For any asset-intensive business, maintenance backlogs play a key role in determining the reliability of an equipment’s operating condition, the efficiency of an organization’s maintenance strategy, and the major areas of improvement in a plant’s maintenance operations. Maintenance backlogs can contain anything from preventive maintenance routines, predictive maintenance tasks, to corrective maintenance work. Without the effective planning, scheduling, and organization of resources, many businesses may encounter challenges with maintaining a structured, productive work order backlog. While it is true that not all tasks in the backlog are of equal urgency, the important thing to keep in mind is that these tasks are performed to prevent any safety issues, damages, and hazards that could put you, your equipment, or your workers in danger.

Tackling your maintenance backlog

There are various reasons your maintenance backlog can grow into an unamicable state. Continually deferring maintenance work, regularly prioritizing emergency work tasks, or consistently forgetting existing work orders can seriously put your reliability and maintenance operations at risk. The snowball effect can occur when work orders that were once just a few line items on your sheet begin piling up on one another and become a seemingly never-ending list of tasks to complete. One of the challenges that accompany a lengthy backlog is maintaining the productivity of your maintenance workers. Workers who are dealt a large volume of tasks may feel overwhelmed and choose to create a new work order rather than go through the trouble of searching for the existing work order due to their busy schedule. There are a variety of factors to consider such as priority, resources, and time constraints when assessing the urgency of a work order.

Managing your backlog ultimately means evaluating which tasks and assets are most critical.

As seen in our previous blog post, understanding your historical work order data can positively impact the way your business decides to execute their maintenance operations. Analyzing your work orders can allow maintenance professionals to take a closer look at their maintenance strategies, identify the major causes of their business’ backlog, and develop a plan to address the key areas that need improvement. While analyzing your historical work orders, you may find that there are non-value preventive maintenance (PM) tasks that can be eliminated from your work order backlog based on previously completed maintenance operations. This can provide additional time to help reduce your maintenance backlog, prioritize urgent tasks, and streamline the essential work that needs to be completed.

Plan, revise, and act

A growing maintenance backlog may be a sign that it’s time to take a second look at your business’ planning and scheduling of resources in your maintenance strategy and operations. Analyzing your work orders can lead to added hours of valuable wrench time, better use of resources, and a more manageable work order backlog for both your business and maintenance workers to carry out. After all, creating an effective work order backlog requires the combined efforts of a business, its maintenance managers, and its maintenance workers. To learn more about how NRX Work Order Analysis can help you complete the right maintenance work at the right time, click on one of our resources below, or book a demo with us to help get your maintenance backlog back on track!

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