A work order is a document that provides important details about goods and services that a client wants to obtain from a vendor, a supplier or another department within the same company. This document — which might be a printed piece of paper or a document on a computer system or the Internet — often includes elements that help the person or people who will be fulfilling the work order to know exactly what the customer wants done or wants delivered, including how many units and details relating to things such as size, shape, color and other important options. A work order might be issued when a computer or other piece of equipment needs to be fixed, when equipment needs to be upgraded or replaced, when a stock of supplies needs to be refilled or in other situations when the client has a need for a certain good or service.
There are other items of interest that might be added to the work order form at some point in the process. If the customer has been quoted a specific price for the goods and services requested on the work order from an outside vendor or service provider, that price is often listed. In the event that multiple units are ordered, the work order usually will include a column that lists the total cost of those items. The time and date that the order was issued might be included as well as the time and date when it is expected to be or must be completed. After the work is done or the delivery made, the time and date when this occurred usually is added to complete the document.
Work order forms also tend to include information about the process for delivery or the service being performed. The requester might specify a specific mode of delivery, such as general mail or by courier. In the event of large items that require shipping, the customer might request a particular freight line to be utilized. The customer might also request the delivery or service by a specific date or give instructions that the delivery or service must occur only on certain days of the week or at certain times of the day. This allows the person or people who will be fulfilling the order to adjust shipping or service arrangements to meet the needs of the customer.
Work order software is often used today to generate work orders that can be transmitted electronically. This cuts down on the amount of time that is required to receive an order from a customer. The vendor is able to print out the order or electronically transmit it, making it easier to track the progress of fulfillment from the point of receipt to completion.