Maintenance Q&As

How many managers do I need per technician?

Answered April 18 2019

Like most issues related to staffing and management, the number of managers you have per technician depends on your situation. On average, most departments have one manager for every ten or so staff members. That number can fluctuate based on various factors.

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What factors do I use to decide?

When deciding how many maintenance managers you need in your facility, consider these questions:

  • How complex is the work involved?
  • Does the work vary significantly from one technician to the next?
  • What level of training will managers need to perform?
  • How much control do you need to have over maintenance operations?
  • How capable are your managers? Technicians?

For example, in a large industrial setting, most of your technicians will have similar skill sets. If they’re all highly experienced, you won’t need as much management. On the other hand, if you’re constantly training new employees, that extra training will warrant employing more managers.

More control may be necessary in settings where you have lots of growth. The process of introducing new assets and procedures demands more training, and that means a lower manager-to-technician ratio is better. Additional control is also needed in settings where the work is particularly complex.

Individual managers’ skills frequently come into play, particularly communication. The better they are at conveying directions, the less they’ll have to clarify instructions later, and therefore the less one-on-one time will be needed. Decision-making skills are also crucial since the longer they spend making decisions, the fewer people they’ll actually be able to supervise.

Finally, your maintenance department’s structure will factor into this. For example, if you have a multilayered structure with maintenance supervisors acting as direct reports to your managers, you’ll need fewer managers per technician. This is because the supervisors take on many of the roles that managers would otherwise have to perform themselves.

Note: If you don’t have any designated supervisors, you’ll need a denser manager-technician ratio since they’ll each have more to do and fewer options for delegation.

Conclusion

Even with all these determining factors, you probably won’t have more than one manager per five technicians and no fewer than one per twenty. If you’re above or below that range, you may need to make some changes.

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