Author: Richard Almendarez
CATEGORY: Planning & Scheduling
September 18, 2019

Is Your Team Reverting to Excel Instead of Their Current Scheduling Solution for IBM Maximo?

Author: Richard Almendarez
CATEGORY: Planning & Scheduling
September 18, 2019

Is Your Team Reverting to Excel Instead of Their Current Scheduling Solution for IBM Maximo?

What do you do when your current Planning and Scheduling solution lets you down? For a lot of folks, it’s go back to their "old school" ways. You know what I’m talking about: Excel.

I’ve seen it across every industry, from Oil & Gas to Facilities Management to Utilities. When they have no Planning and Scheduling software or when the one they use lacks critical functionalities, Planners and Schedulers resort to the slow, manual, and inefficient process of scheduling in Excel.  

It’s a recipe for wasted time and dollars, plus a migraine, if you ask me.

What you really need is the right tool – one that simplifies Maximo but can do a heck of a lot more than Excel.

And when you do need to export to Excel, you need that tool to do it painlessly. Because this is 2018 and you don’t have any time for more Maximo queries, macros, and hours upon hours of copying and pasting.

What are you using Excel for?

A lot of Enterprise Maintenance Planning and Scheduling teams use Excel for either all or part of their Planning and Scheduling activities.

Does this sound like you?

  • “We do all our Planning and Scheduling in Excel and it takes forever.”
  • “I use Excel to get the schedule out to our staff and technicians.”
  • “We invested in some Planning and Scheduling tools, but none of them do what we need them to, so we’re going back to Excel.”

I also hear time and again, of Planners and Schedulers using Excel to maintain resource availability. Specifically, I get a lot of:

  • “I can’t get a holistic view of my resource availability or entire workforce in Maximo, so I maintain it in Excel.”
  • “I use Excel to list all the shifts workers are on for the coming months or year, for example, two weeks of day shift, two weeks of evening shift, two weeks of night shift, then back to days.”
  • “I can’t move resources onto different crews or shifts for a specified duration in Maximo, so I have to do it in Excel.”
  • “I use Excel to keep track of resource exceptions, like vacations, training, appointments, etc.”

Yes, Excel is comfortable and familiar, but it’s not a viable workaround because it demands too much manual work that quickly becomes inaccurate.

Common problems with spreadsheet workarounds

No matter how you’re using Excel, I can all but guarantee you’re facing these two big challenges:

  1. It’s time consuming as all hell.
  2. It becomes inaccurate in a flash.

Let’s dig into these two issues.

First, scheduling in Excel is slow. It’s a spreadsheet software, not a Planning and Scheduling tool, so it simply doesn’t have the handy one-click features, auto-scheduling, and intuitive formatting and color-coding designed for the real-world work maintenance Planners and Schedulers do on a daily basis. The Planning and Scheduling team will inevitably spend a lot of time exporting from Maximo to Excel and manually copying and pasting the missing values.

Second, all the hard work is practically worthless, because Excel doesn’t write back to Maximo. So, from the moment of export, your data is getting stale. Break in work orders are going to happen. People are going to call in sick. Work is going to get completed. One colleague is going to edit the spreadsheet on their computer, while you’re editing it on yours. And every time something like that happens, the spreadsheet you so painstakingly put together immediately becomes inaccurate.

The result is that it’s nearly impossible to maintain your resource availability. Every time a Work Order is added, edited, or rescheduled, your Excel sheet becomes out of date. And without accurate resource availability, you can’t build an optimal schedule.

Excel isn’t the right tool for Planning and Scheduling, and it’s not an effective crutch for what you can’t do in Maximo.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could do everything you need to do in one application?

Find your happy place and do it all in Prometheus Routine Maintenance

The good news is, you’re not stuck between a rock and a hard place. There are powerful Planning and Scheduling solutions that have been designed for Planners and Schedulers, by Planners and Schedulers, and they make it easy and fast to build schedules, assign work orders, and manage resources – oh, and they export to Excel in a snap.

Using Prometheus, you can:

  • Enjoy an easy-to-navigate Excel-like interface.
  • Build schedules, assign work orders, manage resource exceptions and get a 360-degree view of your workforce in one application.
  • Stop worrying about inaccuracies, because Prometheus syncs with IBM Maximo natively.
  • Export to Excel quickly and easily.
  • Choose precisely the data you want to export and none of what you don’t.
  • Preserve all formatting, groupings, color-coding, etc. in your export.

Exporting to Excel: watch the video

Many of our client who switch to Prometheus find they no longer need Excel. And those who do want to keep using Excel can export in less time, and with better results.

Note: The video below was originally made for AKWIRE which is now Prometheus Routine Maintenance. The same functionality is available in Routine Maintenance.

So, there you have it. In today’s competitive markets, no business has time or money to waste on slow processes, workarounds, or technology that’s a poor fit. With the right tools, you can reduce your time to create a schedule by 50% or more, and you can export to Excel in a flash. Stop worrying about inaccurate spreadsheets. Stop copying and pasting. Stop using the wrong tools and get the right tools – so that you can sustainably and continuously improve your Planning and Scheduling processes and spend more time on other priorities.

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