What Is Maintenance Backlog? How to Overcome It?

Maintenance Backlog

Clearing maintenance backlog is a crucial part of effective maintenance management of assets and equipment. It should be done at the earliest. In the maintenance backlog, neglected tasks become impossible to manage, eventually causing more breakdowns and extreme downtime.

What Is a Maintenance Backlog?

The maintenance backlog is maintenance that is due. The word  “backlog” means an accumulation of work that is not completed in this scenario maintenance work needs to be completed. Maintenance must be done on time it can jeopardize the safety of employees. It can result in the failure of equipment or asset.

Different people use it in different ways! For instance, a vehicle needs servicing and maintenance after every 3000 kilometers. After 3000 kilometers if maintenance is not provided then its maintenance will be due. The longer vehicle runs, the more chances of breakdown are!

In another instance, vehicle maintenance is calculated in weeks, not in kilometers. Maintenance is a never-ending process.

In organizations, maintenance backlog can be tricky because of asset priority. Thus, maintenance planning is very important for effective maintenance management.

Also Read: How CMMS Helps in Maintenance Tracking and Budgeting?

Maintenance Backlog: Overstaffing or Understaffing

It can be an indicator that can tell you about your organization have too much staff or too few staff. For instance, if your organization is always having too many backlogs that means you require more staff.

However, if your organization does not have any maintenance backlogs that mean you have staff more than required.

Thus, there should be a balance between maintenance and maintenance workers. It means there should be maintenance work for them but neither too much nor too little.

Maintenance Backlog: High-Risk Assets or Low-Risk Assets

Maintenance backlog is important for maintenance operation. Deciding the priority of assets and categorizing each asset will help do productive work.

There are specific assets that are a necessity for daily operation & they can impact the overall efficiency of the organization. These assets are high-risk assets, these assets must be maintained so that the business does not suffer.

Then there are assets which are important but they without them work can be done & managed. They do not impact as much as compared to high-risk assets. These assets are low-risk assets.

Low-risk assets can endure more maintenance backlog as they don't have much dependency and pressure is also low, whereas if high-risk assets are not maintained it can make a huge difference. Moreover, high-risk assets have more dependency and pressure.

When maintenance worker understands this & they can manage work more efficiently & decide work order priority accordingly.

Maintenance backlog prioritization may be a tightrope walk taking into account higher-level variables such as the vital effect of output on customer care and maintenance costs and the time needed to complete them. Usually, the model of privatization will assign weights to each of these variables to come up with the decision process to decide which tasks to execute first.

The Shift from Reactive or Proactive for Managing Maintenance Backlog

Maintenance backlog is the result of reactive maintenance but if maintenance is done proactively you will never have to worry about asset health and maintenance. As proactive maintenance does not give time to create a backlog. Plus, it is more effective as it makes assets more reliable and durable.

When the maintenance department faces sudden breakdown, it involves immediate and planned maintenance tasks that in turn interrupt scheduled operations. Descriptions drive more tasks into the backlog to begin the vicious cycle.

Also Read: How CMMS Reports Can Boost the Productivity of an Organization?

The maintenance backlog as a measure generally determined at what age or weeks, quantifies the amount of time needed to define the number of employees to complete all pending maintenance tasks. The maintenance backlog consists of preventive maintenance activities and any other unpaid maintenance activities, such as the necessary corrective maintenance.

How to Overcome Maintenance Backlog?

For overcoming maintenance backlog, managers can use CMMS software (computerized maintenance management system). It can be helpful in several areas such as scheduling maintenance we know sometimes it hard to remember which asset need maintenance so this software keeps track of maintenance so you don't have to remember!

CMMS provides asset history; it is helpful for the maintenance team to get insights into the asset life and maintenance.

CMMS is mainly used for reducing maintenance expenses and CMMS software uses proactive maintenance. Moreover, preventive maintenance avoids sudden breakdown and make asset reliable. Furthermore, the checklist is provided for asset maintenance activities that need to be performed.

Maintenance Management software also allows you to set the priority of each work order for example tasks related to production or safety should have high priority. However, SLA (service level agreement) shall also be kept in mind while deciding the priority of each work order.

Furthermore, this software provides analytics that is helpful in business. It lets you know unproductive assets or those assets which are taking more maintenance than required! It saves an organization from unnecessary expenses.

You can set future goals according to the data. The data-driven decision is more effective compared to the decision based on assumptions.

In short, you can overcome maintenance backlog with CMMS software. On top of that, it provides several other benefits that we have discussed above.


Maintenance backlog can demolish your business and more importantly you will lose your customers. That is why maintenance backlog should be tied to be kept minimum as much as possible. However, if you want to finish the backlog then you can use CMMS, this asset management software will be beneficial for your business.

Also Read: 5 Most Common Maintenance Issues & How to Overcome Them

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Why maintenance is significant for all industries?

Maintenance is very important for the business. According to a website  “ITIC's latest survey data finds that 98% of organizations say a single hour of downtime costs over $100,000; 81% of respondents indicated that 60 minutes of downtime costs their business over $300,000.”

2. What are the various maintenance types?

Various types of maintenance are preventive maintenance, condition-based maintenance, predictive maintenance, emergency maintenance.

3. What are the advantages of maintenance?

Advantages of maintenance are as follow:
1. Full utilization of the asset
2. Increase asset life
3. Avoiding premature replacement
4. Decreased downtime
5. Increased efficiency and productivity
6. Reduced maintenance expenses

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