Managing Maintenance Backlogs

Every business has work that needs to be done. It could be greasing moving parts of a machine, changing the oil in a vehicle, performing an inspection, or a million other tasks. Whatever the case may be, this work gets added into a backlog in preparation for work scheduling and planning. When the work is completed, it is then removed from the backlog. Sometimes, backlogs can grow to unhealthy sizes depending on how a business manages maintenance activities. Using the right strategies and tools can greatly improve how you control backlog growth.

How Much is Too Much?

A backlog isn’t measured in how many items exist, it’s measured in how long it takes to complete them. Specifically, this unit of measurement is man-hours. Additionally, there will always be a backlog because you will always have work that needs to be done. This is the sole purpose for employing a maintenance department after all, right? Successful management of this is measured by how well your maintenance crew can handle this workload. Let’s break this down:

Let’s say you have 15 maintenance works you employ who work a 40 hour shift weekly. This means your maintenance department can handle up to 600 hours of work on a weekly basis. Now, let’s say your organization adds an average of 590 hours of work in the same period. This means that you not only can handle the new work being added, but also eventually tackle deferred tasks or other low priority work that would otherwise be shelved because of other priorities. And while this is a simplified example, it still illustrates how the comparison of work capacity against work levels generated can give you a clear picture of how well you are managing your workloads.

Going more in depth, you also need to account for time off for employees and other unexpected events. Unexpected downtime can throw a wrench into your operations if you do not have sufficient resources available to deal with it if needed. The amount of extra time budget required will vary depending on many factors like the size of your facilities, the impact asset failure has on your operations, the nature your assets, and more. This is ultimately only something you can decide for yourself, but ignoring the possibilities can lead to major process breakdowns in the future.

Controlling Growth through Preventive Maintenance

Unexpected downtime is an ugly and stressful process for anyone involved in your maintenance program. At best, it’s a minor inconvenience and at worst it’s a catastrophic failure in your daily operations. Regardless of how severe this failure is, it catches you off guard and doesn’t give you any time to plan for it. That’s the thing about unexpected downtime: you don’t know about it until it happens.

You might not be able to prevent these failures, but you can reduce the likelihood that they will happen by improving how efficiently you are able to handle preventive maintenance backlog items. These might be low priority at first, but if they are continually deferred it can drastically increase the chances that one of your assets will fail.

The CHAMPS Approach

At CHAMPS, we believe that a fully integrated approach is the best course of action when it comes to not only managing backlogs, but all of your maintenance efforts as a whole. Our CMMS and EAM software is built to provide you with all the tools you need to make huge improvements in efficiency and productivity. To learn more about how CHAMPS will help you manage backlogs and other areas of your maintenance, click here to request a demo.

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