It’s not the most glamorous task in your department, but maintaining an accurate maintenance backlog is an essential piece of your company’s puzzle.
Backlogs can ensure your equipment remains in proper working order to avoid costly repairs and interruptions to your schedule. They’re critical in effective planning and scheduling. But most importantly, keeping up with tasks can prevent hazards that could put your employees in danger.
Let’s look at what a maintenance backlog is, why it’s important, and what you can do to maintain its accuracy.
What Is a Maintenance Backlog?
A maintenance backlog is a list of tasks that are ready to be performed to repair or maintain equipment. These tasks are mandatory because they help to prevent safety issues, breakdowns, failures, or damage. For example, a company vehicle in need of an oil change would be on the maintenance backlog.
Think of it as a never-ending to do list. These tasks remain on the list until they are completed.
Backlogs are measured by the time it would take to complete all tasks on the list. This value is usually calculated in weeks, though some companies prefer to calculate the number of hours it would take to better apply their resources.
Backlogs can be tricky to manage, as companies need to prioritize tasks based on their importance, not the date on which they enter the backlog. Because of this factor, companies must effectively manage their resources and plan efficiently to ensure maintenance tasks are performed timely while reducing the highest amount of risk possible.
Benefits of a Maintenance Backlog
The most obvious reason for having a maintenance backlog is knowing what tasks need to be performed at all times so nothing falls through the cracks.
But aside from keeping tabs on the workload, it’s also essential for resource planning and scheduling.
Companies can use backlog activity to make hiring and contracting decisions, allocate payroll budgets, and plan for shutdowns or production interruptions.
In addition, backlogs serve to protect your company and employees. Preventative maintenance can easily be overlooked or forgotten. When this happens, you’re risking equipment failure and employee safety in the event an incident occurs due to lack of maintenance.
Your backlog helps to remove much of the guesswork when it comes to maintaining your company vehicles, equipment, and machines. It streamlines the entire process so you can better use your time on performing essential tasks.
How to Create a Maintenance Backlog
There are two ways to create and maintain your backlog.
Historically, spreadsheets and documents have been the go-to choice for companies. They’re easily editable and can be accessed in seconds.
The more modern solution is using CMMS software specifically made for creating and maintaining backlogs. Cloud-based technology makes it easy to share backlogs with crews, assign work, send messages, collect data, and other maintenance-related tasks. Teams can see at a glance what their responsibilities are and how long they have to complete their tasks. It’s an easier way to organize your data, manage costs, run reports, and create recurring tasks.
Conquering the Backlog Challenge
Taming the maintenance backlog is no easy challenge, especially when jobs start multiplying and you start falling farther behind. It takes a lot of careful planning, scheduling, and resource-balancing to whittle your backlog tasks.
As a best practice, make organization and structure a priority. It can go a long way in turning your mountain of work into bite-sized tasks that are easier to digest.
For more tips and insight on how to improve your maintenance department, head back to our blog.