How to: A Basic Work Order Management Process

Posted by Jessica Aceto

Thu, Jun 18, 2015

 EAM systems offer succinct, manageable methods for reducing an asset-intensive organization’s cost of operation and capital expenditure. The system improves productivity and customer service, while ensuring that actionable performance records are kept for every task so that organizational efficiency can be easily examined. However, many organizations are unfamiliar with the exact meaning of the work order management process.

This outline provides a basic overview of how work order management is performed.

Work Orders and Workflows

In a work order management system, work orders are first: a means for work requests to be initiated; and second: a record of activities that comprise the organization’s assets, locations, or systems.

Entailed in the work order record:

  • Performed tasks
  • Labor hours
  • Services and materials used, if any
  • Tools required
  • Asset and location identifiers


The work order management process begins when the work order is created. This can be accomplished through a number of channels, such as a mobile device or the system itself. With EAM systems some types of work orders, such as preventative maintenance and fixed tasks, are triggered automatically once they have been configured according to their specific parameters.  

The order management process is then controlled by the workflow, which is based on the type of work to be performed. For example, by using workflow options, additions such as planning, actions taken, and other information is populated for later records.


 This image is from the ClickSoftware and Maximo integration, Schedule Optimizer for Maximo. Here you see a work order being created inside of Maximo, and the ability to select on the ClickSoftware tab to then schedule to a technician and track the work order through it's entire lifecycle.

Categorizing Work Types for the Workflow Process

Categories are used in work order management to dictate the workflow process. Some categories include:

  • Corrective maintenance—restoring an asset after a failure
  • Service Work—customer request not associated with a problem
  • Fixed tasks—is a standing order that needs performed on a regular basis
  • Preventative Maintenance—proactive orders designed to prevent failures
  • Events—are designed to address work that is unrelated to asset maintenance or corrections

Although there are any number of different categories that you can delineate in a comprehensive EAM system, for this purpose, we’ll examine the process for on-demand work. These include work orders that are usually initiated by customer requests or problem reports, and if no category is assigned, this is the default workflow process.

3 Phases of the Workflow

Work order management generates an orderly series of steps, grouped into phases, which increase operational visibility. The phases help organize the way the workflow performs, and the additions/changes that can be made and by whom.

Phase 1—Triage, planning, and approval

Triage and planning allows the workflow to make assignments to individuals and groups according to access parameters (administrative level, or higher access), and only those users can make alterations and issue approval. Planning fields are populated (description, target dates, steps, materials, labor, etc.), and then the order is routed appropriately (approval, backlog, cancel, etc.).

Phase 2—Scheduling, assignment, and execution

Once the work order has been approved, the second stage deals with the activities related to that specific task. During this stage, anyone with permission may make changes, but usually, function based applications are used to direct the workflow such as Scheduler, Assignment Manager, Mobile-Work Manager, or Quick Reporting. At this point, the work order takes on more specifics. The Laborer, start date, and work logs are updated.

Phase 3—Completion review

This phase is similar to the first in that the work order is assigned to a specific user who reviews it and, hopefully, moves the status to waiting to close, which is done automatically by the system when billing has been completed.

No matter what your solution, a basic work order management process is necessary to achieve real KPIs and results within your asset intensive organization.

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Tags: IBM Maximo, Asset Management