Staffing Levels by the Numbers
How to reasonably assess maintenance staffing is an often-posed question among fleet managers and facility maintenance managers. Many organizations do not determine how many techs are required to maintain their fleet or facilities. Many report that staffing levels at their shop have been the same for years and no one knows how that number was determined. As a consequence, managers have difficulty defending themselves against a new management who suggest shop staffing is bloated and should be downsized or those who don’t think additional manpower is needed.
To support the need for more staff it is much better to be armed with calculations.To calculate technician staffing requirements, the following data and information are needed:
- The average number of labor hours each type of asset in the fleet or facility demands. (1)
- The average number of wrench-turning labor hours each mechanic on staff can produce. (2)
- Details about the fleet or facility and maintenance practices that can fundamentally impact the calculations. (3)
(1) For example, if historical labor hours for a fleet of 10 dump trucks were 400 per year, the average labor demand per year for each vehicle in this class is 40. Total labor hours divided by number of vehicles. Repeating this process for each class and type of vehicle yields the total average annual labor demand for the fleet. This can also be done for facilities.
(2) While mechanics are typically paid for 2,080 hours per year, exclusive of overtime (52 weeks x 40 hours per week), they are clearly not available to work on facilities or vehicles this number of hours. Holidays, vacation, sick days — as well as other leave time — must be deducted to arrive at the number of hours a mechanic is actually available for productive work. Don’t forget to account for meeting hours, training time and other tasks like shop cleanup.
(3) Has the fleet or facility aged considerably that it requires more time or has the usage increased from historical data? Also think about things like facility location, size, layout, condition, etc.
To determine the demand for labor, review the previous few years of maintenance records and determine the average number of labor hours each type of equipment or each room of a facility has historically required to maintain properly, then multiply the result by the number of assets of each type.
Let’s say a mechanic is available for 1500 hours per year after all of the time deductions are calculated and that maintenance time requirements came to 13,000 hours. 13,000 hours of maintenance and repair required / 1,600 hours per technician = 8.12 technicians required. Rounding down rather than up in this case, you would need 8 techs.
To make sure you maximize the hours available for cleaning and maintenance, be sure to use high quality chemicals and tools so that the job can be done right the first time and with higher efficiency.