With technology being the center of industry operations today, companies have a lot of equipment on their hands. This is good since it means companies can automate an increasing number of tasks. But, it also increases the demand for regular maintenance, and a maintenance manager to oversee all those maintenance activities.
The modern maintenance manager is a vital part of a company's technical equipment upkeep process.
However, maintenance manager job descriptions and job duties are becoming more diverse, and it pays to know the complete set of maintenance manager responsibilities before applying as one.
In this article, I'll explain what a maintenance manager does in 2020, what requirements come with the job title, and what perks ideal candidates can expect.
Let's jump right in.
What is a Maintenance Manager? [Job Overview]
Simply put, a maintenance manager is someone who supervises maintenance personnel on the ground.
They oversee the timely problem-solving and maintenance processes while also keeping maintenance logs and leading most technical tasks.
Also called a maintenance supervisor, maintenance managers directly oversee maintenance operations and the regular upkeep of all machines and hardware systems.
The 'manager' aspect of the job applies to various disciplines, such as facilities management, fleet maintenance management, electrical systems management, and general maintenance program oversight.
Here is a brief overview of their responsibilities:
- Supervise maintenance procedures on equipment and machinery
- Work with maintenance teams to acquire tools and resources
- Develop preventive maintenance schedules
- Assist maintenance workers in planning maintenance tasks
- Improve equipment maintenance service standards
- Direct maintenance technicians to perform efficient facility maintenance
- Implement more streamlined facility management methods
Furthermore, a maintenance manager may have other responsibilities, based on their area of expertise, qualifications, and the sort of equipment they maintain.
Most maintenance managers also function as project managers and maintenance department heads.
The added responsibilities are due to the current trend of streamlining operations by having one highly skilled professional take on multiple tasks. This allows, for example, a plant manager to function as a field technician team lead and/or a company-wide maintenance coordinator.
Primary Responsibilities of a Maintenance Manager in 2020
Maintenance manager jobs have become considerably easier due to modern equipment and management software such as CMMS systems.
Today, maintenance management personnel are involved in a variety of technical areas that are related to their core expertise.
However, before they diversify their repertoires, maintenance managers have to perform a few vital oversight operations.
Here are the 4 prime responsibilities of today's maintenance managers.
Oversee Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is any monitoring and/or repair that's regularly performed to prevent malfunction and increase the overall life of the equipment.
This type of maintenance procedure is usually scheduled, as per the demands of the equipment.
To perform preventive maintenance, a manager has to:
- Oversee maintenance mechanics and develop equipment repair schedules.
- Order time-based maintenance according to repair schedules.
- Supervise maintenance after a number of equipment operation cycles.
- Develop effective maintenance strategies to save time and resources.
- Coordinate with various technical stakeholders to keep equipment running without malfunction.
In terms of its nature, preventive maintenance falls between reactive and predictive maintenance.
Supervise Emergency Equipment Repair
Maintenance managers and technicians often need to respond to equipment failure at the end of a production cycle, or anywhere in between.
Also called emergency maintenance and reactive maintenance, senior technical staff often avoid these expensive and time-consuming tasks. Therefore, managers rarely have to supervise emergency repairs.
To supervise emergency repairs, a manager has to:
- Alert the relevant staff about the malfunctioning equipment.
- Maintain a log of specific repair procedures, spare parts, and/or replacement units for all assets.
- Work on ways to reduce downtime in operations due to equipment failure.
- Make maintenance procedures more efficient to improve the production cycle.
As with other aspects of technical and business administration, technology has rendered sudden failures almost obsolete. However, a manager provides a much-needed contingency plan for unexpected failures.
Schedule Maintenance Intervals
Most companies have a maintenance schedule that's developed according to the needs of the equipment and machinery.
These needs are determined by tracking equipment performance over a certain period of time.
To effectively schedule maintenance intervals, a manager has to:
- Observe performance tracking tools and software to discover potential equipment failure causes.
- Perform real-time asset monitoring with technical staff to determine equipment health.
- Coordinate with senior maintenance staff to develop more cost-effective maintenance methods.
Well-planned maintenance intervals minimize the costs of repairs and prevent instances of reactive maintenance later on.
Enforce General Maintenance Standards
General maintenance is usually not scheduled and is only called on for minor repairs and fixes.
However, a company's standards for general maintenance determine how many resources that company will have to allocate towards it.
Maintenance managers are often the ones to develop these standards with other senior staff and stakeholders, and then implement them.
Soft Skills for Maintenance Managers in 2020
Managing a team of technicians and engineers requires more than just qualifications and technical skills.
Here are some of the most important soft skills for modern maintenance managers:
- High-Level Technical Knowledge: Basic knowledge of common maintenance tasks is necessary for anybody on the maintenance team. However, a maintenance manager in 2020 needs to know the equipment under their supervision from top to bottom. Furthermore, they should know how that equipment is usually repaired, in order to develop more efficient repair procedures.
- Collaboration and Communication Skills: Most field managers have to be constantly communicating with technical staff members. They also need to collaborate with other departments to streamline the repair process and eliminate maintenance pitfalls.
- Detail-Oriented Approach: Being responsible for expensive equipment means managers have to pay close attention to the task at hand. This is to avoid any errors that may result in partial or complete asset failure in the future.
- Efficient Problem Solving Skills: Being the head of the maintenance team requires managers to make work easier for their team members by coming up with more efficient ways of performing maintenance tasks. They need to have a problem-solving approach that favors efficiency over everything else.
- Leadership and Flexibility: Job roles are becoming more diverse and managers are becoming responsible for technicians with a variety of skills and responsibilities. To manage better, they have to be flexible in their leadership style, and manage each team member according to the nature of their position.
In addition to these skills, a manager in 2020 should be tech and software-savvy, with in-depth knowledge of CMMS systems and other electronic maintenance aids.
Typical Qualifications of a Maintenance Manager
Any form of professional management usually requires a management degree from an authorized institute, as well as a varying degree of field experience.
Maintenance management is no different.
Generally, maintenance managers should have the following qualifications:
- Bachelor's degree in a valid management field (industrial, architectural, administrative, etc.)
- An advanced diploma with an apprenticeship in a relevant field
- A combination of an undergraduate degree and an advanced diploma
- Intra-graduate work experience with a valid certificate
Additionally, a modern manager should understand how to streamline project management for themselves, and save company resources as a result.
Hopeful candidates can access the hundreds of available online courses to learn more about their preferred managerial field.
Taking some of these courses will also upskill current managers while preparing them for new maintenance-related tasks in the future.
Maintenance Manager Salary and Perks
According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a current maintenance manager in the US is $59,149 a year.
This can vary based on a candidate's individual work experience, qualifications, and the salary package their company offers.
In terms of benefits, it varies from company to company. However, the standard benefits such as paid time off, and health, life, dental, and occupational injury insurance stay constant among all companies.
How to Become an Ideal Maintenance Manager
Like many other administrative and operative positions, maintenance management is undergoing a sift due to technology.
Managers are utilizing software to create work logs, coordinate maintenance efforts, maintain asset records, and keep time on tasks.
These software systems help mangers track their team and asset performance in a more effective and efficient manner.
Needless to say, any working maintenance manager or jobseeker has to think of being tech-savvy as a major job requirement.
Candidates who are currently looking for a managerial position should also focus their efforts on vocational courses, alongside hard skill-based knowledge.
Since most companies are looking for a broad set of managerial skills, as well as the requisite technical knowledge, candidates should seek additional learning alongside regular degrees, for a greater chance of job success.