Tag: Work Management

Work Orders & Work Order Management

Work Orders and Work Order Management

Project Management touches upon many different aspects when delivering, one of those aspects are work orders. Work orders should do more than simply describe jobs to contractors. There are many different types of work orders that can be used and any business can benefit from implementing a superior work order process. 

A work order is the channel between the customer and the work to be done. It’s the paper trail defining what needs to be done, by when and for how much. As project managers, we would have signed off or been given a work order, but is there a real understanding on why it is such a crucial link in many business transactions.

A work order is a document that describes a job between a customer and a contractor. Work orders can be generated for use within an organization, but they most commonly serve as a contract between the customer and whomever they contract to execute the desired work.

A work order includes a description of the job with an estimate of what it will cost to get it done, including labour, parts and materials. There might be forms attached depending on the type of work being assigned, which may require permits or other paperwork.

The work order will also have information on the location where the work is needed, who will carry it out and the timeframe in which it should be completed. The customer information is also included and can be used as an invoice for the work.

Work orders standardize workflow and create a simple and fast process for scheduling, assigning and tracking work while documenting resources and tracking performance. Primarily used in the construction industry for service requests, but can also be used for products, inspections and audits. In manufacturing a work order is often called a sales order when a build or engineering is to take place.

Regardless of what industry a work order is used in, it is used to track and monitor progress of the status of the job. This is true when used in field service or within an industry that is tasked with regular inspection. In that regard they act almost like a status report.

In terms of structure there are several types of work orders.

  • Quotes: This type of work order is a list of products with their pricing included. These quotes are captured and the customer can then make the decision as to whether they meet their financial requirements for the work. These products are not committed to inventory.
  • Orders: The difference between a quote work order and an orders-based work order is that the latter is a list of products that are more likely to be purchased by the customer. Therefore, these can be committed to an inventory.
  • Unplanned Work Order: This addresses work that has not been planned ahead, such as when machinery breaks down.
  • Planned Work Order: When there is work that recurs and can be scheduled, such as preventive maintenance, then it’s called a planned work order.
  • Internal Work Order: These are work orders that originate from someone in the organization and are sent to another person in the organization.
  • External Work Order: When a work order originates from outside the organization.
  • Manual Work Order: This work order is scheduled by hand after getting a work request.
  • Automatic Work Order: When a work order can be set up to automatically schedule assignments, such as a software tool.

These types are somewhat flexible in that once the work order is made, it can be changed from a quote to an order, detailing how many products on the quote can be committed to. An order to a quote has the order-only information, such as an authorization date.

A work order is in effect a task. It’s a way to describe, assign and track a job to make sure it is completed on time and within an agreed-upon budget. Managing the creating and flow of a work order as it moves from initiation to execution and completion is key.

The work order process follows three steps:

1. Create a new work order
2. Traffic through the organization
3. Close the work order when complete

In terms of those who are involved in work order management, they include the person who requested the work, the individual who is authorized to approve it and those who carry it out.

Having some reporting mechanism will also help to keep track of the work and make sure that it’s finished by the deadline. When finished, payment is required, and so payroll needs to be involved to manage any down payments and then final pay.

Project Software can help organize work and drive efficiency. Generating, tracking and paying for work orders is enhanced by cloud-based tool that provides real-time data to always know if the project is on schedule.

Kanban boards can be used to create work orders, add attachments, set priorities and track progress. Work orders are made on cards that are then placed beneath columns that represent the phases of the work, which can be customized to match an organization’s nomenclature.

Keep track of progress on dashboards that automatically reflect status updates and calculate metrics such as time, tasks, costs and more. If the crew is predominately in the field, as long as there is internet connectivity, they can update their status or collaborate by commenting at the task level.

Time logged on work can also be tracked with time sheets that streamline payroll as well. They’re secure and easy to use. Let us know your work order experience, approach taken and results to the project’s success. All the very best on your project management journey.

Work Management and managing a team’s workload

Work Management

Work management helps managers improve how they balance workloads, communicate goals and track progress. Overlooking the importance of work management is a common managerial mistake. Project management spends a lot of time on the work that must happen before any project can be executed. Researching the feasibility of the project, planning for its success, scheduling tasks, organizing resources and building a budget are all important.

Then comes the execution phase and often much of a project manager’s attention is focused on monitoring, tracking and reporting on progress and performance. While this is happening, overlooking the team can occur, when it shouldn’t.

Getting the most out of the team, making sure they have the necessary resources to match their capacity at a specific point in the project is key to maximizing productivity. To create that optimum workflow structure requires a work management methodology.

Work management is the intersection of business and team processes to structure workflow so that teams work more efficiently. It’s a way to manage the team and the way they work to assist with increased efficiencies.

This can be applied to the scope of the project or the organization of the project’s operations. Either way, the goal is to streamline these processes to better schedule tasks, meet the expectations of stakeholders, manage resources and evaluate performance to further improve productivity.

The cycle of managing work starts with identifying that work, planning and scheduling it, and then executing the work. Management of this work is important as can it improve performance.

Better performance is one of the reasons for work management, which leads to more quality deliverables on time and within budget. But work management also streamlines processes not merely to improve their performance but to reduce any redundancies that are unnecessarily taking up valuable time and money.

In short, work management is known to reduce waste. Getting rid of those activities that serve no purpose creates better projects.

But there’s more an active work management plan produces, such as fostering collaboration on tasks to work better together. Communication is the essence for all project management processes and so better communications are part of a work management program. It speaks to collaboration, but also clear direction.

Work management is about taking many of the different parts of managing a project as they relate to the team and integrating them into a system that boosts productivity. Therefore, work management touches many aspects of project management.

The elements of work management read like the features of a powerful project management tool. They incorporate resource management, collaboration, time and task management, budgeting, reporting and more. In a sense, work management is the hub around which all these spokes turn.

There are some common aspects to detail regardless of where you work. Collect these elements with the team’s involvement. The secret to a successful work management system is not to have it rigidly defined. It must be a living process that is constantly being reviewed and renewed.

Being transparent with the plan ahead, also seek feedback. This will lead to a happier, more creative and accountable team due to a building of mutual respect. Clear communication goes hand-in-glove with transparency. Good communication builds collaborative and productive teams.

Being open to feedback builds trust and retains employees, which leads to greater work productivity. Make everyone feel an integral part of the process and that their opinions are valued.

Giving the team, the tools to better collaborate is a driver to greater productivity. It also helps to solidify teams and boost morale, which in turn leads to greater productivity. This leads to trust, resources are hired for their skills and experience.

Factor to always consider is a team’s burn out, when delivering project the attrition rate of a team can be overlooked, always maintain a work life balance, without compromising the project time frame. Choose a mechanism to avoid burnout that works for the team, social events for example, collaborate with the team and determine what works.

Another problem is not dealing with issues as they arise in the project. This can be project or personnel-related. Either way, ignoring the issue will not make it go away. On the contrary, it will fester and grow, often to the point that it disrupts work.

Project Managers shouldn’t get in the way of their teams, but also need to have transparency in their work. To have access to a team management page which lists everyone, their tasks and the task percentage complete is a great help. This workload page can be used to determine if anyone is not performing because they’re over allocated. Then reallocate to free them up.

Having the tools to get a high-level view of the project with a real-time dashboard can assist. By automatically tracking project metrics and managing a team’s work load is no easy task, but following the steps mentioned should assist. Let us know your approach to managing a team, we would like to hear from you. All the very best on your project management journey.