Automated Work Order software increases productivity by eliminating waiting time for the WO to be manually processed, allows both landlord and tenant to track the WO and archives details in case of a tenant dispute. Eliminating the paperwork will save you time and money.
For property maintenance teams, the cycle is familiar. Tenants must write up work orders and submit them to your staff, who in some cases will not be able to give the go-ahead until a higher-up sees the WO. This person must then sign-off the actual paper to approve work to progress or for the materials to be ordered. In some cases, this can lead to delays that will allow the problem to get worse and can cause your tenants prolonged discomfort.
Companies need to strive for increased response time to work orders by transferring the steps outlined above to automation. There are software systems that will allow you to automate the entire process. Here I present the ultimate in automation where everything can be done with simple clicks of a mouse.
While not all landlords will be comfortable with the first step, the option is certainly available. This step involves giving tenants access to a web portal connected to the company’s network. This can be done via internet access, whereby the tenant has a unique login on the management’s website or as some larger firms are doing, by installing a kiosk in the lobby of their buildings. The tenant logs into their account which records what unit they occupy and allows for the work order to be entered. If a landlord chooses to forgo this step, the building manager or super would be able to collect the WO and then log the details on the software and the electronic process can then begin.
Once submitted, the software will channel the WO through a predefined route. It can be set to appear on any number of employees’ computers or just one “Central Command” where all the decisions are made. From here, the approval process is simply clicking a button Okaying the work order to be done. You can have the option to direct it to someone specific and make additional notes. This is where you typically save significant time because with this click of a button, you are forwarding this approved work order – similar to email – to the person of your choosing without having to re-input any information. Maintenance personnel receive this directive by email or by logging in to their account. Thorough WO systems will allow maintenance staff to receive the work order directly on their PDAs. This really cuts the time needed to go to a workstation and log on or go to the office to pick up a stack of WOs for that day. Finally, the maintenance staff would be able to update the work order on their PDAs by logging notes or marking it done.
A major benefit of WO systems is that each individual WO can be tracked, updated and traced for the benefit of the company and the tenant in real-time. Even when the work is completed, the details are archived. In case of tenant dispute or request for an update, employees will be able to get a very good picture of what the status is right away.
To go completely paperless can seem quite daunting for many companies who have previously relied on paper trails. However, as mentioned in the first step, there are compromises in these systems that will still accelerate the process without creating any havoc or downtime.
One final word about WO tracking is to find one that integrates with your tenant management software. To have a fully integrated system where you can find the entire history of your tenants, units and buildings with associated work and accounting is really how to make your organization run lean and efficiently.