What Does a Maintenance Manager Do?
Maintenance managers oversee a team of maintenance supervisors who manage technicians and workload during a particular shift. Depending on the size of the organization, managers report to either a maintenance director, president, or vice president of operations.
Maintenance managers must take a “big picture” view of the maintenance department and direct the long-term vision and comprehensive effort around building systems, equipment operations, and safe production standards. They keep the company’s goals at the forefront of their minds and make key decisions regarding OSHA requirements, applicable laws, and regulations.
Coordination of Responsibilities
The responsibilities of maintenance managers vary depending on the nature of the specific business. However, responsibilities typically include planning and directing overall maintenance work, and coordinating responsibilities with maintenance supervisors to accomplish work in a timely and safe manner.
Train and Develop Employees
Maintenance managers must hire, train, and develop maintenance staff, working to keep a positive, team-oriented environment focused on delivering high-quality, safe, and efficient maintenance services.
Key performance indicators include production uptime, budget adherence, schedule compliance, and safety metrics, such as number of incidents or injuries.
What Are a Maintenance Manager’s Responsibilities?
Set a Team Vision
Maintenance managers must set an overall vision, mission, and strategy for an entire maintenance department. Depending on the environment that the manager works within, this may require setting intermediate, smaller steps to get an organization to its ideal state.
Build a Proactive Work Culture
Good maintenance managers must have forward-thinking mentalities, as well as the ability to instill that skill in others. They must be able to see problems that do not yet exist to promote a proactive maintenance system in the long run.
Implement Health and Safety Procedures
However, in the short term, maintenance managers must ensure the basics are followed and a strong foundation is laid. For example, they must first and foremost ensure that all health, safety, and regulations are followed. In some companies, this may already be well-ingrained within the maintenance department, and strong procedures may already exist. If that is not the case, this must be the maintenance manager’s first responsibility.
Document Previous Work on Assets
Once those requirements are met, maintenance managers may want to ensure that a strong computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is in place. This is an invaluable tool for maintenance departments to track equipment and work order history, as well as help conduct reports and analytics over time to help managers make better, smarter business decisions.
The CMMS then serves as a foundation for a preventive maintenance system. Maintenance managers are then responsible for keeping all day-to-day operations running smoothly through this system.
Aim for a Preventive Maintenance Culture
These individuals should be always pushing their companies to move along the spectrum from reactive maintenance to more preventive maintenance. Eventually, taking advantage of technology such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and sensors can move an organization to a predictive maintenance culture.
Maintenance managers need to keep that company vision in mind as they oversee, motivate, train, and review their maintenance teams. Looking for individuals who can meet the long-term goals and challenges of a company is important in the hiring process. Additionally, training existing technicians to grow through continuing education and training is also paramount to success.
What Traits Does a Good Maintenance Manager Need?
Maintenance managers must have some unique traits to do their job well. Because these individuals need to avoid problems with strong preventive maintenance practices, they need to be able to accept and thrive in a changing environment. Many times, employees are rewarded for solving problems, not avoiding them. As a result, maintenance managers have a lot of responsibilities but less of the recognition.
This also means that maintenance managers are more likely to operate behind the scenes. Individuals who need to receive a great deal of external praise and recognition may have trouble in this position.
Essentially, maintenance managers must enjoy keeping their teams organized with robust preventive maintenance schedules and continuous work requests, keeping building systems and production lines running smoothly.
They must have good leadership skills, which requires bringing maintenance supervisors together in an effective, positive, and efficient manner. They need to instill the problem-avoidance culture within their team through strong supervision and follow-up with technicians. Nurturing this attitude while building a supportive team is critical to becoming a strong maintenance manager.
How Maintenance Managers Get the Most out of Their Team
In today’s ultra-competitive world, having all the technical skills for great facility management is not enough to be a great maintenance manager. In fact, the ability of maintenance managers to find and train their teams can also yield big results. Without a strong maintenance team to support and use processes, procedures, and technology, a maintenance department cannot get to where it needs to go.
Support Supervisors and Technicians
In order to get the most out of their teams, maintenance managers must be supportive leaders for their supervisors and technicians. By continually asking what team members need to work more efficiently and then implementing those changes, managers can truly increase the productivity and effectiveness of their teams. Managers must look for ways to remove barriers from their team’s daily work on an ongoing basis.
Set a Clear Vision
Strong maintenance managers must set clear goals for each technician or supervisor and clear their path to accomplish those objectives. Providing the autonomy to then meet those objectives, along with any training and tools needed, is the best way to motivate a team. This can simply mean setting up mentoring relationships between experienced and new technicians or encouraging industry certifications and continuing education.
Assign Appropriate Tasks With Trust
To begin the process, maintenance managers must clearly understand the corporate and department goals and be able to align personal and individual goals alongside them. Once that is determined, matching the right individual with the correct level task will be the next step. Remember to challenge your team by giving them a slightly harder task than they are accustomed to in order to train them and move up the bar for your entire team.
Be sure to clearly define the task, why they are a good match, and what you expect the results to be within what timeframe. Ensure that the technician or supervisor has all the tools, technology, and training to carry out the job, and make sure you are available for support and questions. However, don’t micromanage them. Give them autonomy and freedom to accomplish the goals in the way they see fit. Once the job is done, be sure to reward the behaviors you want to increase within the entire department.
Commit to Professional Development
Finally, superior maintenance managers must be lifelong learners who are willing and enthusiastic about continuing to improve personally and professionally. This not only means embracing continuing education opportunities but also participating in industry conferences and organizations, networking with other maintenance professionals, brainstorming solutions and learning from others, and simply reading about the latest developments in the industry.
Who Should Hire a Maintenance Manager?
Usually larger organizations require more layers of management to operate efficiently. A business, facility, or residential complex that has multiple locations, shifts, or buildings will benefit from having a maintenance manager.
Maintenance managers can work with top executives to understand the overall business strategy and then develop a supporting vision and mission for the maintenance department. This may include a focus on exceeding OSHA standards or other regulations, reducing downtime to increase machine efficiency, or obtaining superior customer satisfaction scores from tenants.
Having a strong maintenance manager in place is a great way for a company to grow and do more with less. Successful managers who know how to motivate and encourage a team of technicians and supervisors will be the ones who can propel an organization to embrace new technologies, such as predictive maintenance tools, in an effective and productive manner.
What Are the Different Types of Maintenance Managers?
Different businesses require different types of maintenance managers. Below are some examples.
Plant Maintenance Manager
A plant maintenance manager ensures the operations of plant systems and equipment stays in excellent working order by managing maintenance supervisors over various shifts at a particular facility.
Building Complex Maintenance Managers
This role oversees supervisors who are responsible for the daily upkeep and operations of a particular building within a residential complex. They set big picture goals and manage complex-wide processes and procedures.
Facilities Maintenance Managers
The facilities maintenance manager oversees maintenance and engineering tasks including mechanical, electrical, and plumbing projects across an entire facility. This individual delegates shift-specific tasks to maintenance supervisors.
Public Works Maintenance Manager
The public works maintenance manager leads shift supervisors in various government-related departments including road maintenance, parks and recreation maintenance, and landscaping.
What Certifications Are Available for Maintenance Managers?
Those aspiring to become maintenance managers can apply for the following certifications to advance their careers.
Maintenance Management Certification (MMC)
Several of the country’s top engineering schools offer certification programs. Maintenance managers can learn how to build and sustain a maintenance program, establish appropriate KPIs, select optimum equipment, and implement work management strategies.
The National Center for Housing Management offers this certification and teaches managers how to plan maintenance tasks and make good decisions within a multi-family complex. Managers are trained on how to achieve maintenance goals quickly, correctly, and at the lowest possible cost. The program also shows how to improve work order systems and shares the latest tools and methods available.
This certification is designed for managers of affordable or assisted housing complexes. A high school diploma, industry training, at least six months of on-the-job experience, completing an ethics seminar, and an examination are required for certification.
Focusing on the tools and strategies required for effective management of assets, this certification program instills the knowledge to help participants improve uptime, capacity, communication, and safety within their organizations. Eight modules of the certification teach students an integrated strategy; management of operations, finances, and human resources; and related computer systems. The certification ends with a capstone project.
This certification provides an in-depth training program when it comes to plant and facilities management. Participants are required to update their certifications annually, so they can remain at the forefront of new technologies and processes related to the complex issues they often face as a facility or property manager.
Maintenance managers are a critical link in the organizational structure of a maintenance department. Once an organization has enough employees to warrant adding this level of management, it is important to select or groom the right type of individual for this position. The right individuals will be well-versed not only in the technical side of maintenance, but also have the right leadership and team-building skills to motivate and encourage supervisors and technicians; serving as the catalyst for an entire maintenance department to thrive and grow into the future.