In the world of Maintenance Planning and Scheduling, if all work was completed as scheduled, we’d never have to deal with roll over work.
But that’s wishful thinking. Fact is, work isn’t always completed as scheduled. That’s just how it is.
For our Texas-based client, a global provider of chemicals and petroleum, having a quick and easy way to see exactly what work wasn’t completed on a scheduled day was crucial to their Scheduling process.
For many organizations, scheduling work a week out is their sweet spot. And while this method works for many, scheduling at a more granular level can have its advantages.
This client uses AKWIRE (now part of Prometheus Planning & Scheduling) to schedule the maintenance work for internal resources and contractors to the day and sometimes down to the hour. They assign their Work Orders (WOs) to the Craft level, before Supervisors manage the execution of the work. Their Planning and Scheduling is detailed enough that they need to get it down hour by hour to synchronize their various Crafts, maximizing efficiency and wrench time. Their job plans are detailed enough that they can sequence the steps down to the hour. (Talk about having high quality job plans!)
But even organizations with the highest schedule compliance have to contend with the inevitable work that is not completed as scheduled. It may not be finished on the day it is scheduled; heck, it may not even get started on its scheduled day. And therein lies the question: how could our client excel at managing the work that needs to roll over into the next available shift?
Of course, the Schedulers and Supervisors at this organization are no strangers to the strategic decision-making required to optimally re-schedule work. The heart of the issue was being able to do that faster and more efficiently, with better visibility and streamlined functions to keep this part of the scheduling process short.
At the start of the project, we worked with their team to outline specific needs and requirements. They wanted an efficient way to keep their daily schedules fresh and accurate, but they had no simple way to do this while staying with their out-of-the-box Maximo implementation.
What they needed was a fast and easy way for say, an Electrical Supervisor to take one look at today’s schedule, and, knowing that there are still five hours left on a job, create additional work for tomorrow lickety-split.
Now, other Planning and Scheduling software providers out there might say, “Well, this is how our tools work. If that doesn’t work for you, take it or leave it.”
But that has never been a line in our repertoire.
Because this client had such a strong understanding of their processes and their needs at the beginning of the project, it didn’t take long for our team to come up with an action plan that would adapt AKWIRE to meet their requirements. As one of our leading solutions experts, Elliot Bonilla, always says:
AKWIRE is less like a train on its tracks and more like a dirt bike: ready to go off-roading.
Because of its architecture, nothing was off-limits.
In less than a week, the development team was able to build the client a custom remaining work plug-in for their AKWIRE instance and get it up and running.
What’s particularly effective about the plug-in is that it integrates seamlessly with the Supervisor’s existing process. The Supervisors use AKWIRE to see their scheduled Works Orders. The plug-in enables them to quickly complete or add additional work at light-speed.
To make sure each person is only looking at the data they need (and not bogged down by the data they don’t need), the client has a specific schedule for each Scheduler and Supervisor. The Supervisors’ schedules are focused on their particular Crafts. The Schedulers are dealing with large amounts of data – often in the range of 4,000-6,000+ WOs, which is why they particularly enjoy that AKWIRE can load all that data from Maximo ultra-fast.
The plug-in saves time by instantly updating the status of the WOs as the Supervisors input data. If they know the work is complete, they simply put a zero in the Remaining Duration column – because there are zero hours of work left to be done. This automatically changes the Status to “Complete”.
For any work that isn’t complete, the Supervisors can input the number of hours left. By typing in that number, the status is set to “In Progress” and, when it is published back to Maximo, a new assignment is made.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “if all that rollover work gets scheduled for the next shift, what happens?” To work with the client’s process, the Schedulers make the strategic decisions around overtime, rescheduling, re-leveling the schedule, and delaying work. The difference is, they can get to that strategic decision-making faster, because nobody is wasting time trying to track down what work isn’t complete or manually creating dozens of new WOs.
Ask anyone who has used any software and they’ll tell you it’s not often that the software developer can make changes to their product in less than a week to suit your exact needs. For many big-name software developers out there, that kind of timeline isn’t an option. But the Prometheus Group team was able to make it happen not only because AKWIRE is so configurable and agile, but also because the client came into the project exceedingly well-prepared with a strong understanding of their processes, requirements, and ideal outcomes.
That’s the thing about purpose-built Planning and Scheduling solutions. In an industry as varied as Enterprise Maintenance Planning and Scheduling, the best software has to be flexible. Because the needs of one Planning and Scheduling team will be completely different than another’s.
And I’m not just talking about the front end; the configurability, the UI Roles, etc. I’m talking about from the ground up, from the foundational technical architecture of the solution. When it’s been built from Day One to be flexible, it’s easy to delight your users because getting them what they want isn’t some far-off possibility. It isn’t “down the road” or “in the next release”. It’s possible. Like, right now.