What’s a Work Order Request? How is it Different From a Maintenance Work Order?

What is a Work Order Request
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Asset maintenance involves multiple teams that work in parallel to one another to support daily business operations. What is a work order request? How is it different from a maintenance work order? Understanding this relationship helps end-users and maintenance teams to collaborate most effectively. 

As Chris Harte, Customer Success Manager at Qualer says, “Communication and visibility across a laboratory’s maintenance team is essential to prevent asset downtimes and productivity disruptions. Work order requests and maintenance work orders are foundational to keeping those communication lines open, and for ensuring asset-level service histories are clear, accurate, useful, and concise.” 

Today, we’ll explore what a work order request is, how it differs from maintenance work orders, and why they are crucial to any asset maintenance program. We’ll also touch on modern solutions that keep asset maintenance programs operating seamlessly with a special focus on the needs of laboratory facilities.

What is a Work Order Request? 

A work order request, sometimes called a work order maintenance request, is performed when an asset is in need of maintenance or repairs that have not been scheduled or planned yet. This step is the precursor to creating a work order. It is also commonly called a maintenance order request. 

Work order requests are typically filled out by technicians and maintenance personnel when they come across an asset that isn’t operating properly, or, when it’s time to schedule regular maintenance.

How do work orders add value to an organization? Facilities with streamlined work order procedures experience a 25% reduction in operational costs and a 20% increase in overall productivity.

Let’s consider how a work order request might begin in a laboratory setting. 

For instance, a lab technician starts their work day by running calibration checks on essential assets, such as an analytical balance or pH meter. The technician observes an analytical balance fails its daily calibration check and they determine it requires service. 

This is when a work order request would come into play; the technician then completes a work order request for the analytical balance to be serviced.

What is a Maintenance Work Order?

A maintenance work order, also called a work order, is the documentation that happens after the work order request. After a work order request is submitted, a member of the maintenance team will review the request and determine the appropriate course of action. Once they have determined the best next steps, they’ll create a work order for that work to be done.

Let’s go back to the analytical balance in the previous section that was found to be out of calibration. The technician submitted a work order request that was reviewed by someone at the facility’s in-house asset maintenance team.

After reviewing the work order request, the maintenance technician went to the lab where the analytical balance was and ran some physical and diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the failed calibration check. Once they determined the cause of the problem, they created a work order to have the problem resolved and scheduled an onsite service with an external vendor.

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What is the Difference Between a Maintenance Work Order and a Work Order Request?

The difference between a maintenance work order and a work order request is that a work order request serves to formally notify the maintenance team of a potential issue or need for maintenance. It acts as an initial alert. 

A maintenance work order, on the other hand, represents the authorization and detailed plan for the maintenance team to proceed with the necessary scheduled work for repairs or maintenance tasks.

As Anna Paula Alvarez, Project Manager at Qualer says, “Both types of documentation are an integral part of any asset maintenance management program and ensure maintenance teams and all stakeholders have the tools and information they need, when they need it.”

Why Work Order Requests and Work Orders Make Maintenance Management Easier

Work order requests and work orders significantly simplifies maintenance management, making it more efficient and effective. This system ensures that all maintenance needs are systematically recorded, evaluated, and addressed according to their priority and urgency. 

When part of a robust maintenance management system, these work requests and work orders serve to ensure:

  • Streamlined communications: By formalizing requests and work orders, communication between departments or customers and service providers is made clear. This reduces misunderstandings, ensures technical specificity and that everyone involved is aware of maintenance needs and statuses.
  • Efficient prioritization: With a structured process, maintenance tasks can be evaluated and prioritized based on their urgency ,technician skills required and impact on operations. This helps in allocating resources more effectively and avoiding downtime.
  • Accurate documentation and tracking: Every work order request and work order provides a documented history of maintenance activities. This is invaluable for tracking asset health, planning future maintenance, and compliance with regulations.
  • Improved accountability: Assigning specific tasks to individuals or teams with a documented work order enhances accountability, ensuring that maintenance tasks are completed as planned.
  • Data for decision making: Accumulated data from work orders and requests can be analyzed to identify trends, predict future maintenance needs, and optimize the maintenance schedule.

Modern Work Order Management: CMMS Technology Takes the Lead

Traditionally, work orders and work order requests were paper documents that were filled out by hand and physically submitted to the appropriate person or department. However, Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) solutions have eliminated the need for paper documents while making maintenance operations less costly and more efficient. 

Additionally, 78% of companies that use a CMMS to manage their assets report seeing improvements in equipment life. Other benefits of using a CMMS include:

  • Improved visibility and communication: Digital submission of work order requests improve response time and resource assignment, while in-platform status indicators and alerts drive awareness throughout the maintenance process for all impacted parties.
  • Adopt predictive maintenance strategies. Data from CMMS solutions enable organizations to adopt predictive and maintenance strategies more easily, saving them an average of $10 000 each year.
  • Increased regulatory compliance & Audit Readiness: CMMS solutions often come with features that assist in maintaining up-to-date records of maintenance activities, safety procedures, compliance certificates and reports. 

This is especially helpful to laboratories whose assets must adhere to stringent industry regulations and standards, such as ISO 17025, cGMP, and others.

  • Reduced downtime and increased productivity: By facilitating timely maintenance and repairs, CMMS helps minimize equipment downtime. This ensures that operations run smoothly, leading to increased productivity and efficiency across the organization.
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Qualer: Asset Maintenance Management Experts for Laboratories

The health, availability, and performance of lab assets are extremely important for laboratories. Not only do they ensure the quality and validity of the data the lab produces, they’re often tied directly to a facility’s compliance regulations.

At Qualer, we recognize the unique asset maintenance requirements laboratories face. Our team has over 30 years of experience in the science industry. That’s how we knew when we built a CMMS specific to laboratories that we’d gotten it right.

To make your lab’s equipment and asset health better and to spend less on their maintenance costs, contact us and book a demo

We’ve helped a number of leading laboratories improve their asset maintenance programs, and we can help you too.

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