What is an order? Definition and meaning

An order can mean the announcement of an intended purchase, i.e., a request to buy something. A bank check or draft in which the issuer instructs the bank to pay somebody is an order. Orders may also refer to authoritative commands, directions, or mandates that courts issue. If you tell somebody what to do, you are giving them orders. In other words, when you give orders you give commands.

The verb ‘to order‘ can mean to tell somebody what to do, or to buy something. “I went online and ordered some printer toner” means I bought some printer toner on the Internet.

The term ‘law and order‘ refers to the rules and regulations of a country. It also includes the strict control of crime and the prevention of violence. In other words, the enforcement of those rules and regulations.

This article focuses on the business and finance meanings of ‘order.’

Order – in business and commerce

Orders are expressions of intentions to purchase things. They may refer to products or services.

The order becomes a contract between the purchaser and the seller. The purchaser commits to receive something from the seller and to pay for it.

A company’s number one objective is to get orders. In other words, to boost sales.

Order - explanation of meaning and two examples
According to Wikipedia, an ‘order’ is “A stated intention, either spoken or written, to engage in a commercial transaction for specific products or services.” In other words, when you order something you are telling the seller that you are buying it.

Spoken orders

In a restaurant, we utter our orders verbally. When I ask a waiter to bring me, for example, a steak and salad, I make the request verbally. In other words, we tell waiters what we want; we do not put it in writing.

We do the same in any retail premises, i.e., shops. When I take my shopping trolley to the check-out counter, it is an implied intent to purchase things.

Written orders

Orders in writing are common in B2B situations. B2B stands for business-to-business. In other words, when one company buys something from another company.

We commonly refer to orders in writing as purchase orders. We might send a purchase order by email, fax, or post. In fact, when buyers are at the sellers’ premises, they may deliver their purchase orders by hand.

When I buy something from a retailer online, I fill in a form and then give them my card details for payment. I do all this in writing, i.e., I type the information using my keyboard. Therefore, online orders are written orders.

Work order

A work order is an authorization in writing for a firm, team of people, or person to complete a job. The work may be to carry out repairs or maintenance.

Most work orders explain what the issues or problems are and how to fix them. They also include a timescale and a list of tools and equipment the workers will use. They also provide technicians with instructions on how to carry out the work.

According to Emaint.com, work orders contain the following:

  • The name of whoever is requesting the work.
  • The name of the person or body that is authorizing the work.
  • The people who will carry out the work.
  • Details of the task at hand.
  • A deadline. In other words, a completion date.
  • Where the work will take place.
  • How the work will be completed.

Order management refers to dealing with orders, right from when customers first place them until they receive their order.

Video – What is an order?

This Uda City video explains what orders are when you are dealing with stocks, shares, bonds, and other financial securities. What happens when you place orders with your stockbroker?