A Best Practices Guide to Work Order Management for Fleets

If you’re like many, you may fail to devote significant attention to managing work orders. You know your vehicles need servicing, but it’s easy to let things slide with so much going on in your business.

Unfortunately, this often leads to lapses in recommended preventive maintenance on equipment which can really impact your business over time.

Then comes costly compliance failures, potential downtime, and sluggish supply chain operations as a result. The good news? These barriers are easy to overcome by introducing technology and automation into your current equipment maintenance processes.

In this post, you’ll learn the basics for creating a modern work order management strategy and a few best practices to improve your process for any asset you need serviced.

What Exactly Is Work Order Management?

Work order management is the process used to ensure that maintenance tasks, inspections, and repairs are addressed in a timely manner.

With an efficient management process, operations managers are able to extend the life of their equipment and achieve compliance goals more easily.

In managing work orders more efficiently as a fleet, the entire supply chain process is simply much smoother and more efficient because interruptions to productivity are minimized.

What Are the Consequences of Poor Work Order Management?

Since dealing with work orders is such an important part of being a fleet manager, preparing them haphazardly or failing to process them at all can wreak havoc on your overall productivity and supply chain operations.

Your equipment and fleet vehicles are also more likely to experience problems and break down without proper preventative maintenance work order activity.

All of this broken down equipment may eventually lead to some pretty serious negatives, like:

  • Product defects and slowed production
  • Late deliveries due to defective equipment and vehicles
  • Damaged industry industry reputation
  • Loss of key customers

Work Orders and Preventative Maintenance

If you have never worked in an industry that involves transportation or capital equipment usage, you may ask yourself, “What Does Preventative Maintenance Accomplish”?

Analyzing your company’s work order history before and after introducing a preventative maintenance program can provide a clear answer to this question.

The reason why this is worth mentioning is because after implementing a sound maintenance program, the total number of unplanned work orders should decline in general. The majority of work orders that are requested should instead be centered around equipment servicing or annual inspections, not urgent fixes.

Here are a few of the top tasks that a digital work order solution like Whip Around Maintain can help with:

Scheduling Routine Maintenance

From fleet vehicles to warehouse forklifts, using a digital work order solution for periodic maintenance can help ensure that your equipment performs according to manufacturer specifications. When done digitally, work orders can easily be created based on these reminders, without having to remember to request service from your mechanic, for example.

These maintenance reminders are the key to achieving equipment longevity and sustained productivity with time, but it’s being able to use this data to create various work orders that really adds value.

Digital Inspections

Digital inspections enable vehicle operators to be more productive, but anything that needs attention needs a work order submitted.

The benefit of a digital solution is that work orders can be submitted at virtually any location and at any time in a matter of minutes. Drivers do not have to waste time tracking down paper forms and pens, thereby reducing the number of delayed or forgotten inspections.

Best of all, inspection results can be centralized and the introduction of an organized inspection process will delight compliance auditors.

Fault Alerts

A fault alert is a type of maintenance trigger that notifies users that a piece of equipment is malfunctioning due to a defective or worn part.

In some cases, the fault alert appears as an error message, though not all alerts feature accompanying information. Regardless of the type of alert received, it is important to address the situation immediately for safety and compliance reasons, and respond by creating a work order if needed.

Even though this may mean temporarily discontinuing use of a vehicle or piece of equipment, instantly creating work order as soon as a fault is detected will get your assets repaired faster, and is a best practice worth implementing.

What Information Should You Always Remember to Include in a Work Order?

A work order is useless without certain key pieces of information. In order to quickly process them, a preventative maintenance technician needs to know who requested the work order, what requires attention, when the problem was diagnosed, where the equipment is located, and why the service is needed.

Here is a quick summary of the items you need to remember to include in a work order:

  • Employee or department requesting the work order

  • Issue or presenting problem with the vehicle or equipment

  • Date and time of the work order request

  • Location of the vehicle or equipment

  • Priority or level of severity of the work order request

3 Best Practices for Managing Your Company’s Work Orders

Until the 21st century, the overwhelming majority of work order tasks were completed using paper forms that were passed down the supply chain until a task was completed. The advent of digital work orders has transformed this process, reducing the number of forgotten, misplaced, or inaccurate work orders.

Here are a few best practices for using technology to automate work order tasks:

1. Make them as convenient as possible

No longer do employees and equipment managers need to struggle to remember recommended servicing dates. They are able to receive convenient updates electronically and tend to servicing immediately using technology.

No dropping off work orders or wondering about the status of a repair.

2. Automate your overall work flow

Man making repairs on fleet vehicle

With work orders, automation improves the overall work flow and supply chain activity by creating a more seamless succession of events.
Thanks to technology like Whip Around, work order requests reach the intended recipients lightning fast and there are no delays due to lost or illegible paperwork.

Faster Turnaround Time Thanks to Automation

In today’s competitive landscape, surpassing your competitors often means delivering products or services faster than they do. Automation is one of the best ways to expedite your operations and prepare work orders more quickly so your vehicles and drivers get back on the road.

3. Combine speed with accuracy

Submitting work orders manually can sometimes take days (or weeks), get lost in the process, not to mention that they’re not always accurate or legible!

Whether you have an in-house or external mechanic responsible for inbound work orders, it’s super important to be able to complete them in a timely fashion and with complete and total accuracy.

Because when work orders are prepared faster and with greater accuracy, there are fewer delays related to manually delivering them to a mechanic, not to mention the time it can take to interpret handwriting.

What Is the Best Path to Sound Work Order Management?

As discussed above, creating a seamless work order management process where all involved parties have complete and total access to the work being performed is essential to productivity.

Since your vehicles or equipment are so important to profitability and maintaining a high profit margin for your company, the way you deal with and handle these work order forms is imperative.

Take the Next Step

If you’re looking to explore a modern way to manage work orders for your drivers, fleet managers, and mechanics, Whip Around Maintain is a simple and easy way to get started.

To see for yourself, schedule a demo of Whip Around for an overview of how it can make your company’s work order management process easier and more straightforward for everyone involved.

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