Work Order Management: A Field Service Professional’s Guide

In this article, we'll examine work order management for field service businesses and explore tactics and tools to implement it.

Efficiency is the name of the game in field service, and it all starts with effective work order management. In this article, we’re exploring work order management and why it’s a game-changer for field service professionals.

At its core, work order management is the process of organizing, scheduling, and tracking tasks and services in the field service industry. It’s all about efficiently managing the work that needs to be done, from the initial request to the final completion.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with the insights, tools, and strategies you need to optimize your work order management processes.

So, are you ready to take your work order management skills to the next level?

Let’s dive in and explore the world of efficient, organized, and customer-centric field service operations.

What is Work Order Management?

Let’s take a closer look at the concept of work order management. What exactly is it, and how does it operate in the field service industry?

In the context of field service, work order management refers to the comprehensive process of planning, scheduling, executing, and tracking service requests or tasks. It’s the behind-the-scenes work that ensures field service operations run like a well-oiled machine.

How Does It Differ from Other Management Tasks?

Work order management is often confused with project management or task management. While they share some similarities, there are a few key differences.

Project Management

Task Management

The Lifecycle of a Work Order

A work order goes through several stages. Each stage plays a vital role in ensuring that the job gets done efficiently and effectively.

1. Creation

A work order is created when a customer makes a request or a need arises within your organization. Work orders are like tickets that capture all the necessary information, such as the task description, location, priority, and any required materials.

2. Scheduling

Scheduling a work order requires assigning the task to the right technician, considering factors like their skills, location, and availability. The goal here is to optimize resource allocation for maximum efficiency.

3. Dispatching

To dispatch your work order, you must send your technician into the field equipped with all the information they need to complete the task successfully.

4. Execution

After dispatch, the technician arrives at the job site, armed with the work order details. They complete the task, whether repairing equipment, conducting maintenance, or providing a service. This stage requires efficient use of time, resources, and skills.

5. Monitoring and Tracking

Throughout the execution phase, the progress of the work order is closely monitored. Any changes, delays, or issues are noted and communicated to ensure transparency and responsiveness.

6. Completion and Closure

Once the task is successfully completed, the work order is closed. This stage requires documenting all relevant details, obtaining customer approval if necessary, and updating records. Closure is the final step that ensures nothing falls through the cracks.

The Players in Work Order Management

Work order management is a team effort, and different personnel play distinct roles in making it work seamlessly.

1. Field Technicians

Field technicians carry out the tasks specified in the work order. They need to be skilled, punctual, and well-equipped to tackle various challenges in the field.

2. Schedulers and Dispatchers

Schedulers and dispatchers assign work orders to technicians, considering factors like location, skills, and urgency.

3. Managers and Supervisors

Managers and supervisors oversee the entire work order management process. They ensure that everything is running smoothly, troubleshoot any issues, and make strategic decisions to optimize operations.

4. Customers

Last but certainly not least, customers are a vital part of the equation. Their requests and feedback are what drive the need for work orders. Customer satisfaction is often the ultimate goal.
78% of companies who use work order management software reported seeing improvements in equipment life.

Key Components of Work Order Management

Now that we’ve got a solid grasp of what work order management is all about, it’s time to dive into the key components that make it tick. From creation to closure, these elements are the building blocks of successful work order management.

Work Order Creation

When creating a work order, clarity is your best friend. The more specific and detailed your work order is, the smoother the entire process will be. This means including vital information such as:


Once you’ve created a work order, the next step is to assign it to the most suitable technician. This involves matching skills, availability, and location to ensure efficiency.


Execution is where the rubber meets the road. It’s crucial that everyone involved is on the same page.


Once the task is completed, it’s time to close the work order. This isn’t just about ticking a box; it’s about ensuring that all relevant information is recorded:

The Role of Effective Communication

Throughout the entire work order management process, communication is the glue that holds everything together. Here’s why it’s so crucial:
The primary reasons for workplace failures are ineffective collaboration and communication, according to 86% of employees.

Common Challenges in Work Order Management

Work order management has its fair share of challenges and hurdles. In this section, we’re going to shine a light on some of the most common obstacles you might encounter.

Challenge #1: Miscommunication

Poor communication between anyone involved in a work order can lead to confusion, delays, and frustration. It can lead to tasks being assigned to the wrong technician or, even worse, multiple technicians showing up for the same job.

Additionally, when customers are left in the dark due to miscommunication, their satisfaction takes a nosedive. These misunderstandings can result in wasted time, materials, and money.

Challenge #2: Delayed Responses and Updates

In today’s fast-paced world, delayed responses can be a significant stumbling block. They can cause tasks to miss their deadlines, affecting efficiency.

Customers expect prompt service, and delays can lead to frustration. Technicians can also be left idle while waiting for instructions or materials.

Challenge #3: Incomplete Information

Incomplete work order information will lead to confusion and inefficiencies. Technicians will waste time trying to figure out missing details or materials. This lack of information can lead to mistakes in task execution.
Incomplete information costs US businesses $3 trillion annually.

Strategies for Effective Work Order Management

Now that we’ve identified the common challenges in work order management, it’s time to equip you with some tried-and-true strategies to tackle these obstacles head-on.

Standardize Your Work Order Process

Standardization is the key to effective work order management. When every work order follows a set process, you eliminate confusion and streamline operations.

Embrace Technology

In today’s digital age, leveraging technology can be a game-changer in work order management.

Monitor and Analyze

Monitoring and analyzing your work order management data can uncover insights and opportunities for improvement.

Tools and Software for Work Order Management

Having the right tools and software for work order management can make all the difference. In this section, outline key features to consider when selecting work order management software and introduce you to some top-rated options tailored for field service professionals.

Features to Look For in Work Order Management Software

When selecting work order management software, there are a few things to look out for.

1. Mobile Accessibility

Mobile accessibility is a must in today’s field service landscape. Technicians need to access and update work orders while on the field, so ensure that the software has user-friendly mobile apps.

2. Real-Time Updates

Real-time updates are crucial for staying informed about work order progress, delays, or changes. Look for software that provides real-time notifications and status tracking.

3. Integration Capabilities

Your work order management software should seamlessly integrate with other tools and software you use in your operations. This ensures a smooth flow of information and data.

Top-Rated Work Order Management Tools

Now that you know what to look for in work order management software, here are some top-rated options that have earned the trust of field service professionals:
Workyard is a top-notch work order management software that’s specifically designed to cater to the needs of field service professionals.

See how Workyard can streamline your work order management

ServiceTitan is a popular choice among field service professionals. It offers robust features like scheduling, dispatching, invoicing, and reporting.
ServiceTitan is a popular choice among field service professionals. It offers robust features like scheduling, dispatching, invoicing, and reporting.
FieldEdge is another solid option, offering features like scheduling, dispatching, and customer management. It’s designed to enhance the efficiency of field service operations.
UpKeep is a user-friendly CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) that simplifies work order management and maintenance tasks.

Evaluating Work Order Management Solutions

Now, we know some of the best work order management solutions. But how do you choose one? The right choice can significantly impact your operations, so let’s dive in and guide you through the evaluation process.

Step 1: Assess Your Business Needs

Before you start evaluating specific solutions, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of your business needs and goals. Here are some questions to ask:

Step 2: Consider the Key Factors

As you evaluate different work order management solutions, consider the features we outlined above.

  1. The software should be intuitive and user-friendly.
  2. Ensure that the software can grow with your business.
  3. If your technicians work in the field, mobile accessibility is non-negotiable.
  4. Check if the software can seamlessly integrate with other tools you use.
  5. Look for software that allows you to customize fields, templates, and reports
  6. Choose software with robust reporting and analytics features.
  7. Consider the total cost of ownership, including subscription fees, training costs, and any potential additional fees.
  8. Ensure that the software provider offers responsive and helpful support.
  9. Research user reviews and testimonials.

Step 3: Make Your Decision

As you evaluate different solutions based on the factors mentioned above, it’s a good idea to create a scorecard or matrix to compare them objectively. Assign weights to each factor based on their importance to your business, then rank each solution accordingly.

Remember that the best work order management solution is one that aligns with your business needs and goals. It may not necessarily be the most expensive or feature-rich option, but rather the one that offers the right balance of functionality, usability, and scalability.

75% of field service businesses that utilize mobility tools have observed increased employee productivity.

Work Order Management Best Practices

Managing work orders efficiently is the cornerstone of successful field service operations. In this section, we’ll dive into established best practices that will help you optimize your work order management processes and ensure your field service operations run like a well-oiled machine.

Continuous Improvement

The world of field service is constantly evolving, and so should your work order management processes.

Invest in Personnel Training

Your personnel are your most valuable assets.

Streamline Approval Processes

Delays in approval processes can be costly.
69% of companies say that data-driven decision-making has improved their marketing ROI.

The Bottom Line on Work Order Management

By now, you should have a solid understanding of the ins and outs of efficient work order management.

Remember that common challenges include miscommunication, delays, and incomplete information, which can lead to inefficiencies and decreased customer satisfaction. To address these challenges, we’ve discussed strategies like standardizing processes, embracing technology, prioritizing training, fostering effective communication, and monitoring progress.

We’ve introduced top-rated work order management tools and gave you a guideline for evaluating these tools. We’ve provided best practices like continuous improvement, personnel training, and communication prioritization.

As a field service professional, you hold the keys to operational excellence and customer satisfaction. The journey to optimizing work order management starts with you. So remember:

  • Embrace a culture of continuous improvement.
  • Invest in training your personnel.
  • Prioritize communication.
  • Use data to make decisions.

Pretty soon, you’ll be on your way to streamlining your field service operations. By implementing the strategies, using the right tools, and embracing best practices, you can optimize your work order processes, achieve operational excellence, and ensure excellent customer satisfaction.

Did you find this post helpful? Please rate it!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)Loading...


Manage Work Orders More Efficiently With Workyard

Free for 14 days. No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

More On This

8 Best Work Order Apps In 2023

In this article, we list the 8 best work order apps that’ll help you prioritize, schedule, and monitor work orders in 2023.

Read More

8 Best Preventive Maintenance Software Solutions In 2023

In this guide, we’ll list the 8 best preventive maintenance software solutions for 2023. Quickly filter by key features and business type to find the right option for you.

Read More

Work Order Templates: Download & Print for Free!

Use our free work order templates to save time and ensure your work orders are consistent and complete. Download, customize, and print various work order templates in PDF, Doc, and Excel sheet formats.

Read More