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April 5, 2013 -
Maintenance & Operations
The first key component for maintenance work-order scheduling is the desire to improve and the understanding that such scheduling is important to a successful maintenance department. Once you understand its importance, you can begin to look into the details for strategies to make it happen
All organizations should have a written work schedule. Planners should complete this schedule each week with discipline and never sacrifice it for events that might seem more important. The weekly schedule-planning meeting, which is held toward the end of the week, is icing on the work-schedule cake because the schedule already is complete. Managers should devote meeting time to reviewing the schedule, ensuring crews are on board, and discussing the coordination of efforts and needs.
When this meeting finishes, the department has a finalized work schedule. Managers can measure performance against it, not against a modified schedule created later that week. Remember, the goal is to be as accurate as possible as early as possible so we can plan and coordinate with customers and other involved parties, including contractors.
The second critical — and some would say most important — strategy is to have a competent planning function. The most important reason work scheduling succeeds is that all work that ends up on the weekly work schedule has a complete, detailed work plan.
The third critical strategy to successful work-order scheduling is to never overschedule your maintenance team. Too many organizations believe if they overschedule technicians, they will get more done each week. The truth is completely the opposite. When you continually overschedule, customers think nothing is a high priority for the department. Nothing is more important than anything else, so workers just plod along, moving on to whatever they believe is the next most important assignment.
The key to determining the appropriate level of scheduling is to take total available hours, subtract the normal amount of reactive work, and subtract the normal lost hours, such as personal time, vacation, and meetings. Planners then should schedule 95-100 percent of the remaining available hours.