What Does a Maintenance Supervisor Do?
Maintenance supervisors are responsible for the inspection and maintenance of organizational assets. They provide leadership and direction to maintenance technicians who perform assigned work orders. In rare cases, supervisors carry out maintenance tasks themselves.
The responsibilities of the position vary depending on the organization. Generally, they organize and direct all maintenance activities for an organization and ensure adherence to safe production standards. They oversee the maintenance of both pieces of equipment and building systems. These professionals are usually responsible for the following duties:
- Performing regular inspections to identify problems and recommend remedial measures
- Preparing maintenance schedules and assigning workloads to maintenance technicians
- Coordinating daily maintenance activities, such as cleaning
- Taking part in the recruitment and training of new maintenance technicians
- Managing replacement parts and maintenance supplies inventory
- Ensuring project sites comply with all health and safety requirements
- Developing and implementing maintenance planning and scheduling PMs to ensure a proactive approach to asset maintenance
- Negotiating contracts with third-party service providers, such as plumbers and electricians
- Managing the maintenance budget and tracking expenditures
- Ensuring availability of tools needed for completion of maintenance tasks
- Taking part in the implementation of capital projects
- Drafting and presenting maintenance reports to the maintenance manager and organization leadership
Generally, these professionals are mid-level managers primarily in charge of technicians and third-party contractors. In smaller organizations, they usually report directly to the vice president of operations, while, in larger organizations, they work under a maintenance manager or director. Some of the key performance indicators for this role include compliance with the maintenance schedule, equipment uptime, and safety metrics, such as decreasing workplace accidents.
Maintenance supervisors ensure that facilities are in good and safe working conditions at all times. They need technical skills and knowledge of trade crafts such as plumbing and carpentry. In addition, these professionals need the following soft skills:
- Attention to detail
- Organizational skills
- Exceptional leadership skills
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- Ability to prioritize workloads
- In-depth understanding of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and other regulatory requirements.
- Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
- Budget and performance management skills
- Ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines
- Working knowledge of management software such as Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS)
- Excellent time-management skills
A strong maintenance supervisor should have a combination of organizational skills, management skills, and technical knowledge of building systems. They should be able to work with diverse groups of people and run their teams efficiently. These workers should always be able to stay ahead of problems and effectively solve them.
Organizations That Hire Maintenance Supervisors
Not all organizations require a maintenance supervisor. Consequently, the need for the position depends on the management structure, employee development process, and maintenance needs. In small and medium enterprises, maintenance technicians can report directly to the business owner. They can also be placed under the manager in charge of operations.
With that said, mid-size and larger organizations need maintenance supervisors to oversee, develop, and implement organizational strategies. They are in charge of maintenance technicians who perform assigned maintenance tasks.
Organizations that rely on maintenance supervisors include:
- Automotive manufacturers
- Government institutions such as municipalities
- Residential and commercial buildings
- Utility companies
- Mining companies
- Aviation companies
- Pipeline transportation companies
Types of Maintenance Supervisors
The responsibilities of this role depend on the nature of the business an organization engages in. There are four different types of maintenance supervisors. They include:
- Plant Maintenance Supervisor: Plant maintenance supervisors manage maintenance technicians. They oversee the maintenance of plant equipment and systems such as pulleys, conveyor belts, and electrical systems to ensure they’re in good working condition. They ensure that plant operations are unaffected by unnecessary downtime.
- Building Maintenance Supervisor: This category of workers is responsible for residential and commercial building upkeep and operations. They communicate with tenants regarding planned maintenance activities and manage inventories of materials and replacement parts.
- Facilities Maintenance Supervisor: They oversee facilities maintenance and manage technicians who perform engineering tasks and minor maintenance activities. This includes plumbing, mechanical, and electrical projects.
- Public Works Maintenance Supervisor: Public works maintenance supervisors are employed by government institutions such as municipalities. They manage technicians who perform construction and public fleet maintenance tasks, among other activities.
Job Outlook for Maintenance Supervisors
These workers earn an average of $62,277 per year. Besides location, factors that determine salary include education, work experience, and scope of work.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes maintenance supervisors under first-line supervisors of repairers, installers, and mechanics. Demand for this category of workers is expected to grow 4 percent by 2028. Supervisors proficient in management software programs, such as Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS), will have better employment prospects.
Maintenance Supervisor Certifications and Training
The minimum requirement for this role is a high school diploma and relevant work experience. However, post-secondary training and licensing are necessary for conducting plumbing and electrical work.
According to Zippia, 20 percent of maintenance supervisors have a bachelor’s degree, while 3.8 percent have a master’s degree. Most supervisors start as technicians, learn on the job, and are eventually promoted to supervisor roles. The most common certification programs for career advancement include:
- Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP): Offered by the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP), the CMRP certification is awarded to maintenance personnel who’ve demonstrated proficiency in proactive maintenance besides leadership, organizational, management, and business skills.
- Certified Maintenance and Reliability Technician (CMRT): SMRP also offers the CMRT certification. It’s suitable for technicians looking to take up the position of supervisor. It’s an exam-based program that tests a worker’s competency in proactive maintenance approaches and problem-solving skills.
- Certified Master Technician: The Professional Service Association offers the Certified Master Technician certification. It’s awarded to maintenance personnel with demonstrated knowledge of residential building repairs, HVAC systems, and customer service.
- HVAC Certification: This certification is awarded to maintenance personnel who’ve completed apprenticeship programs organized by associations such as the Associated Builders and Contractors. It’s suitable for those interested in gaining knowledge of heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and radiation systems.
Other institutions, such as TPC Training, also offer training programs targeted at maintenance supervisors.
FAQ: Maintenance Supervisor
How Much Money Does a Maintenance Supervisor Make?
According to Payscale, maintenance supervisors make an average of $20.63 per hour. However, employers such as Greystar ($25) and FCA Corp ($28) pay higher than the national average.
How Do Maintenance Supervisors Assign Tasks to Maintenance Technicians?
Maintenance supervisors can use CMMS software to assign and monitor the completion of work orders. According to the 2019 Plant Engineering Maintenance Study, 58 percent of facilities rely on CMMS, while those that rely on spreadsheets and paper records are 45 and 39 percent, respectively.