Spring and Fall Outage Season - Outage Skilled Labor Staffing

Manpower Planning: Overcome the Unexpected Through Proactive Planning

It’s that time again. You’ve been working with your customers or maintenance teams to plan out your spring projects, and it’s starting to look manageable. That is, of course, unless project “A” pushes back a couple weeks, or project “B” shifts forward a week.  

If that happens, your workload will exceed your field labor capacity. You’ll be faced with tough decisions, like rearranging crews and putting your company assets into recruiting scramble mode, which takes away from operational efficiencies. Not to mention, all this chaos has the tendency to affect safety, drive down productivity, drive up your EMR, drive down customer satisfaction, and so on. 

APS Solutions is well versed in the ins and outs of outage season and provides support to proactively plan and prepare for upcoming outage season projects and meet unexpected outage skilled labor staffing challenges throughout project life cycles. We provide skilled crafts and professional staffing for the most challenging manpower hurdles with power plant outages, and process plant turnarounds and have engaged our team to provide valuable manpower planning tips for a smooth and successful outage season.

How to Plan Your Manpower

Manpower planning is essential to ensure you have the manpower bandwidth to successfully execute your projects. But even the best laid plan is subject to change due to weather, customers’ shifting priorities, material delays, change orders, and plenty more.  

If that happens (let’s face it, when that happens), you will struggle and manpower shuffling inevitably happens. Suddenly, you must determine which of your craftspeople have this certification or that license, and then re-engineer your whole plan.

But what if you planned for the unplanned to happen? What if you could be proactive, so when the unexpected happens, you’re already way ahead of the issue? One of the most powerful ways to accomplish this is to assess your inventory of manpower constraints and assets. That is, make a list of people, positions, certifications, and peak demands to quickly reference when you need to make adjustments.

Proactive vs Reactive

We know, it sounds obvious. But why then don’t most companies take the time to seriously consider what their manpower constraints and assets are? In our experience, we’ve seen that some companies don’t always do this due to the rapid change and chaos during peak seasons. They’ve accepted being reactionary as their reality, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead of accepting you don’t have control, take your planning game to the next level. List and assess your constraints, your known assets, and include your expected peak needs. Just as importantly pay attention to all those seemingly “little things,” because when the unexpected expectedly happens, you’ll have been proactively planning for it! So, what does it mean to list your constraints, your known assets, and your expected peak needs?

First, List Your Constraints

When the unexpected inevitably happens, and you need to fill project rosters quickly with qualified, quality crafts, you need to have a plan to support those projects. To do that, you need to understand exactly what constraints you have in utilizing manpower for a particular project.  

Some job scopes have specific requirements, some jobsites have credential requirements, and many positions have specific certifications, qualifications, and licenses. You need to be able overcome all those constraints at peak manpower needs. Before you can overcome them, you need to list them out.

These constraints could be qualifications, like specific weld qualifications for particular positions, or even a particular metal. If you perform work at locations that require hair follicle drug tests, these could be identifying the number of craftspeople that need to be compliant. They could be positions that require certifications or licenses, like boiler operators, electricians, or Certified Weld Inspectors. Consider every license, qualification, and certification that each position may require at each site, and list them all out.

Next, List Your Known Assets

How many certified welders, licensed electricians, TWIC card holders, active DISA employees, etc. do you have on your full-time staff? How about regular temporary craftspeople? Do you utilize a staffing partner, or labor share with a similar company?  

Make sure to list all those known resources, along with their certifications and licenses that overcome the constraints you already listed out. Once you know what constraints you have and have identified known resources who meet those constraints, you can compare them to your projected peak demand and know where you stand.

Now, List Your Expected Peak Outage Skilled Labor Staffing Needs

By now, you have some resemblance of a schedule. You’ve probably already added your skilled labor staffing needs by craft each week to know what you’re likely going to need. Usually, there’s at least one project on your schedule that you’re worried about. That’s your intuition talking to you after years of reactive problem-solving. Listen to it!  

Imagine that project does what you fear most (other than disappearing, of course). Assume it’s running long over the next large project, and then write down your manpower needs for that scenario. Next, take that project and move it forward, so it lands on top of another particularly challenging project, and write those manpower needs down too.  

In essence, you’re creating a worst-case scenario that you can now plan for. As you put together your new manpower needs schedule, make sure to include all the constraints you listed out earlier.

Finally, Put It All Together

At this point, you have all the elements of a Manpower Constraint and Asset Inventory, we just need to put it all together. Pick a format that is intuitive to you. This could be anything from advanced scheduling software to a simple spreadsheet—you’ll know what works best for you.  

Put all the data together, that way you can readily see the projected supply and demand of each manpower asset and constraint. You’ll also have the most important data now: a worst-case scenario of what manpower you need to go find. Finally, you’re ready to stop the cycle of reactionary planning, and you can be proactive!

Meeting Your Manpower Demands

You have choices when it comes to fulfilling manpower needs. Utilizing social media, apprenticeships, partnerships with trade schools, staffing companies, incentives like more competitive pay and benefits, labor share with similar companies, and, of course, internally driven recruiting and retention programs.  

APS Solutions collects and catalogs certifications and qualifications, which gives us the powerful ability to quickly respond with qualified, skilled craftspeople, whether it’s on a Refinery, Surface Mine, Nuclear, Power Plant or other facility that requires specific certifications, qualifications, or licenses.  

By leveraging the same strategic framework we create a comprehensive inventory of our manpower assets and constraints, and proactively address industry challenges and deliver innovative solutions. Our schedule includes all of our partners—and all of their projects—so we know where we need to put our efforts. Our strategic and collaborative approach empowers APS Solutions and partners to achieve peak performance during outage seasons. If you find that you have potential outage skilled labor staffing needs for your upcoming projects, reach out to APS Solutions and we’ll collaborate to build our plans together.

Get Started With APS Solutions

APS Solutions’ isn’t just a team of staffing experts – we’ve worked in the industry facing the same project challenges, tight deadlines, and unexpected hurdles you navigate daily. Decades of experience and a vast network of industry professionals have equipped us with unmatched speed, agility, and resourcefulness to tackle your toughest project challenges.

That’s the APS difference. We bring grit and a “can-do” attitude to Industrial Staffing. We’ve developed streamlined processes to ensure we’re always ready to support your projects, even during the most hectic seasons.

Ready to put our experience, expertise, and networks to work for you? Contact APS Solutions today to learn more about our proven processes and how we can help you conquer the unexpected, head-on.

Staffing Outage Positions

APS Solutions specializes in assembling a highly skilled and experienced team that perfectly aligns with all of your unique project needs. Our team of expert consultants, skilled craftsmen, and turnkey crews and supervision seamlessly integrate with your full-time staff, to allow for smooth projects from start to finish.

Outage Positions We Staff

  • AOV Technician
  • AOV Tester
  • MOV Technician 
  • I&C Technician 
  • I&E Technician
  • Valve Technician
  • QA/QC
  • Safety
  • Outage Supervisor and TA


Skilled Crafts
    • Superintendent 
    • Foreman
    • General Foreman
    • Apprentice Electrician
    • Journeyman Electrician
    • Combo Welder
    • Boiler Tube Welder
    • Structural Welder
    • Boilermaker
    • Pipefitter
    • Pipefitter Helper
    • Iron Worker/Rigger
    • Certified Rigger
    • Turbine Millwright
    • Millwright
    • Millwright Helper