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Maintenance Directors

November 13, 2020


What Does a Maintenance Director Do?

Maintenance directors are responsible for the overall vision and strategy of the maintenance department. As the head of the department, they establish procedures, standards, and processes for maintenance supervisors and technicians. They set goals and objectives for the entire department as well as individual maintenance workers. They create the process flow for assigning, completing, and reporting maintenance tasks.

Maintenance directors are also in charge of creating upkeep policies and procedures for the entire organization. This includes how the organization adheres to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards in addition to other regulatory requirements.

Maintenance directors work with maintenance supervisors who manage maintenance technicians. They can report to either a vice president of operations or directly to the business owner, depending on the organization’s size. The directors’ performance is measured by equipment uptime, workplace safety metrics, compliance with maintenance schedules, and customer satisfaction survey scores.

Large organizations such as manufacturing plants and real estate companies operate multiple divisions or locations. Such organizations need this role to coordinate and streamline maintenance activities. While directors usually have an office, they spend a lot of time in the field visiting different locations and facilities to ensure everything is running smoothly. 

Maintenance Director Skills

Some of the most important skills necessary for this role include:

  • Leadership skills
  • Organizational skills and ability to prioritize workloads
  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Computer literate
  • Ability to use computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and production management software
  • Ability to train staff on equipment use and maintenance techniques

Leadership and analytical skills are particularly important for the role as directors are in charge of formulating company-wide policies.

What Are the Different Types of Maintenance Directors?

Different organizations have different business needs and, therefore, require various types of directors. The most common types include:

  • Plant Maintenance Director: They oversee the maintenance departments of manufacturing plants, strategizing on how to improve the reliability of plant equipment and systems through proactive maintenance.
  • City Works Maintenance Director: This type of director is usually employed by government institutions such as municipalities. They are often in charge of city maintenance supervisors who oversee technicians.
  • Facilities Maintenance Director: This role involves developing maintenance strategies for large facilities or a group of facilities. They ensure that plumbing, mechanical, and electrical assets of the facility are in good working order.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes maintenance directors as administrative services managers. It projects the profession to grow 6 percent by 2029. According to the Bureau, organizations will increasingly adopt technology to reduce equipment failure. Those with knowledge of CMMS software will therefore have stronger job prospects.

How Much Money Does a Maintenance Director Make?

These workers earn an average of $72,928 per year, according to PayScale. However, the rate can vary depending on years of experience, level of education, and job location.

How Does One Become a Maintenance Director?

While some employers prefer those with a master’s degree, 21.6 percent of today’s maintenance managers found employment with a bachelor’s degree. However, some professionals climbed the ranks with a high school diploma and significant work experience. 

These workers began their careers as maintenance technicians and signed up for maintenance-related vocational training. Additionally, one might need an HVAC certification to be appointed as a director.

What Are the Biggest Challenges for Maintenance Directors?

Some of the biggest challenges involved in this role include budgetary constraints, limited staff, lack of historical asset maintenance data, working with old equipment, lack of organizational transparency and accountability, low spare-parts inventory, and a lack of interest in preventive maintenance initiatives from upper-management.

Certifications and Training

Some of the most popular maintenance management certifications that help directors grow professionally include:

  • Certified Manager of Property Operations (CMPO): Offered by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), the CMPO program targets maintenance personnel interested in property management. The program equips maintenance directors with skills in day-to-day property operations, personnel management, collaborative technologies, and industry best practices. 
  • Certified Facilities Manager (CFM): The International Facilities Management Association offers this exam-based certification for facility managers. It gives maintenance directors the opportunity to demonstrate their competency in different areas such as communication, risk management, sustainability, finance and business, occupancy and human factors, and leadership, and strategy. Other similar programs include Facility Management Professional (FMP) and Sustainability Facility Professional (SFP).

Other institutions also offer training and certification opportunities. The International Maintenance Institute (IMI) and the Association of Asset Management Professionals (AMP) offer the Certified Maintenance Manager (CMM) certification to maintenance personnel who demonstrate knowledge of management practices, maintenance fundamentals, innovative reliability, and asset value optimization.

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