Operations & Maintenance

The State of Maintenance Operations in 2019

Ryan Chan

The majority of maintenance managers are satisfied with their maintenance budget (58%) and an overwhelming majority are confident in their ability to retain good technicians (80%), according to a survey conducted by UpKeep. Additionally, 46% of maintenance managers don’t think a recession would impact their maintenance operations and 20% don’t think a recession will even happen despite economic uncertainty.

Overall, the state of maintenance operations is positive moving into 2019, but there are some maintenance sectors that are stronger than others.

The manufacturing sector is the least worried about a recession and the most likely to get a budget increase.

Maintenance managers at manufacturing plants are worried the least that a recession will impact their maintenance operations when compared to facilities, property management, and fleets. They are also the most likely to receive budget increases in 2019.

This indicates how critical maintenance is to manufacturing and how it’s considered essential rather than a “nice to invest in” area, even during a recession. It’s also important to remember that many organizations with manufacturing plants are resistant to recessions, including those that manufacture consumer staples and alcohol.

The State of Maintenance Operations in 2019

Maintenance teams that offer transparency into operations are more likely to receive budget increases.

In the survey, we asked maintenance managers which departments interact with their CMMS, the software used for logging and reporting on maintenance activity. Those that said that procurement interacts with their CMMS (23%) are the most likely to get a budget increase in 2019 (64%). It seems that the increased visibility a CMMS provides for procurement in terms of time/cost tracking and asset depreciation pave the way for more maintenance funding.

Conversely, maintenance teams that use their CMMS in a silo (22%) are the least likely to get a budget increase in 2019 (45%). While getting outside departments to adopt and interact with a CMMS might be a challenge for maintenance teams (especially for those on the smaller end), there is a clear payoff.

As for what maintenance teams need more budget for, new equipment is the top budgetary need (53%) followed by better software and processes (40%), recruiting and retaining talent (37%), and facility upgrades (33%).

The level of visibility CMMS users have is strangely similar to those of antiquated systems.

Unsurprisingly, teams not using any system to track their maintenance activity are the least confident in their ability to make ROI cases for extra budget while those using a CMMS are the most confident.

Visibility Into Maintenance Activity (by Tracking System)

What’s surprising is the similar level of confidence that CMMS users have with users of antiquated maintenance tracking systems (paper and spreadsheets). This could be because CMMS products have not yet mastered easy, insightful reporting, or because maintenance managers are not leveraging the available reporting features. Either way, there’s an opportunity for CMMS providers to improve reporting functionality and maintenance managers to use the functionalities that already exist.

Retaining talent is not an issue when teams are organized and safety is prioritized.

About 1 of 3 maintenance managers need more budget for new talent, but 4 of 5 have no problem retaining the talent they already have.

When asked about the different ways maintenance managers retain talent, 73% said through staying organized and setting clear expectations, and 53% said through providing safe working conditions. Runners up were paying above-average wages (33%), focusing on high-level metrics rather than wrench time (27%), and providing reimbursement for training and further education (24%).

If you’re part of the minority that had trouble retaining good technicians in 2018, try implementing one of these tactics to decrease turnover in 2019.

Additional Insights

The State of Planned Maintenance in 2019

The State of CMMS Adoption in 2019


271 maintenance professionals (manager level and above) who use the free or paid version of UpKeep responded to this survey. Respondents were in one of four industries: manufacturing, facility management, property management, or fleet management. Responses were largely North American (US and Canada) based, but did include international responses as well. If you want responses broken out by industry, team size, or something else, please email us.

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