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What is a standing work order?

According to the SMRP Best Practices, a standing work order is a “work order opened for a specific period of time.. for recurring or short duration maintenance work and for work that is not associated with a specific piece of equipment.”

In other words, it’s a work order opened up for routine or recurring tasks. As work is completed, you’d update the work order rather than marking it complete.

Standing work orders vs. blanket work orders

Standing work orders are also referred to as blanket work orders, though the two are a little different in that blanket work orders cover miscellaneous tasks, whereas standing orders tend to be more specific.

With blanket work orders, details about the work aren’t captured while the costs are. Standing work orders, on the other hand, capture details and costs together. As such, blanket orders are typically best avoided (though some facilities use blanket work orders for up to 60% of their maintenance).

Uses of standing work orders

Standing work orders are typically reserved for smaller recurring tasks, some of which may not be directly related to actual maintenance tasks. Some examples might include:

  • Clean-up and other shop housekeeping tasks
  • Tool checks
  • Safety and training meetings
  • Minor upkeep tasks

Some facilities may use standing work orders as a workaround for maintenance management systems that don’t allow them to bill transactions for individual assets. This way, they get a running log for each standing work order (which they designate to specific assets) without switching software.

Some examples and potential benefits

One specific example where a standing work order would be used is with mobile equipment. While individual work orders often only track only the parts used to complete the order, using standing work orders would give your facility a running list of all parts used for each vehicle.

Another example would be in the case of simple routine tasks such as daily checks on tools. It’s generally not economical to create a new work order for each individual tool in a shop, so a standing work order would be used to track those costs. As such, they can help reduce administrative tedium.

Of course, these uses depend on the nature of your work order tracking system. Depending on the features of your CMMS, standing work orders may or may not be needed.