maximum operating capacity. Your drivers are your first line of defense when it comes to nipping maintenance problems in the bud before they evolve into costly over-the-road breakdowns. With Whip Around, drivers can perform inspections and add comments and images with the convenience of the smartphones they love and know how to use. Managers and mechanics can be brought into the loop in real time without the delays caused by paperwork or spreadsheet technical difficulties.
Best of all, Whip Around puts the power of the cloud in your hands, so fleets large and small can benefit from Big Data capabilities and business enhancing analytics without huge capital investments in onsite mainframe computers and IT hardware. Alerts and notifications can be broadcast to the entire fleet, and work order tracking data can be analyzed to make important decisions about asset repair or replacement.
When you’re ready to upgrade your fleet operations to keep pace with the demanding digital environment of the 21st Century you’re ready for Whip Around so don’t hesitate to contact us.