The Differences Between Manufacturing, Fleet, and Facilities Maintenance Management


Bryan Christiansen Founder and CEO of Limble CMMS

Friday, January 25, 2019

Manufacturing, fleet and facilities maintenance management can be very similar in the way they leverage management systems, but their functions are very different in a number of ways. Here's what you need to know.

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Regardless of industry type, maintenance managers generally face similar issues: routine maintenance, emergency repairs, preventative maintenance, and changeovers. It is not uncommon for maintenance managers in most industries to be involved in HSE issues, such as safety procedures, environmental actions, and dust control.

Because of these similarities, all of them can find a use for a computerized maintenance management system which helps them stay on top of all activities in their maintenance department. However, depending on organizational requirements and preferences, specialized software designed specifically for fleet or facilities maintenance is available in the form of facility and fleet management systems.  

But we are here to talk about the differences and not similarities.

Procedures, skills and training

Some tasks performed by maintenance managers across the spectrum differ according to the type of environment they are working in: manufacturing, fleet, or facilities. These differences relate to work procedures, technician skills, work order types, customers served, and reporting.


Manufacturing maintenance services significantly different equipment types from either fleet or facility maintenance. Often each piece of production equipment is not only fixed in place but is also a link in a production line dedicated to manufacturing products. Equipment failures can result in complete line shut-downs. Routine maintenance and maintenance on multiple pieces of equipment must be done when equipment is available.

Also, maintenance procedures should ensure applicable governmental labor and safety regulations are satisfied. Noise and dust levels, lock-out tag-out, and OSHA rules must be applied when procedures are written. Accordingly, it is important for managers to understand the rules and guidelines required for workplace safety. 


Most fleet maintenance services are performed on mobile equipment that is brought to a service center. Work procedures must satisfy extensive state and federal vehicle regulations. As a result, technicians must be qualified to ensure proper vehicle safety requirements, registration and licensing, emission levels certification, and road use regulations. As driverless vehicles and alternative fuels become more popular, both work procedures and technical skills will require upgrading.  


On the other hand, maintenance procedures within facilities must take into account local building codes, zoning guidelines, and federal safety rules. In many jurisdictions, safety and design policies are in place for building exteriors, parking lot access and egress, and signage use. Some tasks, such as elevator maintenance requires specialized skills and safety certifications.

Who are the ‘customers’?

As well as requiring different skills and training, these functions also serve very different ‘customers’.


Manufacturing maintenance managers are chartered with supporting production managers and line personnel. Manufacturing customers are interested in having efficient, available capacity able to produce quality products. Satisfying this objective is most often demonstrated through focused reporting.   


Fleet maintenance managers must often please a broader range of equipment users than manufacturing maintenance managers. Fleet customers may include professional or sales personnel, managers, and, even, executives. In addition, many drivers may be over-the-road long-haul tractor-trailer professionals or local forklift operators. With these customers, reliability, comfort, and availability are the predominant metrics. 


Facility maintenance customers often include professional office personnel as well as manufacturing and fleet organizations. These customers are interested in useful and comfortable work-spaces, clean environments, and an attractive building, inside and out. Effective landscaping, pest control, and janitorial services support these comfort and appearance goals.

Work orders, scheduling, and environment

Some maintenance work order types differ between manufacturing, fleet, and facilities. These types include those for changeovers, instrument calibration, and, often, small construction projects.


Scheduling generally depends on equipment availability. Nights, weekends, and line breaks offer opportunities to complete routine tasks. Most importantly, general maintenance scheduling is coordinated with the overall production plan to take advantage of production ‘gaps.’


Fleet equipment is movable and is generally brought to a service center where work is completed. Required tools, supplies, test equipment, and personnel remain in the center. Scheduling fleet maintenance is also dependent on regulatory timing and deadlines. Mileage, time between services, and calendar dates must all be taken into account. Developing a plan that levels maintenance workload is a crucial goal in scheduling.


Work orders used by facilities maintenance often apply to building equipment, janitorial requirements, landscaping and grounds, parking, and signage. In some cases, work can be batched so multiple pieces of similar equipment can be serviced at one time (e.g., HVAC roof fans.) In these cases, a technician is able to maintain many pieces of equipment sequentially.

Scheduling objectives include leveling workloads and controlling costs. Most general maintenance is completed during business hours and is based on access to facilities. In many cases, especially for simple repairs, maintenance technicians work around ongoing office activities.   

How reporting works

As the customers they serve differ, so do the types of reports that are required in order to demonstrate completion rates and efficiency.


Most manufacturing maintenance reporting is used internally to monitor maintenance effectiveness. Metrics such as capacity availability, OEE calculations, and failure analysis are all used to demonstrate results. Information related to inventory control and staffing levels is also integral to manufacturing maintenance reporting.


Fleet maintenance managers are faced with two reporting requirements: internal data demands and external regulatory reporting. Internal reporting focuses on overall equipment efficiencies, workload management, and inventory management. External reporting requirements involve supplying vehicle data in a timely manner to appropriate oversight agencies.


Most facilities maintenance management reporting concentrates on workload balancing, cost reporting, staff effectiveness, and inventory management. Some external reporting requirements are necessary, such as elevator certification maintenance. 

In conclusion

Even though there are a number of differences, some of which are discussed above, maintenance managers across the spectrum of industry types share similar duties, responsibilities, and problems.

The overall objectives of all maintenance managers are to ensure safe, clean, efficient, and cost-effective operations for all employees. Understanding the differences as well as the similarities helps managers in each area sharpen their skills according to the needs of their respective industries.

Bryan Christiansen

Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO at Limble CMMS. Limble is a modern, easy to use mobile CMMS software that takes the stress and chaos out of maintenance by helping managers organize, automate, and streamline their maintenance operations.


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