When it comes to determining the amount of work a department has that involves lift-equipment rental, planners use three sources: routine work orders, projects, and annual preventive maintenance job plans. They sort these jobs by grouping tasks according to the types of skills, as well as the needed lift equipment.
If the department needs two different types of lift equipment for four weeks each throughout the year, the department can train one person as the equipment operator for both types of equipment and give other assignments during the remaining weeks of the year. Some managers prefer to have more than one person trained as a backup in case of overlapping needs. Training updates are recommended after periods of not operating lift equipment.
In addition to assessing workers' skills related to operating lift equipment, staffing issues include identifying supervision, planning, and technician skills required.
Typical organization ratios are one supervisor per 15 technicians and one planner per 30 technicians. The core maintenance work group would consist of a planner, two supervisors, and 30 technicians with the appropriate equipment operation and maintenance training and experience.
Initially, there is no backlog of work until it is planned, material is procured, etc., so staffing is based on time estimates. As the department documents more planned work, these numbers can adjust to reflect more accurately the actual planned backlog hours, by skill, rather than being based only on initial estimates.
Thomas A. Westerkamp is a maintenance and engineering management consultant and president of the work management division of Westerkamp Group LLC.
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