The cornerstones of effective maintenance management are maintenance planning and scheduling, which ensure that maintenance technicians are at the right place at the right time with the right tools. Effective maintenance planning and scheduling involve prioritizing and organizing work so that it is completed in the most efficient manner possible. The advantages of proper maintenance planning and scheduling include the following:

  • More efficient use of labor hours
  • Reduced equipment downtime
  • Lower spare parts holdings
  • Faster execution of jobs
  • Cost savings
  • Improved workflow
  • Reduced injuries and stress

Read the following dos and don’ts for maintenance planning and scheduling to help ensure success.

Dos of Planning and Scheduling:

Pick the right person to be a maintenance planner. A maintenance planner is one of the most critical members of your maintenance organization. Placing the right person in this position is crucial. Planners must win the trust of maintenance technicians in order to have their work plans carried out effectively. The person you hire should be a highly skilled, qualified, and experienced maintenance technician with sound knowledge of maintenance planning principles and practices.

Properly train the maintenance planner. Once you’ve selected the right person for the job, make sure that he or she is properly trained. Maintenance planners must know how to use computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS software) properly. They also need to be able to extract data from the software and generate reports.

Know the difference between planning and scheduling. Some maintenance planners don’t understand the difference between planning and scheduling. Planning consists of figuring out what you’re going to do, how you’re going to do it, and what parts and resources you’ll need to perform the work efficiently. Maintenance scheduling consists of determining when you’re going to do a job. It’s important for maintenance planners to plan out work prior to scheduling it.

Ensure that maintenance planners are only planners. Don’t assign multiple job responsibilities to a maintenance planner. If a maintenance planner is doing all of the things that a maintenance planner should be doing, he or she isn’t going to have time for other tasks.

Don’ts of Planning and Scheduling:

Provide poor instructions for maintenance jobs. Maintenance planners should provide detailed job instructions so that maintenance personnel can complete tasks without having to stop and search for additional information. Job instructions should include information like the estimated amount of time a job takes and the special tools and materials required. Instructions need to be simple enough for the least capable members of the maintenance crew to understand. A new maintenance technician should have the same chance of success when performing a job as a seasoned mechanic.

Fail to provide feedback regarding the work that was done. Once a maintenance job is complete, proper feedback should be documented regarding the work that was done. If maintenance technicians merely state, “complete” or “I fixed it”, it means that poor data is going into the maintenance management system and that you won’t be able to identify problems and opportunities for improvement. Comprehensive feedback from maintenance technicians enables maintenance planners to learn and prepare for future jobs.

Fail to make changes based on feedback from maintenance technicians. Maintenance planners are supposed to encourage maintenance technicians to provide feedback about preventive maintenance tasks in order to make them more effective in the future. It’s important that maintenance planners take maintenance technicians’ feedback into consideration and address their suggested changes, so maintenance technicians feel like their voices are being heard and continue to provide good feedback.

Ignore key performance indicators (KPIs). Measuring the effectiveness of maintenance planning and scheduling is critical for continual improvement. Monitor KPIs to identify opportunities for growth and guide your decision-making process. While there is no single metric that gives you an overall view of maintenance planning and scheduling, various key performance indicators can provide insight into the performance of your maintenance organization.

Follow these maintenance planning and scheduling tips to reduce costs, improve equipment reliability, and boost the efficiency and effectiveness of your maintenance operation. Proper maintenance planning and scheduling will make your organization more competitive in the global marketplace. If you’re looking for a software solution to help you achieve your maintenance planning and scheduling goals, contact DPSI or sign up for a free 30-day trial of our industry-leading maintenance management software.

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