5 Strategies for Addressing and Preventing Work Order Backlog

controlling productivity

Ideally, on a regular basis, businesses such as medical facilities and schools should perform repairs or maintenance on equipment, machines, and vehicles to prevent failures, damages, and accidents on grounds. A work order backlog occurs when uncompleted tasks accumulate. 

Many companies still work with spreadsheets and paper documents to manage work orders. Some may use management software, but some of these platforms can be complex and generate oversized and difficult-to-understand reports, causing headaches for both facility managers and technicians. By implementing some simple strategies and integrating user-friendly applications, frustrations derived from clearing work order backlogs can be a thing of the past.

Integrate Online and Enable Mobile Use

Organizing data, managing costs, and creating reports on paper takes a lot of time and energy. Keeping work orders up to date online, with software developed specifically for this function, is a smart move, making it easy to share information between different teams, assign jobs, and perform other maintenance-related tasks.

It’s essential this technology is accessible to workers and renders operations more efficient. There is no point in wasting months of training on ineffectual software.

A useful work order management software that can be operated on mobiles and smartphones is the solution. Such tools offer user-friendly platforms that your workers can learn quickly and use as part of their daily routines.

Set Up Internal Tracking Systems

It’s crucial to establish the right balance between responsibility and autonomy for your maintenance department to be efficient. 

This balance isn’t easy to accomplish through paperwork, but a digital system allows you to track maintenance department activity to access information relating to work orders instantly.

Maintenance managers can keep track of which and how often equipment has been repaired, monthly and annual costs, inventory levels, team performance, and other essential functions.

Practice Preventive Maintenance

Some wait for a machine or equipment to start having problems to fix it. But investment in preventive maintenance allows for more significant savings, reduces repair costs, helps restore equipment functionality, and ensures increased safety for the workers and the workplace.

A digital solution can help organize and manage backlogs efficiently, but these recommendations can help you to start practicing preventive maintenance:

  • Gather all current information about machinery, equipment, and vehicles in an inventory, including manuals and serial codes.
  • Inspect the equipment to define the need for repairs, prioritizing what’s in critical condition.
  • Review the equipment’s maintenance history to determine how often each should undergo preventive maintenance.
  • Identify equipment that requires more time and money, and pay special attention to these.
  • Conduct frequent training for your maintenance team.

Maintain Clear Communication with Technicians

In a team, different workers have different ideas about the best way to do their job. They need leadership since differences in performance, or incorrect understanding of a task can cause significant problems.

Ensuring effective team communication is relatively easy to manage in a small business, where supervisors are closer and provide more frequent practical guidance. As the business grows, it must prioritize communication channels with technicians to avoid misunderstandings.

A work order software can help you communicate with technicians. Still, you need to know how to communicate verbally with them, showing patience, attention to detail, and offering efficient solutions to problems. Communicating disrespectfully or lacking confidence in the face of challenges can compromise your relationship with the team.

Learn from Data Analytics

More than streamlining operations, an efficient work order software allows you to compile a series of essential data about the company’s maintenance operations, gain a more comprehensive view of what was carried out, and learn from these reports’ analysis.

For example, you can identify the average maintenance cost for each item through equipment maintenance reports and which utilities have the highest cost. Based on this data, you can determine whether it is better to repair or replace machinery.

At the same time, data analysis allows you to manage your team’s performance, particularly:

  • what is the average response time in the case of more urgent maintenance,
  • what is the average resolution time, 
  • the number of hours each worker is performing, 
  • and much more.

Organized Processes Save Time and Money

Software and mobile applications for work orders are some of the best ways to avoid miscommunications, equipment problems, delays, and unnecessary backlogs. There are different products on the market, but you should prioritize features such as usability, real-time chat, tools that allow you to follow workflow, and easily decipherable report analyses.

Good work order software, combined with practices such as preventive maintenance and clear communication with technicians, can help you avoid accumulating work orders, saving time and money.