Maintenance Planning & Scheduling

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To achieve world class performance, organizations must plan, schedule and track maintenance activities. In the maintenance world, planning and scheduling are two different functions that work together to create a maintenance program. Planning is the the process of planning, while scheduling is the process of reconfiguring workloads in a production/manufacturing process. Scheduling is used to allocate plant and machinery resources, plan human resources, plan production processes, and purchase materials.

Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) offer the tools to plan and schedule maintenance, measure what you treasure, and act on the results. However, a successful implementation process is critical to leverage the full power of a maintenance management system. There are three main elements that are associated with a CMMS implementation journey:
1. Continuous Improvement
2. CMMS building blocks: assets, PMs, contacts, parts, work orders, and schedules
3. Asset Reliability Strategies or best practices such as ISO 55000, ISO 14224, KPIs, MRO, TPM, and RCM

Having the Right CMMS Implementation Team

Establishing an implementation team helps facilitate success prior to implementing any software. The team is selected from a cross-functional array of internal team members. Members may come from a variety of departments including maintenance, IT, materials management and more.

A critical role to fill is the planner/scheduler. This role manages a backlog of work and efficiently manages resources in alignment with projects that need to be completed. The Maintenance planner/scheduler also develops practical and innovative ways to identify and meet goals.

In a day in the life of a maintenance technician without a properly implemented CMMS, what is happening and where is the time going?

  • 22% hunting parts
  • 21% wrench time
  • 15% waiting on associates
  • 13% looking for tools
  • 12% waiting on equipment
  • 5% waiting on permits
  • 3% waiting on supervision

Maintenance Planning & Scheduling

“World class” manufacturing statistics, best practices and concepts set the standard for global organizations. The concept was first introduced in the automobile and steel industries, pioneered by Japanese manufacturing organizations. Organizations who strive to adopt “world class” manufacturing often experience higher productivity, lower costs and higher quality output.

In a recent poll, 32% of respondents explained that they perform planning and scheduling activities, but their processes are not formalized, and 22% said that their maintenance is performed reactively. By developing standardized processes and avoiding reactive maintenance, wrench time that is currently 20-35% direct work (not hunting for parts, information, or waiting for equipment to become available) becomes “world class” with 55% direct work, and a 57% improvement. So, the work of 20 technicians can yield the “world class” equivalent of 47 technicians with a 57% improvement.

Maintenance Planning Principle

Planning Principle #1

It is very important that the role of the planner/scheduler is identified to be independent of the other activities going on within a plant or facility. Take the planners off the tools and behind a desk in terms of the administration of the work to be done. Responsibilities of the planner/scheduler should include:

  • Planning emergency work
  • Acting as a relief supervisor
  • Becoming a material expeditor
  • Working on tools
  • Performing time-consuming clerical activities
  • Becoming a “go-fer” for maintenance / operations supervisor

Planning Principle #2

A planner must focus on arranging current and future maintenance work, as well as allocating the appropriate resources, parts, finances, costs, and reliability information for each project. The planners must also emphasize constant improvement, and use the Deming model on continuous improvement for planning, doing, checking, and acting/adjusting schedules:

  • Problem
  • Goal
  • Point of cause
  • Root causes
  • Counter measures
  • Follow-up
  • Standardization

Planning Principle #3

When implementing different component levels within your CMMS, take advantage of International Standards such as ISO 14224 for best practice tips and ease of compliance. Component levels are “minifiles” on every piece of equipment. They include work order histories, equipment registry, parts registry and more.

Planning Principle #4

Once tasks are identified, an important principle of maintenance planning is to ensure all instructions are documented and standardized. The best planners have experience estimating time and comparing actuals of work done in bite size chunks in order to bring efficiencies into the next iteration of carrying out preventive maintenance.

Planning Principle #5

Sometimes it’s not best to reinvent the wheel for all pieces of equipment. Planners should take advantage of standard plans and enhance them. Plans will also take into account and recognize the skills of craft technicians.

Planning Principle #6

Take advantage of data from past work to properly estimate appropriate and accurate plans for the future. This will make wrench time more available and the more wrench time available, the more maintenance activity can be performed.

  • Measuring how much time craft technicians actually spend on the job site versus other activities determines the effectiveness of the maintenance planning program: (Obtaining parts or tools, etc.)
  • Delays are not simply part of a technician’s job and should be avoided
  • Sampling wrench time can be used to measure how effective planning can be
  • Use this as a metric to determine how effective your maintenance team is and look for ways to improve performance when gaps emerge

People Rules of Planning

  • Rule 1: The planning program is not trying to give away the plant’s work to contractors
  • Rule 2: Planners cannot do the perfect job
  • Rule 3: Planning is not designed to take the brains out of the technicians
  • Rule 4: The technician owns the job after the supervisor assigns it to them
  • Rule 5: Planners cannot make the perfect time estimate
  • Rule 6: Management cannot hold technicians accountable to time estimates for single jobs
  • Rule 7: Showing what is not correct is often as important as showing what is correct
  • Rule 8: Planners do not add value if they help jobs-in-progress
  • Rule 9: Everyone is an adult
  • Rule 10: Everyone should enjoy their work
  • Rule 11: Everyone should go home at the end of each day knowing if they have won or lost
  • Rule 12: Wrench time is not strictly under the control of the technicians
  • Rule 13: Schedule compliance is not strictly under the control of the new supervisors
  • Rule 14: It is better to train employees and lose them, than not to train them and keep them.

Maintenance Scheduling Principles

Scheduling Principle #1

To set realistic goals and schedules, the planner/scheduler must look at the appropriate resources for the work to be performed and an estimate of the hours and effort it will require. To manage this process and avoid roadblocks, try to plan to the lowest required skill level available and work upwards.

If you work the opposite way, organizations may end up in a situation where skills are available, but the sort of work available is not appropriate for the priority level skill element. As a best practice, at the beginning of a project, identify skills for:

  • # Persons
  • # Work hours
  • Duration of work

Scheduling Principle #2

TFor the most effective scheduling, identifying job priorities is important. The highest priority work (Priority 5) is the most urgent, and should be followed up on first. For example:

The ISO 14224 standard can help prioritize activities with the Failure-consequence Classification chart. It is useful in terms of setting up asset information, analyzing reliability information, putting P&ID or boundary drawings together, etc. It helps in terms of how to prioritize one work order over another.

Scheduling Principle #3

Scheduling from forecast of the highest skills available helps to increase productivity. If the work orders are generated 10 days in advance, then more details can be put into the scheduling, resources, availability of parts, and work to be done. Consider what jobs can be put together, what jobs can be grouped, what condition monitoring work is outstanding and can it be bundled, and any proactive work that can be done in advance.

Scheduling Principle #4

To help set up an organization’s maintenance team for success, scheduling work for every hour available is a good rule of thumb, and allows for organizations to achieve practical goals.

In March 2015 on Maintenance Planner / Schedulers group on LinkedIn, a member asked: “Normally scheduling is 100% of available resources. Due to several reasons assigned works are completed earlier than the planned time. In order to increase craft utilization (wrench time) should we increase the scheduling % of resources?”

An answer to this question comes from Doc Palmer, author of McGraw Hill Maintenance Planning and Scheduling Handbook: “The purpose of the schedule is to help us complete more work than we would normally do without the schedule. My experience is that crews that start out with a 100% loaded schedule complete more work orders than crews that start out with only 80% loaded schedules. The crews that start out with 100% loaded schedules do have lower schedule compliance. The schedule compliance score is a management indication of how much is in the way of the crews trying to complete expected work.”

Scheduling Principle #5

When it comes down to daily activities, the planner/scheduler should leave the granular detail of the planning and scheduling to a crew leader or technician supervisor. With proper training, these crew members can use a CMMS and take advantage of functionality to realign the resources based on their priorities for the day. This should be easy enough if the planning and scheduling is proactive, but knowing that potential emergencies and urgent activities might interrupt the day, there is still a chance that it can be done if 80-90% of the day is planned out.

Scheduling Principle #6

In order to keep employees engaged, begin measuring performance by analysis of scheduled success. This measure avoids supervisors feeling the calculation gives an unfair poorer-than-actual view of their performance, and offers the crew any benefit of any doubt.

Scheduling Principles Summary

  • Should be 80-90% scheduled Should be planned by experienced technicians Should be processed as a backlog, weekly schedule, then daily work Must be flexible enough to accommodate emergency work Should not be scheduled until ready

If your organization is failing to plan, then you’re planning to fail. Maintenance planning and scheduling is a systematic approach to optimize efficiencies while maximizing work performance, and the most critical element to ensuring proactive maintenance.

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