The value of work planning in maintenance

How the value of a well-established and trained planning organization should exceed the cost for a business.


Why have maintenance planners, a planning organization, and a planning structure that drives proactive maintenance if it doesn’t produce noticeable value? The value of a well-established and trained planning organization should exceed their cost for the business. More maintenance work is accomplished in less time using the same resources than if the planning function did not exist. If the bottom line is not improved by having a planning function, it is usually the result of poorly defined roles and responsibilities, an absence of understanding of the planning role and its value, a lack of support from management, insufficient planner training, or having the wrong people in the planning role.

The way work is planned in an industry can vary widely. In some organizations it is a process driven by the culture of the facility. In others, it is a blend of culture and a formal system. In some companies, it is a strictly process-driven function. Some organizations do not feel the need to have a planning organization. Others have tried to implement planning, but they have not been successful for a variety of reasons and subsequently dissolved the planning organization.

Some organizations have maintenance planners in place and functioning within a planning model that is structured and controlled. In this environment, planners “plan their work and work their plan.” Their days are consumed with the fundamentals of producing planned “job packages,” and then working with maintenance and production to schedule the most appropriate date and time to implement those work packages. The planners in these organizations “own the backlog.” They keep the backlog clean through periodic scrubbing to eliminate duplicate work, work that has been accomplished and not reported as complete or work that is no longer desired to be done for one reason or another.

It is recommended that each facility undertake a critical examination of its planning organization, identify any shortfalls and take the steps necessary to realize the intrinsic value that sound maintenance planning can offer. A facility’s bottom line will be improved by this effort in the form of improved efficiency, better use of resources, and increased equipment availability and uptime.

Jim Davis, CMRP; Vice President of Business Development for Performance Consulting Associates

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