Close Cookie Preference Manager
Cookie Settings
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage and assist in our marketing efforts. More info.
Strictly Necessary (Always Active)
Cookies required to enable basic website functionality.
Made by Flinch 77
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

A Work Order Close-Out Procedure is Critical to a Maintenance Organization's Success

Bill Mountjoy, CMRP, CDG VP of reliability engineering & Ruth Hughes, CMRP, CDG founder & CEO

Complete and accurate work order history is required to pass audits and make fact-based, data driven business decisions to improve operational reliability and maintenance effectiveness. Without it, the continuous improvement process (CIP) relies on an individual’s memory, opinions, and emotional perceptions which isn’t the best approach.

The maintenance optimization process should be run like a controlled experiment, where precise, incremental improvements incorporate analysis of the past. Work order history is the comprehensive repository of that past. Therefore, it’s essential that the quality of the historical data is high and properly maintained with strict adherence to a work order close-out procedure. This ensures that the following work order data is complete and accurate. (The importance of this information follows each bullet point.)

  • Asset ID
  • To ensure that the correct asset has been listed on the work order for historical and costing purposes.
  • Comments
  • Comments are crucial to continuous improvement. They should list what the issue was, what was done to correct it, what could be done to prevent it in the future, any variation to the planned instructions, and any other comments.
  • Date Completed
  • To determine schedule compliance and to establish an accurate chronology of work completed.
  • Downtime
  • To see which asset has the most downtime so that corrective measures can be taken to minimize that downtime.
  • Labor
  • To build accurate equipment work order costs and to compare actual hours vs. estimated hours. If significant variations exist, PM task durations need to be adjusted and / or training needs to take place if tasks are taking too long to complete.
  • Parts
  • To build accurate equipment work order costs and to identify trends of excessive parts check out to the same piece of equipment during a certain time period.
  • Reason for Outage (RFO)
  • To enable root-cause analysis for repetitive failure modes.
  • Work Type
  • To properly identify the type of work being performed so that analysis reports can be generated. E.g. Emergency Work vs. Planned Work

Additionally, it ensures that:

  • Follow-up work orders have been created.
  • A follow-up work order is a corrective sub-work order generated when corrective short-term containment for an urgent job is necessary or when work has been identified during a PM or PdM inspection.
  • Labor, parts, comments, downtime, and RFO have been properly assigned to the correct equipment.
  • Comments are legible and easy to understand.
  • Parts have been properly checked out and / or returned.
  • Out-of-Stock parts have been identified.


When multiple people perform the same procedure, variation is introduced, making historical data mining difficult. When individual interpretation of work order data (type, RFO code, etc.) differs, even slightly, it negatively impacts historical searches and sorts across thousands of records. This can be especially damaging to businesses if OSHA or FDA auditors request work order history that can’t be effectively produced because it wasn’t properly captured or categorized.

To eliminate variation and maximize data quality and consistency, the final review of a work order prior to a closeout should go through one person. The gatekeeper approach is always optimal and best performed by the maintenance planner/scheduler (MPS). This way, the MPS can perform the final quality check on the work that s/he initially generated, planned, and scheduled and close the loop on it. When only one person has visibility, that person ensures that all work order fields have been correctly and consistently filled out. If not, control of historical CMMS data is lost.


The work order close-out procedure should be well-defined and included in a comprehensive work order policy document that the entire site consistently follows. Everyone in the work order life cycle has a role to play to ensure data accuracy and integrity. The work order completion and close-out process flow includes critical steps to be performed by technicians, supervisors, and the MPS.

Maintenance Technicians

First, technicians should first complete the work as scheduled. Once completed, they should correctly record the following work order information:

  • Completion Date
  • Detailed Comments
  • Labor Hours
  • Parts
  • RFO Code (if applicable)

After verifying that all work order information has been properly recorded, a follow-up work order should be initiated, if needed, and the work order status should be updated to “Completed”.

Maintenance Supervisors

Supervisors should review all work completed by their crew and make note of important comments, compare actual time vs. estimated time, and verify the quality of the work order data entered into the CMMS. Supervisors should also perform random quality checks on the completed work by visiting the job site and verifying that the work was completed to acceptable standards; then coach and train their crew as needed.


The final work order close-out step should be conducted by the MPS, verifying data consistency. The work order should then be closed to history with confidence the historical value is intact.


The work order close-out process should not be taken lightly as it ensures complete and accurate work order data needed to seamlessly pass audits, improve operational reliability, and achieve maintenance excellence. When organizations achieve maintenance excellence and Make Reliability a Reality™, they transition their maintenance function from a cost center to a profit center and realize the following:

  • Improved Mechanical Uptime
  • (World-Class Standard: 98%)
  • Increased Capacity & Reliability
  • Minimized Costs (Maintenance & Conversion)
  • Mitigated Risk to Quality, Safety & Property Loss
  • Optimized Inventory
  • (Reduces equipment downtime by up to 25%.)

Contact Us today for more information!

Subscribe to our Blog

Customer Feedback

Get in Touch!

Contact MVP One today for more information.

Contact Us