The technical maintenance teams in manufacturing companies consist of several types of maintenance personnel. There are maintenance technicians and mechanics who perform maintenance activities and upkeep and there are engineers who oversee and guide the repairs. These teams need someone to ensure everyone does their job, and that's where a maintenance supervisor comes in.
That said, supervision of maintenance operations is a much more demanding job than before, one that needs more observant supervisors for the variety of maintenance staff.
In this article, I'll explain in detail what a maintenance supervisor does, what responsibilities come with the job title, how much an average supervisor makes in a year, and what perks and benefits they get.
Let's take a look.
What is a Maintenance Supervisor? [Job Overview]
A maintenance supervisor is someone who organizes and directs the maintenance of various equipment, machinery, and facilities.
They preside over the upkeep of building systems (HVAC, lighting, utilities, etc.), equipment (printers, air conditioning units, etc.), and manufacturing machinery.
Often merged with maintenance managers, these professionals make sure the maintenance department performs as planned, till the end of the production cycles.
The 'supervisor' aspect of the job applies to several disciplines, such as facilities maintenance, building maintenance, general equipment maintenance, and even apartment maintenance.
Here is a brief overview of their responsibilities:
- Oversee various on and off-site maintenance procedures
- Manage teams of maintenance workers assigned to equipment repairs
- Execute general and preventive maintenance schedules
- Assign workers to maintenance projects
- Negotiate with senior management to install new facility maintenance equipment and monitoring systems
- Allocate tasks to junior facilities/maintenance supervisors [for senior officials]
Additionally, a maintenance supervisor may have other responsibilities, according to the job specifications of the company, their own unique qualifications, and work experience.
An experienced maintenance supervisor may also be found working as a facilities manager or property management expert.
The smart operation trend of today lets a single technician work in multiple capacities and coordinate remotely with the entire maintenance team, or other teams they are working with.
Primary Responsibilities of a Maintenance supervisor in 2020
Maintenance supervisor jobs have partially gone down the remote-work path due to the current pandemic situation.
Today, a number of full-time technicians are remotely supervising maintenance work and managing cross-functional operations. This adds responsibilities to the standard responsibilities that technicians already have.
However, before they take on more diverse tasks, modern maintenance supervisors need to take care of some basic responsibilities.
Here are the three prime responsibilities of today's maintenance supervisors.
Supervising Building Maintenance
Building maintenance supervisors are responsible for general repair and upkeep of various building elements such as electrical and plumbing systems, carpentry, and paintwork.
Overseeing basic building maintenance is one of the most common responsibilities for supervisors, especially in urban centers.
In this role, supervisors manage electricians, plumbers, carpenters, painters, sanitation workers, and handymen.
Building maintenance supervisors can sometimes be responsible for a single apartment complex, and even entire housing centers, depending on their experience. This makes the role ideal for anyone with either prior experience or certification in urban management.
Managing Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is a form of maintenance that's done before the equipment has a chance of breaking down or steadily deteriorating.
This procedure is performed as per a schedule, which is developed according to the length of the production cycles, as well as the health and performance of the machinery.
To perform preventive maintenance, supervisors have to:
- Monitor asset performance over a certain period of time
- Confirm the production capacity of each machine within the company
- Observe the frequency of maintenance intervals over the past year or more
- Collaborate with the maintenance director to allocate sufficient resources to the task
- Supervise the on or off-site maintenance process
- Manage all relevant maintenance team members
Preventive maintenance is a constructive approach to ensure greater asset health over an extended period of time and smaller production downtimes.
Observing Spot/On-Call Maintenance
Apot or on-call maintenance is done whenever the senior engineers or equipment managers find that the machinery is approaching an instance of emergency maintenance.
It's one of the most common forms of maintenance for manufacturing and apartment supervisors.
To perform on-call maintenance supervision, a supervisor has to:
- Confirm the extent of the repair and/or maintenance needed
- Assign the appropriate maintenance personnel to the job
- Mae sure the repairs and maintenance is completed as per the needs of the asset
Predictive maintenance is usually done to reduce instances of emergency maintenance and minimize the costs of repairs in the future.
Soft Skills for Maintenance Supervisors in 2020
Being a maintenance supervisor responsible for steady production and efficient maintenance at a facility requires a broad set of skills, including some vital soft skills.
Here are some of the most important soft skills for modern maintenance supervisors:
- Communication Skills: Good communication skills are an obvious requirement for any supervisor that's managing a team of workers. Since they spend the majority of their time directly managing mechanics, technicians, and assistants, they need to be able to communicate well and get instructions across, every time.
- Time Management: Aside from instructing workers, maintenance supervisors are also responsible for making sure the repair work is done on time, in order to avoid unnecessary stoppages in production. This means that supervisors need to come up with ways to streamline their workflow.
- Problem Solving Skills: Supervisors may sometimes face complex issues in the production line. To prevent these issues from escalating, they should be able to analyze and remove those issues without production halting for extended periods.
- Collaboration and Teamwork: Field supervisors are often collaborating with maintenance personnel on the ground. To be effective managers, they need to understand the pain points of the crew, and give clear instructions, while maintaining a collaborative environment.
Additionally, all supervisors need to be able to run crew management software or at least have basic computer literacy, as well as a vocational course in the usage of such systems.
Typical Qualifications of a Maintenance supervisor
Almost all supervisor jobs require a technical management degree or advanced diploma in a relevant field.
Generally, a maintenance supervisor should have the following qualifications:
- Bachelor's degree in industrial management or engineering
- 4-Year diploma from a technical college, with adequate on-site training
- Associate degree with at least 4 years of experience in a maintenance team
- Online certification in a maintenance supervisor program with extensive work experience
- High school diploma with credentials from an engineering certification authority
Furthermore, a modern supervisor should have hands-on experience managing the kind of maintenance resources that modern companies are using. They should also be certified in the usage of high-tech tolls and maintenance equipment.
There is a large number of online courses that can help candidates develop the skill sets they need for career advancement.
These courses can provide maintenance supervisor hopeful get the skills they need for these positions.
Maintenance Supervisor Salary and Perks
According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a current maintenance supervisor in the US is $65,158, per year.
This can vary based on a candidate's individual qualifications and work experience, as well as the company's salary offer
Additionally, different companies offer job complexity and performance-based benefits. However, all supervisors get some benefits such as life, health, dental, and injury insurance as standard.
How to Become an Ideal Maintenance Supervisor
The current trend of collaborative workspaces has turned traditionally aloof positions such as company supervisor into a dynamic and involved one.
Additionally, supervisors are now able to remotely allocate resources, respond to repair alerts, and operate in their regular capacity via software and electronic aids. In fact, a supervisor can oversee minor repair jobs and create reports of asset and worker performance on their smartphone.
All of this is has resulted in a significant improvement in the work environment, operational efficiency, team performance, and workflow streamlining.
Today, any working maintenance supervisor has to make technology the foundation of their workflow. The payoff of this is a marked increase in the productivity of the staff, and the supervisor themselves.
Considering this, candidates need to focus on courses and certifications that provide them with skills to function well in such dynamic and high-tech environments.
In conclusion, any budding maintenance supervisor who wants to succeed in their job in the future should upskill and develop themselves into someone a company can trust, even with its most expensive and major maintenance tasks.