Types of Maintenance Workers
A maintenance worker is responsible for the upkeep of a facility and the assets within that facility. But not every maintenance worker uses the same tools and tactics to achieve this. Different types of maintenance workers collaborate as a team. Some teammates strategize and plan using maintenance software (e.g. maintenance planners); others get their hands dirty by executing repairs and inspections (e.g. maintenance technicians).
Delegating responsibilities among different types of workers strengthens an organization’s ability to schedule more maintenance, improve schedule compliance, increase uptime, execute repairs faster, and retain good talent. It’s tempting for organizations to save money by giving a worker the responsibilities of several job titles, but this is not an effective approach. For larger organizations that need to hit production quotas, uptime SLAs, or certain levels of customer satisfaction, it’s essential to hire a team of maintenance workers with different skills.
The type of maintenance worker you need to employ depends on the type of workers you already employ, your goals, and your industry (manufacturing, property management, etc). For instance, if you manage a manufacturing plant and have enough technicians but want to increase your percentage of planned work, you need to hire a maintenance planner. And if you manage a small property that contracts out repairs and want to decrease turnaround times for work requests, you need to hire a maintenance technician.
A maintenance technician is the maintenance worker that performs the most hands-on work. They perform preventive maintenance tasks (e.g. lubrication), emergency repairs (e.g. parts replacements), and inspections. In some facilities, the maintenance technician is a “jack of all trades” and works on many different types of equipment. However, they do not perform major repairs and rebuilds. This work is either contracted out or assigned to a maintenance engineer.
A maintenance engineer is certified to perform repairs and rebuilds on specific types of equipment. They also diagnose failures when equipment breaks down and help create preventive maintenance schedules. This combination of hands-on maintenance and maintenance strategy requires them to work with both technicians and planners.
A maintenance planner makes sure technicians and engineers have everything they need—tools, parts, documentation, etc—to perform scheduled work as efficiently as possible. They coordinate with parts managers, maintenance managers, and other teammates to make this happen. They also coordinate with managers from other departments like production to plan for site-wide shutdowns. Depending on how large a facility is, there is either a separate maintenance scheduler and maintenance planner, or a single maintenance worker that performs both planning and scheduling functions.