How do you approach maintenance planning and scheduling?

With so many maintenance types - predictive, preventive, reactive, corrective, and a host of other "-ives" - it can feel like a bit of a headache to plan everything out. I urge you to reconsider this idea because planning is the heart of maintenance. The good news is that there's a veritable bevy of tools and new technologies to make maintenance planning and work order scheduling easy.

Understanding metrics
Before a maintenance plan is even implemented, it's critical to understand metrics. Now, "metric" is a bit of a buzzword in maintenance, but its practical definition isn't scary: a metric is any category of data that helps you understand the health of your facility or organization.

One of the most basic metrics is profit, but there are so many different metrics to keep track of in a maintenance plan other than simply money in and money out. That's why it's important to gain an understanding of a facility's vital metrics prior to even starting a maintenance plan.

Some useful metrics to keep an eye on:

  • How much emergency/reactive maintenance is occurring vs. how much planned maintenance is occurring ( planned maintenance percentage)
  • Schedule compliance (hours completed vs. hours scheduled)
  • Undocumented expenses (trips to get parts, supplies that weren't originally accounted for)
  • Employee feedback on the amount and quality of work
  • Customer satisfaction

All of these are things that can be tracked, even if they aren't necessarily a quantifiable number, and they will help create a more cohesive maintenance plan in the end. Once a facility understands its most important metrics, maintenance work can be planned and scheduled from there.

For example, let's say a facility realizes that they aren't documenting the tools and materials needed sufficiently enough - this leads to problems repeating procedures with newer technicians, as well as accruing cost. From here, the facility can implement more rigorous documentation practice, as well as training for technicians. Understanding the metric leads to the creation of action.

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