If you’ve ever had an out-of-control maintenance backlog, you know the pain points. There’s a whole list of work orders far past their due dates and more are coming. Maintenance managers and schedulers know they will always have a bit of a backlog due to emergencies and reprioritization and low priority work orders can often seem like they are multiplying. Whether your backlog is completely out-of-control with overflowing work orders, one thing is definite, you need to identify asset criticality, prioritize, and create a plan of action.
Here are a few industry best practices for the next fight against your backlog:
While the average maintenance backlog might be confusing and disorganized, coordinating and grouping where work orders and tasks have caused immediate scheduling issues is your first priority. You’ve got to find to ways save you and your workforce time and, in the long run, the plan is to be ahead of your maintenance backlog without having to go back and fix errors. You’re going to want to look for:
- Duplicated work
- Already Completed Work
- Work that needs to be modified (re-evaluated & approved)
Your work orders need to be descriptive and precise. You need to identify clear indicators in order to delegate importance. Each work order needs to have:
- A description of the work and estimated hours
- A list of the resources needed (skills, crew size, man-hours/shift scheduling, parts/materials, special tools, equipment, permits, reference documents, etc.)
- Necessary Safety procedures
When it comes to cutting away at a maintenance backlog it’s important that everyone on the team knows the mission. As a team, you’ve got to have a cohesive understanding of what jobs need to be completed and in what sequences the work needs to be finished. Whether that’s due to resource availability or how badly an individual asset needs work.
This final stage is often overlooked because by this point you’ve organized your team to eliminate maintenance backlog as best you can. You need to be constantly asking, are things going as planned, and are we moving forward. You want to ensure a clear understanding of priorities when reevaluating your maintenance procedures and updating your backlog.
Maintenance schedulers have a tough job. You’ve got planned downtime, unplanned downtime, unexpected asset breakdowns, and unexpected employee absence. It’s a lot to handle. But the good news is once your maintenance team has sifted through work orders and identified which orders have priority, the scheduler can optimize for the future.