How to Determine Lubrication Labor Staffing Requirements

Lubrication Programs: Best-in-class doesn’t mean your best guess

Nothing grinds the gears of the maintenance manager and/or maintenance planner quite like the request for morelabor to complete annual machine lubrication work. This seems especially true in facilities where this work role is awarded on a seniority and bid basis. There is reasonable justification for the angst of both parties. This is a prime topic for the application of a data-based management response, but what data does one need to objectively answer the siren call for “more”?

Organizing and executing a high-quality machine lubrication program is a challenge for most industrial facilities. One of the most common points of debate is how much time should be allocated to complete the machine lubrication routines on time and with a high degree of quality. This is a
vexing topic given that the work is not like other work done by maintenance.

Routine planned maintenance includes a defined task, defined materials, allocated time, and often an individual assigned to that task. With machine lubrication, we need to assign a list of tasks and materials and allocate many tasks to an individual. The single list could encompass several
hundred tasks and occupy a full week of time, or maybe only a few tasks and a few hours.

The challenge snowballs when we consider that the work of machine lubrication for a large facility may encompass hundreds of thousands of tasks on hundreds to thousands of scheduled routes during a given year. How should one go about objectively allocating labor to address that type of
work requirement?

In this article I will address a granular, machine-specific, task-specific approach that the work planner can follow to come to a full understanding of how precisely how to allocate sufficient time to complete the annual work of machine lubrication.