What is the Maintenance Backlog?

What is the Maintenance Backlog?

A Maintenance Backlog is an indicator of time that shows which maintenance jobs are needed and which have not yet been completed.

A Maintenance backlog is usually calculated in working days or weeks, and measures the time needed to perform outstanding maintenance operations. A maintenance backlog comprises both preventive and corrective maintenance tasks, as well as quality inspections or any other activity that is indispensable for the proper functioning of the assets.

The appropriate degree of this delay should be determined by the maintenance planning and control workflow.

Consequences of a maintenance backlog

While some level of maintenance backlog is acceptable, neglected tasks inevitably cause more breakdowns and downtime on assets. Consequently, breakdowns require immediate unplanned maintenance tasks which in turn disrupt scheduled activities. These interruptions in scheduling accumulate more backlogged tasks, which can turn into a vicious circle.

In other words, a maintenance backlog generates a list of tasks to be carried out during a given period and experiencing some delay is inevitable. If not, this may indicate overstaffing.

So the aim is not to eliminate the maintenance backlog completely, but to manage this process efficiently.

Delayed maintenance of high-risk assets

Delayed maintenance of higher risk assets is quite damaging; it can put the organisation in a risky situation. As a result, there may be various equipment failures/malfunctions and associated replacement costs, non-compliance with legal safety requirements and losses in company productivity.

Low-risk assets tolerate a longer maintenance backlog while in contrast, high-risk assets can only cope with a shorter backlog.

How to calculate a Maintenance Backlog?

As it is a time indicator, the result of a maintenance backlog must be established in hours, minutes, days, weeks or months. It is therefore calculated from the sum of the man-hours of all pending, planned, scheduled and completed tasks; divided by the total number of available man-hours.

However, only the productive time of each employee should be considered, since technicians are not performing tasks 100% of the time. Therefore, before calculating the backlog, you need to measure the productivity of the team.

Thus, the overall average standard is considered to be 2 weeks, taking into account work during working days. On the other hand, if companies work without weekly interruption, the standard is 3 to 4 weeks.

What are the advantages of this maintenance indicator?


Being able to calculate this maintenance indicator makes it possible to check the productivity of the team, as well as gauging the cause of delays in maintenance.


In addition, a maintenance backlog makes information clearer and more accessible to teams, so they can identify the points that need to be improved.

CMMS software: the support tool to calculate your company’s backlog

It is obviously difficult to calculate and control a backlog without the support of CMMS software like Valuekeep. This intelligent management system enables maintenance managers not only to keep track of the work that is outstanding, but also to check the deadline for completion.  In this way, a manager can obtain total visibility on delays and breakdowns in the company’s assets.

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