6 Maintenance Scheduling Principles to Improve Overall Workforce Efficiency

If you could increase the amount of time your company’s resources, engineers, and technicians are actually working and eliminate your backlog of work orders while also reducing the amount of waste — wasted time, wasted materials, wasted labor, wasted money — within your organization, you’d do it, right?

Maintenance planning, as I mentioned in my previous article, can help your organization make the move from reactive to proactive, from wasteful to efficient, from failing to succeeding. But work planning is only the first step. Without a fully developed and implemented maintenance scheduling program, your organization can only improve so much.

Work scheduling is the process in which all required maintenance-related resources are scheduled to be used within a specific time. To ensure proper maintenance scheduling, you must account for the technician's knowledge as well as the availability of materials, tools, equipment and assets.

There are six principles that can dramatically improve your maintenance scheduling. By implementing these principles, it is possible to increase your company’s productivity, regain control of your backlog, eliminate guesswork, and quickly adjust to unexpected situations and specific needs.

Let’s take a deeper look at each of the six maintenance scheduling principles.

1. Plan for the lowest required skill level.

2. Prioritize daily and weekly schedules.

3. Schedule based on the forecasted hours available for the highest skill level.

4. Assign work for every work hour available.

5. Develop the daily schedule one day in advance.

6. Measure performance with schedule compliance.

The entire planning and scheduling program should include work identification, work planning, work scheduling, work execution, work completion and work analysis. When you have both asset reliability and maintenance reliability, you’ll see an increase in both effectiveness and efficiency.

To support your team in implementing the proper scheduling principles, you’ll need to make sure all your processes are documented. Additionally, everyone within your organization should have a clear understanding of the definition of a planned job.

Improve your overall performance metrics

When you follow the six maintenance planning principles and the above six maintenance scheduling principles, you can increase wrench-on time from 35 percent to 65 percent. That means a technician working an eight-hour day will go from completing less than three hours of actual work to completing more than five hours of actual work.

Instead of running a reactive company where you only fix something after it fails, you’ll be running a maintenance center of excellence where everyone from the technicians to the supervisor shares a vision; supply, operations and engineering are integrated; system performance is constantly improving; and organizational metrics are aligned.

So the next time one of your maintenance team technician's call in sick, instead of wasting time figuring out whether you’ll have enough resources to perform the work needed to keep your operations running smoothly, with efficient planning and scheduling, you can quickly and easily reassign tasks based on availability, reschedule work that can be done later without impacting operations, better manage your work order backlog, and track schedule compliance.

Let my white paper on the best practices of maintenance planning and scheduling show you the way.

Author: Matt Midas

Matt has been involved in the maintenance and reliability industry for over 30 years. A graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy, he has served aboard US flag merchant vessels and upon graduation, he was commissioned in the US Navy and served aboard the USS Jesse L Brown, FF1089, where he was responsible for operations, maintenance, engineering, and safety programs.

Matt has worked at the Charleston Naval Shipyard where he was qualified as a nuclear engineer in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of S5W and S6G nuclear propulsion plants. He has also worked as a plant operations and maintenance manager where he was responsible for 186 facilities in Washington DC.

Matt has helped many customers leverage the data in EAM Systems to support the safe and reliable operations of their critical physical assets. He has also earned an MBA from Loyola College in Maryland.

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