Five Steps to Help You Tackle Your Maintenance Backlog


Do you have a backlog of maintenance and repair tasks that feels like it’s constantly growing? You’re not alone. A long list of unclosed work orders or deferred repairs can feel overwhelming, particularly when you see more work coming down the pipeline.

CMMS software is here to help. Here are five steps you can take to tackle your maintenance backlog.

1. Identify What Needs to Be Done

The first step is to identify the work that needs to be done. Start with your CMMS software to easily find the status of work orders. Organize these work orders by asset, task type, location, or available resources—or a combination—depending on your preferences. Consider how important each task is to complete, asset usage, and impact of downtime or failure.

2. Prioritize

Establish a prioritization system for your repairs. For example, any task related to safety should be high on your list, as well as any that might impact production or functionality while a repair is happening.

Key assets are going to be a higher priority than ones that aren’t used as often or won’t affect production as much. Seasonal use may also play a part—take advantage of the time the equipment is not in service to perform repairs.

3. Determine What Resources You Need

Estimate the labor time needed for each task, plus any necessary parts and inventory. CMMS calendars help with maintenance planning and scheduling upcoming tasks, making it easier to adjust things when necessary.

Use your CMMS software to assign work orders to specific team members and determine if you need to outsource any tasks. You can also track each team member’s productivity, and check that parts or supplies are available.

4. Revise Your Plan

As you know, things don’t always go according to plan. Pick a time (one week, one month, etc.) to evaluate how your plan to reduce the backlog is going. Use your CMMS software to identify open work orders and update schedules. Adjust your plan accordingly, working through the first three steps again as necessary.

5. Act on Your Discoveries

This process will likely inspire better ways to operate your maintenance department in the future. Maybe you’ve discovered you’re understaffed or it’s more efficient to outsource certain tasks. Maybe your team members need additional training to ensure efficiency and competency in the repairs.

Your maintenance team is a great resource. Ask them for their insight and get them involved. Whatever you discover, turn it into an action plan.

Working through your backlog has long-term benefits, including assets that perform more efficiently, use less energy, and fail less often—extending their usable life. As a result, your organization may be able to sidestep serious problems as well as delay more expensive maintenance.

Find out more about how CMMS software can help you tackle your maintenance backlog. Contact us to help.