BlueFolder Blog

Assigning Work Order Categories in Your System

May 31, 2022

Field service businesses run on work orders. Everyone uses some kind of work order to kick-off each job, track status, and trigger invoices. But many companies leave out a crucial detail from this process – the work order category. It may not seem obvious that categories are important to work order management. But in fact, categories help your team prepare for and complete jobs properly. They also help you improve business processes and grow profits. 


Common Work Order Categories for Field Service Companies 

When field service companies categorize work orders, they tend to use a handful of traditional labels. These have developed over decades of business experience, but every company is different. You may decide to use some of these but add custom categories as well.  

Common work order categories and their meanings: 

Inspection: equipment needs to be audited or examined for condition. These service orders are usually carried out on a predetermined schedule. Technicians will make note of any problems they find during an inspection and create a corrective maintenance order as a follow-up. 

Preventive Maintenance: technicians conduct basic equipment care to keep it running well. They may replace parts, make adjustments, clean areas, or add lubrication in order to avoid unexpected failure. Most companies schedule preventive maintenance at regular intervals for critical or expensive machinery. 

Corrective Maintenance: during inspections or preventive maintenance, technicians may uncover problems that need more work. If so, they generate a corrective maintenance order to replace parts, address safety concerns, or troubleshoot performance problems.  

Reactive Maintenance: technicians are called out to fix equipment that has broken down. These work orders will have varying levels of urgency based on how badly the failed machines impact business operations. Some companies may consider breaking reactive maintenance categories into sub-categories based on priority.  

Emergency: technicians have to respond in short order to fix critical equipment that has failed. Usually, a customer’s business is severely hampered, and they need repairs immediately. Many companies commit to handling emergency orders within an hour.  

Other Categories: depending on your business and types of customers, you might add other common categories, such as Electrical, Safety, Special Project, Upgrade, Installation, Damage, or Meter Reading. It’s also a good idea to have a General label for work that doesn’t fall neatly into predetermined groups. 


Work Order Categories Help Ensure Technicians Have What They Need 

A well-designed set of categories will ensure your team adds all the important information to a work order, so technicians have what they need for each job. For example, inspection requests might link to factory specifications and list diagnostic tools needed to access sensor readouts. Preventive maintenance orders can display the task checklists and repair history. And corrective maintenance orders can link to the previous technician’s observations and relevant manuals.  

Work orders customized by categories can also help technicians follow up properly. After inspections and preventive maintenance, they need to record their observations and note any follow-on work required. For emergency calls, they should explain why the equipment failed and how to prevent the problem going forward. Work orders customized for each category type will provide reminders and make it easy for technicians to input important details. 


Reporting Based on Work Order Categories Helps Improve Business Processes 

Reports that show you how many jobs you’ve completed in each work order category over the last quarter or year will help you understand the percentage of your business each job type represents. And based on that information, you can determine where you want to take the company and how to get there. If you do mostly emergency work, for example, you might decide to embrace that and market your expertise and responsiveness to new customers. Or you might want to decrease your percentage of emergency work and build a recurring revenue stream by encouraging customers with a high frequency of emergency calls to sign up for preventive maintenance contracts. 

It’s also useful to review completed records in the same category and assess the results. For instance, determine how often preventive maintenance finds problems that generate corrective work. Or compare the number of hours logged for each job type versus the estimate and use that data to make better estimates in the future.  

Assessing the typical outcomes of all the jobs in a category can lead you to insights about how to improve processes, increase profits, or serve customers better. Here are some ways you could use the data to drive better results: 

  • When technicians find a problem during preventive maintenance, how often do customers approve corrective work? Could you improve the frequency by following up with the customer or turning estimates around faster? 
  • How often are reactive repairs needed within a month of an inspection or preventive maintenance? If that number is higher than you’d like, what might be the cause? Were important details missed in the inspection? Should checklists be revised to improve outcomes? 
  • How fast were emergency jobs completed? If they’re not meeting your company goals, what’s causing the delay? Are technicians having a hard time getting parts? Or is it difficult to schedule the right expert for emergencies? It might be time to revise inventory management or cross-Btrain technicians. 


Use BlueFolder to Get the Best Value from Work Order Categories 

While assigning work order categories is good practice for all field service businesses, it’s even more powerful when combined with an intuitive, flexible FSM application like BlueFolder.  

  • Clear and simple interface allows you to create any set of categories or work order fields that make sense for your business.  
  • Powerful reporting lets you view all jobs from a high level or drill down by category, customer, technician, or any other important field to get the data you need to grow and thrive.  
  • Customizable smart lists help your team meet company goals by letting technicians know if they’re behind on response times or need to complete follow-up notes.  

BlueFolder does more for your company than an average FSM software because it’s easy for every employee and contractor to use. That means you have detailed, comprehensive records for each job and multifunctional reporting that serves up profit-boosting insights. 

Kick off a free trial and today and see what BlueFolder in action can do for you.