Best Practices For Managing Work Orders In Your Cemetery

Improve productivity and customer service in cemetery management with an efficient work orders system. Discover the benefits in our latest blog.

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Processing, prioritising, and tracking incoming work orders in your cemetery requires a lot of effort, especially when all they’re coming from different places.  

An efficient work orders management system can improve productivity and customer service, while ensuring that performance records are kept for every task so that organisational efficiency can be examined.


In this blog post we'll look at:

  • Managing work orders traditionally
  • Risk of doing what you’ve always done
  • Good practices for work order management
  • What’s the solution?
  • Benefits of electronic work orders


Managing Work Orders Traditionally

Think about how your cemetery has traditionally managed work orders...   

Perhaps reception staff have taken a phone call from a family member then jotted the request down?  Maybe your grounds crew then receive a request in the format of a handwritten note or printed piece of paper set on an in-tray?  It can sometimes feel like a big chain of misinterpretations, and managing all these requests in all their different formats can be time-consuming and difficult to sustain.

Risk of Doing What You’ve Always Done

So let’s be honest, your cemetery could tick along doing the same things it's always done and the truth is, it'll probably operate just fine for the next while. 


There still exist some risks for your cemetery if something in your work order management process doesn’t change soon:

  • Miscommunication, leading to wrong or incomplete work
  • Misplacing paper and potentially not getting the work done
  • Bad customer service
  • Family not getting notified or proof that work’s been done
  • High costs, downtime and repetition of work
  • No history of work been done, both for information purposes and for audits
  • Loss of knowledge when staff change

With these risks still lurking, at best you can expect to give the families you serve a bad service.  But at worst, if risk assessments and maintenance projects aren’t carried out properly, you risk lawsuits, visitor injury or even death.


Best Practice For Work Order Management

With that in mind, here are some good practices you can implement immediately to help improve work order management in your cemetery:

Tip 1:  Implement a process for formal submission of requests

With this new process, nothing gets done unless it’s submitted through a formal request and is assigned a deadline. 

Tip 2:  Keep all incoming requests in one place

Have a template to manage all requests - it could be as simple as an excel sheet that everyone has access to.  Sticky notes, in-trays and emails are a recipe for disaster. With a clear process for managing work orders you can better use internal collaboration and get the job done faster. All the departments will benefit with a better organisation because they know their requests will be handled in an organised and timely manner.

Tip 3:  Determine work orders priority

Successfully prioritising your work orders is key to keep an efficient system. It’s important to employ a standardised set of rules for prioritisation, so you can easily identify which tasks need immediate attention and the whole team are on the same page with regards to priority.

 Best practices


So What Are Your Options?

Let’s now go through some of your options for keeping a work order management system in your cemetery:


OPTION 1:  Excel spreadsheet


A record of all work orders is in one place

✅ If kept updated, everyone’s on the same page

✅ A history of all work orders is being kept, resulting in less loss of knowledge and information


Very manual

❌ Not easy to produce reports and insights

❌ Not usable out on the field

❌ Updates aren’t automatic or in real-time

❌ It’s a cumbersome process to attach related documents (e.g. emails, photos of the work done, invoices, etc.)

❌ No audit trail


OPTION 2:  Work order management system

As well as having all the pros of managing your work orders with a spreadsheet, using a work order management system can also:


✅ Undertake the scheduling of work orders

Be used with a mobile device for work on the field

✅ Generate invoices if necessary

✅ Easily report and analyse trends

✅ Track hours worked on a project, determining profitability and worker efficiency

✅ Assign work to the grounds crew via email or text

✅ Allow workers to communicate in real-time and remotely

✅ Make it harder to lose or misplace work order requests

✅ Give a live status of work orders, making staff more accountable and allowing families to get updates

✅ Help to ensure deadlines aren’t missed

Leave a record of all work to be done and the history of work orders so there’s no loss of information over time (if a staff member leaves, for example)

✅ Allow users to pick up and  track work orders themselves

✅ Quantify work based on past times taken for each task to better organise the days work


❌ It can be difficult to track work done against plot numbers

❌ Can’t be integrated with a map of the cemetery

❌ It’s a standalone software solution and won’t necessarily speak to software belonging to other areas of the business, for example, finance, marketing or sales


OPTION 3:  Cemetery management system with work orders module

As well as having all the pros of a work order management system (detailed above), using a cemetery management system with a work orders module, you can also:


✅ Complete work orders on an iPad and upload images of the work completed 

✅ Organise and schedule your work better 

  • Example, you've just dug 3 graves and have a truckload of dirt to get rid of.  Use your map to see if there are any sunken graves it could be despatched to? This saves you trips transporting dirt and unnecessary work in the long run

✅ Use cemetery map to locationally assign work

✅ Record who has requested the work order so they can be informed when it’s complete

✅ Keep a full work order history showing every update and change made so you have a traceable audit log

✅ Plots can be associated with documents for easy access to relevant information


❌ May not be a cost-effective solution for small cemeteries



Introducing PlotBox Work Orders Module

  • Live dashboard with quick reports
  • Generate work orders
  • Select type of work from a configurable list
  • Set start and due date/times
  • Link to plots, contracts and memorials
  • Add contact information to the person requesting the work
  • Assign work to a user in the system
  • View an audit log of the work order
  • Print a customised document
  • Mark off work orders as complete
  • Cloud-based so can be accessed from any device


Want to see PlotBox in action?  Request a demo now.

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