What are some tips for balancing maintenance workload at my facility?

Balancing maintenance workload is a tricky concept because it’s not always immediately clear where the issue lies – for instance, your technicians might complain that they are overworked, but that can be a problem with technician training, lack of tools, improper scheduling, or any other multitude of factors.

Like anything else in maintenance, though, proper workload balancing requires you to think critically about your facility and maintenance team.

Scheduling
Especially in preventive maintenance (PM), there’s a very strong link between how well a schedule is created and how well your maintenance workload is balanced.

People often look at scheduling primarily as figuring out a day and time to do things, but there’s a ton of important aspects to scheduling. For example:

  • Whom do you schedule for the work? (aka who has the right training)
  • Where do you schedule the work to be completed?
  • What tools does the technician need?

Approaching scheduling from a holistic point of view, where you consider all aspects of the technician and task, is vital to balancing maintenance workload.

Work with staff
When attempting to balance a maintenance workload, working directly with your staff (including overviewing their current responsibilities) is critical.

This has two primary dimensions.

First, it’s useful to look over schedules to figure out if anyone is currently overbooked. If Technician A is scheduled for 15/20 PM tasks but isn’t successfully completing their last 5 tasks on time, perhaps those tasks can be reallocated elsewhere.

The other dimension is talking directly to your maintenance staff to figure out where disparities exist. This can be anything:

  • Technicians feel they have too much work to complete in the allocated time
  • The schedule isn’t optimized so redundant/unnecessary work is going on
  • Technicians don’t have the proper training/documentation to perform work quickly or efficiently
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Evaluate staffing needs
Unfortunately, sometimes the needs of a facility can’t be met by its current staff. In cases like these, it may be necessary to restructure a maintenance team by adding or subtracting members.

This isn’t always a fun process, but ultimately it’s a necessary one if a workload needs to be balanced. However, this step is one that should be taken after looking into scheduling, staff workload assignments, and training/documentation.