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Work order in manufacturing: How it works in the production process

Man welding a round metal window frame.

A work order in manufacturing outlines the steps in the production process. Some are simple, some more complex. But all work orders contain key information necessary for them to be effective.

There are various work orders, each with its specific purpose. A manufacturing work order, for instance, typically involves maintenance, inspection, and emergency processes.

Keep reading to learn what a work order in manufacturing entails, its benefits, and how to create the perfect manufacturing order form.

What is a work order in manufacturing?

A work order in manufacturing is a type of work order that documents the manufacturing process.

It includes all the necessary information to complete the work, such as material requirements, labor, and machine time.

The work order should also list any special instructions for the work performed.

For instance, if a particular part of the process requires extra care or additional steps, you should note that on the manufacturing order form.

Work order vs. work request

It’s important to note that a work order is not the same as a work request.

A work request is simply a document that requests work to be done. It does not provide any instructions on how to do the job.

On the other hand, a work order provides specific instructions on what needs done and any necessary information to complete the work.

Types of work orders

As mentioned above, there are various manufacturing work orders, each with its specific purpose. Take a look at some of the most important types.

General work order

A general work order in manufacturing documents all the work that needs to be done in a factory.

It should also list any special instructions for the work performed, such as material requirements, labor, and machine time.

Preventive maintenance work order

A preventive maintenance work order documents the work that needs to be done to prevent equipment failure. Potential issues are diagnosed during routine maintenance inspections.

This work order is important because it can help avoid costly downtime and repairs.

Inspection work order

An inspection work order is a work order that includes what needs to be done to inspect equipment. Inspection entails identifying problems to correct at a later time.

This type of work order is crucial because it can help identify problems before they escalate.

Emergency work order

An emergency work order defines the work that needs to be done in an emergency.

For instance, if a machine breaks down and needs immediate repair, you would create an emergency work order.

Corrective maintenance work orders

A corrective maintenance work order is brought on by unplanned equipment failure.

This work order is not typically created for issues that can be quickly fixed or onsite repairs. The main difference between preventive and corrective maintenance is that the latter is scheduled and planned for later action.

What should be in a work order?

A work order in manufacturing tells the workers in a factory what to make and how to make it.

The work order lists the needed materials and the steps to follow. For example, a work order for a table will list the type of wood, the measurements, and how to put the table together.

It also helps to track the progress of the manufacturing process. The work order will list the start and finish times for each step, and you can use it to track the entire project’s progress.

Ultimately, a manufacturing work order ensures that products are made correctly and efficiently.

Benefits of using work order management software

Now, look at the main benefits of using work order management software in manufacturing.

1. Improve communication

The most important benefit is that the right software improves communication between workers and managers.

With software, you can store all the information about a project in one place.

This means that everyone involved in the project can easily access the same information to avoid misunderstandings and mistakes.

2. Maximize efficiency

Work order management software can also help to increase efficiency through workflow automation.

For example, if a work order is changed, the software can automatically update the information for all workers working on the project. This helps prevent delays and errors.

3. Track progress

Work order management software tracks the progress of your project.

You can use this information to identify bottlenecks and problems. You can also use it to create reports that you can share with clients and shareholders.

4. Improve quality

Another significant benefit is that work order management software betters your product quality. Here’s how. 

If there are issues with a work order, you can use the software to identify the problem and correct it.

This helps to ensure that products are made correctly and meet your standards. It also minimizes the chance of expensive product recalls.

5. Reduce costs

Finally, work order management software reduces costs.

Work order management software lets you save time and money by improving communication and maximizing efficiency with automation.

How to handle work orders in manufacturing

Now that you know the benefits of work order management software, read up on handling work orders in manufacturing.

Tracking the expenses

There are a few different ways to track expenses in a work order.

One way is to create a separate line item for each expense. This is helpful if you have many  expenses  to keep track of.

Another way is to lump your expenses together into one line item. This is ideal if you have a few different expenses or want to keep track of your overall manufacturing costs.

Regardless of your chosen method, it’s essential to be as accurate as possible when tracking your work order expenses.

Direct materials

Once you’ve determined the direct materials for a work order, you need to track how much of each material is used. This can be done by weight, volume, or some other unit of measurement.

Pro-tip: Ensure you’re as accurate as possible when tracking direct materials. 

Otherwise, you risk using too much of a material (which drives up costs) or not using enough (which can cause production delays).

How to create the perfect work order

To ensure that your manufacturing order form is created correctly, there are three steps that you need to follow:

1. Inputting the data — Add data into the work order management software such as the materials needed, steps to be followed, and the start and finish times for each step.

2. Tracking progress — One way you can do this is by using the work order management software to create reports. These reports can then be shared with clients and shareholders if needed.

3. Updating information —  Add any changes that are made to the project including changes to the work order, new steps that need to be added, or anything else that might affect the project.

Manufacturing work order template

When creating a manufacturing order form template, you have a few options for what to include. 

Whether you build your template on Excel or Google Sheets, you always save time in the long run.

If you want to go beyond a spreadsheet’s limitations, consider a manufacturing management software.

Take Method:CRM for example. You can empower your team with the workflow automation they need to grow your manufacturing business.

From generating new leads to processing orders and managing customers, Method:CRMl syncS all your data instantly with QuickBooks or Xero.

Learn more about Method:CRM’s capabilities with this video.


Key takeaways

A work order in manufacturing is essential to ensuring process efficiency. And there are a few different ways to go about tracking expenses.

Having a manufacturing software solution in place will save you time and money and help you optimize your business all around.

Manufacturing work order FAQs

How do you create a manufacturing work order?

A manufacturing work order defines the work to be carried out, the necessary raw materials, and who will be carrying out the work. 

Once you’ve established all three, you can then resort to work order management software to quickly issue work orders, track progress, and update information as needed.

What is work order process?

The work order process is a series of steps to complete a work order. This generally includes inputting data, tracking progress, and updating information.

Why do companies use work orders?

Work orders are used to track the progress of a project and ensure that all work is completed in a timely manner. 

Perfect your work orders with a free trial of Method:CRM!

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