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March 26, 2015

Five tips for speeding up work order handling

Are you among those who struggle to deal with work orders in good time? Do you wonder how you are still going to fulfill Service Level Agreements (SLAs)? Do you sometimes close a report before the problem has been dealt with fully, simply in order to meet KPIs? On paper the process looks simple, from an incoming work order up to and including its administrative conclusion, but in practice this ostensibly simple process can turn your service workflow to treacle. The result is dissatisfied clients and unmotivated employees. Not to mention the huge pile of paperwork afterwards.

How to guide - How to speed up dealing with work orders

Getting work orders done on time is challenging for many companies. This guide gives steps to cut down on processing times for maitenance work.

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Here are five tips that will help you improve customer satisfaction and the deployment of your technicians.

1. Ensure there is sufficient information
Never underestimate the power of information. Everyone understands that a well-informed technician is a productive one. Consequently: a service organization with the right information is a productive service organization. SLA agreements differ between clients and it is impossible to know all the different response times for various services by heart. A properly configured information system is thus more than just automated administration, because it provides a direct insight into which work orders have priority and thus helps to set the correct priorities.

2. Opt for a fast resolution over a fast response
When assigning a work order, the technician is often sought who can be on-site the quickest. This indeed produces a fast response time, but not always a fast resolution time. If the wrong technician is sent to a location, any savings on travelling expenses quickly evaporate. Because then a different technician needs to be sent to resolve the problem. Resolving a problem immediately (by getting it right the first time) ultimately yields the most benefits: high customer satisfaction and a more efficient deployment of technicians.

3. Use modern tools
One of the most frequently heard complaints in a service organization is a lack of communication between the various players: technicians, planners, administration and even clients. Thanks to the smartphone, it has become much easier in recent years to communicate clearly with all the parties involved. Work orders can be provided electronically, all the relevant information (like the service history) can be sent directly and technicians can deal with the work orders using an app. It thus becomes easier to fulfill SLA agreements and to assign work with a high priority to the right technician.

4. Encourage the use of social media
The idea that a technician is a lone wolf operating independently has become an anachronism. Social media ensure that technicians can connect easily with each other and with the back-office. Your technicians can get in touch with colleagues and experts quickly and easily, if they are confronted with unfamiliar situations. In this way social media can contribute to resolving faults on the first visit.

5. Do away with the paperwork
This used to be a necessary evil, but the introduction of smart apps has made it child’s play. With a work order application the technician can take care of the administration on the spot and ask the client to sign it off. Closing the work order on-site means that administrative colleagues can complete the order with the details provided by the technician and the job can be labeled as completed.

Goodbye paperwork!

Nico van Dijk
Product Manager Maintenance Management