Now that the holidays are over and we are settling back into our normal routines, it’s time for reflection. I was flipping through articles from last year when I landed on Raymond L. Atkins clever article that was published in Maintenance Technology magazine entitled How To Begin Maintenance Planning.
The article relates Raymond’s experiences when his children were small and as Santa, he was charged with the assembly of the toys on Christmas Eve.
I can appreciate Raymond’s perspective even more now with grandchildren (geez, I’m getting older). How many of you got caught up on the night before Christmas putting together all of the children’s presents? Did it go as smoothly as it could have? Did you feel any time pressures and upper management (Mrs. Claus) pressure to get the job done before the children popped out of their rooms to see what Santa had brought? I don’t know about where you live but I can tell you that around my home, most every store that I could get parts or tools from shuts down early in the evening on Christmas Eve. This is long before I open the boxes at night to begin the assembly, only to find that parts are missing. So, if I don’t have the spare parts and tools in the garage, I’m done for when the morning comes which is always too quick anyway.
Sadly, many Maintenance organizations face a similar struggle and it doesn’t have to be that way. Start the New Year off with a effective planning and scheduling approach. If you don’t have a Maintenance Planner Scheduler, make an effort to staff one. Ideally, you should have one for every 20 – 30 technicians. Believe it or not, you can actually get a payback with one Maintenance Planner for every two technicians if your wrench time is low now. Management isn’t interested in headcount increases so you may have to take a technician and make them a Maintenance Planner out of your existing headcount. Ideally, the Maintenance Planner should be a craftsperson anyway.
Get more information on how to improve your maintenance planning and scheduling processes or learn how we guide you to success in the process here. There you will find our training courses, planner coaching, assessment, and more resources.
If you have the Planner position filled, that individual needs to be creating job plans that detail the crafts, estimated hours, and parts at a minimum to enable the technicians to work smarter. Don’t get wrapped around the axle trying to create the perfect job plan, just get it started and ask the technicians to provide input on the plan contents. How could it be better? What parts and materials are missing? You could even think of the task list as a punch list, so what do you need to check before you leave the job?