Work Order Management and the Internet of Things

 

Everyone knows that the introduction of the internet has heralded a revolution of information. For the first time in human history, literally billions of people have access to vast stores of knowledge at their fingertips. However, the usefulness of the internet is not limited to information. The second wave of the internet revolution is the so-called Internet of Things. There are countless examples and thought-experiments wherein the Internet of Things can change daily life. However, it may be best to begin with a concrete example for business: The Internet of Things and work order management.

So, what is the Internet of Things? Put simply, the Internet of Things is a concept which describes the interconnectedness of objects and machines in addition to people and information. Any machine, whether it be a warehouse forklift or a coffee-maker, can be outfitted with Wi-Fi capabilities and brought into a network. As the costs of internet hardware go down, more and more devices become connected. One of the major benefits of the Internet of Things to business is the increased availability of data and the overall increase in efficiency. One simple way to see the Internet of Things in action is to look at the example of a work-order management system both with and without networked software.

Imagine a firm which sells machinery to clients and often sends out field technicians to service said machinery. In a disconnected world, the work order management system would be chaotic and inefficient. First, imagine that the machinery develops a problem. The customer would first have to notice the inefficiency or mistake made by the machine and come to the realization that the problem exists. The customer would likely have to call the firm to report and describe the problem. This report would be taken down, perhaps even by hand, by an employee. Eventually, this would lead to a work order being created. A technician will be dispatched and service will be performed. However, the customer would have no easy way of checking on the status of their request, and in the meantime, they would likely experience costly downtime with their machinery.

Now imagine that the Internet of Things has come to this firm. Everything is networked and integrated, including the machinery itself. As soon as the problem develops, the internal sensors in the machine would send an alert to the firm. A diagnosis of the specific problem may even be contained within the alert. The firm’s work order management software could automatically create a work order, bypassing the need for an employee to take the customer complaint and even bypassing the customer’s extra responsibility. The technician would be dispatched, and the customer could track their status through an online portal. In this way, the Internet of Things and work order management software can cut down massively on inefficiency and downtime. This example is just a simple case; with increasingly smart technology and increasingly sophisticated software, firms are able to find more ways to optimize their work order management system.

The days of disorganization and slow information flow are over. With the Internet of Things gradually taking over, the efficiency of everyday business and industrial processes continues to increase. Work order management software is only a single example of the amazing future ahead for any firm that could use more data and integration to streamline their operations.