Factory maintenance and scheduling can improve productivity and save time and money when done well. In the modern manufacturing world, many companies strive to achieve higher productivity at the lowest cost possible to stay competitive—maintenance planning and scheduling help achieve a beneficial maintenance program that addresses any potential preventive maintenance problems.

Maintenance experts at Kor Pak say that many pieces need alignment to successfully execute factory maintenance and scheduling. Scheduling and maintenance planning includes tasks related to:

  • Ordering non-stock parts.
  • Handing reserve parts.
  • Staging parts.
  • Managing breakdowns and vendor lists.
  • Quality control and assurance.

Let’s look at the best practices to help you achieve that.

Quantify maintenance backlog

You probably have a comprehensive list of all the preventive maintenance work yet to be completed. It may include overdue preventive maintenance tasks, safety inspections, corrective actions, etc. If the preventive maintenance tasks are valid but not yet done, you can expect failures and reactive states with equipment functionality. Therefore you should eliminate unnecessary tasks from the backlog and place labor costs on the remaining ones.

Determine your ability to accomplish maintenance work

Since your goal is to schedule more work, consider the available crew size for every week. Ideally, it is best to work with the maintenance planner to supervise the estimated open hours. Remember that things may change; for instance, people have family emergencies, so don’t assume you have the resource to schedule 100% of the open hours.

Focus on future work

You should focus on future work to give the maintenance teams enough time, at least one week, to handle backlogged work that is already planned. Apart from emergencies, the job supervisors and technicians should address any problems that come up and provide feedback. The feedback should feature changes in the workplan and difficulties encountered during the work. Focusing on future work helps you avoid being caught up in other tasks.

Identify windows for maintenance work.

Planners should look for and negotiate for maintenance work windows, which means working closely with production and operation teams. Many companies have a production gatekeeper to move things along and ensure that windows of work are not overlooked.

Establish a draft maintenance schedule

Now that you have the preventive maintenance tasks for each week, identified maintenance backlog, estimated work hours, and the production window, it’s time to establish the draft maintenance schedule. Ideally, it is best to get at least two weeks ahead.

Understanding available equipment windows can help you place work on these particular days or windows. Then email the draft to the necessary stakeholders, including managers. Ask the teams to come up with changes before the final draft to be integrated early.

Evaluate performance with schedule performance

Scheduling success is measured by compliance with the one-week schedule and its effectiveness. Planning maintenance work before assigning it eliminates unnecessary delays, while scheduling work eliminates delays between jobs. Most importantly, ensure you have a progression plan for continuous improvement.

Parting words

Ensure you have a good maintenance planner, properly train them on the difference between planning and scheduling, ensure jobs are clear and concise, and implement changes based on the feedback.