What Is a Work Order? Everything You Need to Know

A maintenance technician using a CMMS on a laptop radioing to his supervisor asking the status of a  work order.

What is a maintenance work order? Work orders, whether in paper or digital format, are the foundation of a company’s maintenance operations. A work order contains all of the information required to perform maintenance tasks. This includes where the work is needed, what the reason for the work is, who created the work, and when resolution is needed. 

As the work progresses, other important information will be gathered and recorded, such as the date and method by which the tasks were completed and the costs incurred, as well. These documents facilitate proper oversight and management of a company’s maintenance operations, so knowing what they are, how they work, and how to use them effectively is essential.

Today we will introduce the basics of maintenance work orders, different variations and types of work orders, and then discuss their role in helping maintenance operations run smoothly and efficiently. After that, we’ll showcase LLumin’s CMMS+ software as a leading automated work order management CMMS platform. It is a proven solution for manufacturers, facilities, and any organization where infrastructure and physical assets are critical to their operation.

What Is a Work Order (And What It Includes)

A work order is a written or digital record generated when a specific maintenance task is requested by any authorized personnel. Generally speaking, this document will include details on who was assigned the job, what technician or team is in charge of completing it, and what tools and resources are required to complete the maintenance task.

This document is pivotal for helping maintenance personnel carry out tasks per company standards and compliance guidelines. When a work order contains all the information needed to initiate maintenance tasks, it becomes a critical point of reference for technicians working on complex projects.

image of what is a work order, image of forms

Work orders are also necessary for overall maintenance monitoring and management. They are used to facilitate cross-departmental communication, ensure the availability of the required tools, equipment, and resources to complete maintenance tasks, and track maintenance completion time.

A work order should define all the information required for maintenance personnel to complete maintenance tasks while ensuring they have access to the necessary resources and tools to complete the job. 

While the information varies depending on work order type and industry, they should generally include:

  • Description
  • Name of work or service requestor
  • Estimated completion time
  • Location/asset
  • Required tools, parts, and skills needed to complete a task

Different Types of Work Orders

Work order types and classifications, as previously stated, can vary across industries. They can also vary for each organization, depending on the KPIs the operation is striving to meet. However, their primary purpose is to detail necessary information to approve, perform, and complete maintenance tasks. 

There are several types of work order examples, which are:


This type of work order cannot be classified as an inspection, safety, or preventive maintenance work order. This work order’s maintenance requests may include general maintenance, minor repairs, and cleanup tasks.


This type of work order is issued when electrical equipment needs to be installed, repaired, or replaced. 


This work order is issued when a maintenance task is time-sensitive and must be completed immediately. These work orders may include maintenance tasks required when unplanned equipment and asset failures occur.


When a company uses a reactive or preventive maintenance model, regular physical inspections of equipment are often necessary to avoid equipment failure and extend the life of company assets.

Preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance work orders are issued on a regular basis and are based on the recommendations of the equipment manufacturer, company standards, or performance levels. These tasks are performed to ensure that company equipment and assets continue to perform well and to avoid unplanned downtime caused by equipment failures.


This type of work order will specify any maintenance tasks required to prevent harm or injury on company property. These tasks may include cleaning up hazardous materials or repairing company facilities and equipment in order to keep employees safe.

Two maintenance team members discuss a current work order that is being displayed on a tablet in a CMMS software platform.

The Benefits of Work Order Automation

Work orders were traditionally written by hand and issued as paper documents for many years. While more companies are adopting digital formats, many still rely on manually recorded and completed documents. Unfortunately, when orders are generated and distributed this way, a company can find it challenging to verify order status and track work completion.

Work orders issued in paper format can cause delays in cross-departmental communication, extra time spent completing paper documents, and increased confusion when maintenance personnel are dispatched and working on a project in the field. Because of these challenges, an automated work order system can provide several advantages. 

Paper-Based VS. LLumin’s CMMS+


Traditional Paper-Based Work Orders

Digital Work Order Systems (e.g., LLumin’s CMMS+)

Creation and Distribution

Manually written and issued as paper documents.

Created and issued digitally, accessible via computers and mobile devices.


Physical access is required; not easily accessible to all personnel.

Accessible remotely to anyone with access to the company’s applications stack.

Documentation Process

Manual recording and completion; prone to errors and inefficiencies.

Automated, reducing manual and repetitive documentation processes.

Tracking and Verification

Challenging to verify order status and track work completion.

Easy tracking of work order completion and access to real-time data.

Communication and Efficiency

Delays in cross-departmental communication; increased time spent on documentation.

Streamlines communication; reduces time spent on documentation.

Information Accessibility

Difficulty in providing immediate access to critical instructional materials.

Easy provision of safety, compliance information, and other materials.

Organizational Impact

Increased confusion, delays, and inefficiency in fieldwork.

Enhances efficiency and organization, improving on-the-job performance.

Additional Features

Limited to paper-based capabilities.

Real-time data on parts inventory, asset location, and equipment status.

When work orders are issued in digital format, they become accessible to anyone with access to a company’s applications stack via computer, tablet, or mobile device. Further, all manual and repetitive documentation processes are reduced, and access to critical instructional materials, such as safety and compliance information, can be easily provided in conjunction with the work order.

A business can stop wasting time on inefficient and often disorganized manual work order systems by using an advanced work order management system, such as LLumin’s computerized maintenance management systems software (CMMS+). 

LLumin makes it easy to create work orders, track their completion, and provide technicians with all the critical information they require to perform effectively on the job. Additionally, the software makes it possible to access real-time data on parts inventory, asset location, and the status of company equipment.

LLumin CMMS+ Success Stories

LLumin’s software allows SunnyD to efficiently carry out a proactive maintenance strategy for reducing downtime due to machine failure. Read More

“As a maintenance manager, using LLumin’s Asset & Maintenance Management Software suite allows me to understand my employees’ workload better and increase our service levels to the plant.” Read More

“We always tried to be on the proactive side,” Klimers says. “But LLumin truly took us away from reactive maintenance and gave us all the tools we needed to remain proactive and sustain our operations.” Read More

Advanced Work Order Management With LLumin’s CMMS+

Work order management is critical to the success of a company’s maintenance operations, and these records and forms should be managed with care. They provide the framework that company stakeholders, managers, and service technicians require to perform and improve maintenance tasks while reducing wasted resources and excess costs when appropriately tracked.

LLumin’s CMMS+ software directs maintenance technicians to the work orders they need to address while providing supervisors and facility managers with the high-level data they need to make critical decisions. The CMMS+ software facilitates asset and maintenance management processes and best practices that integrate personnel, skills, materials and tooling resources, and supply chain partners.

LLumin’s cloud-enabled CMMS+ solution is always working for you—syncing and analyzing real-time data. In addition, LLumin can be accessed from anywhere, whether team members work remotely or in the office, leading to increased visibility of asset issues, statuses, and potential risks, all in real time and at the right time.  

LLumin’s CMMS+ software is easy to deploy, and our support team is always available to help with your needs—from planning your CMMS+ deployment to training employees, all without fear of disruption. Further, we’ve developed a complete and rapid implementation process. So, as your organization grows and shifts, our software and our team of experts can continue to accommodate your team and changing requirements along the way.

So if you are looking for a cutting-edge CMMS+ with a seamless implementation process and an expert customer support staff, then LLumin is a perfect fit.

Getting Started With LLumin

LLumin develops innovative CMMS software to manage and track assets for industrial plants, municipalities, utilities, fleets, and facilities. If you’re questioning ‘what is a work order’ and how these documents can be best used to support successful maintenance operations, we encourage you to schedule a free demo or contact the experts at LLuminto see how our CMMS+ software can help you reach your efficiency and cost-cutting goals.

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