Focus on Reliability

Jeff Shiver, CMRP

Recent Posts by Jeff Shiver, CMRP:

Digging For Gold

As an update, from time to time, I think that organizations have moved beyond the following story, only to find that not to be the case, especially in the medium-sized and smaller organizations ...

Sadly for some organizations, their maintenance and operations practices are not much different than the small bands of gold miners going for broke in the Alaskan wilderness as reflected on the television shows.  Operating on shoestring budget, they try to bootstrap their way along, experiencing increased losses from a run to failure mentality.  While run to failure can be a strategy for some equipment, it shouldn’t be for all of your assets, especially the critical ones.  Proactive organizations learned a long time ago that you can’t typically sustain your business with that approach.

Topics: Maintenance Management Training Maintenance and Reliability Reliability Centered Maintenance Maintenance training maintenance operations bestpractices

Top Signs That You're In Need of a Storeroom Assessment, and Quickly

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Topics: Maintenance Management Maintenance Planning Scheduling

The Best Learning Method for You


Seemingly overnight, the challenges for the maintenance function intensified.  Some organizations faced reduced sales and product demand, pushing the organizations to reduce budgetary spend. Meanwhile, others have pivoted with new products or increased production demand requirements.  In either case, the need to improve performance and maintain reduced costs remains a strong focus.

From my experience, there are no better tools than education and the use of a guide to coach people to implement a proactive maintenance organization focused on improving performance and reducing cost. The use of one should lead to the use of the second in tandem.

At People and Processes, Inc., we are pleased to provide effective solutions for both.  In the table below, you can see the advantages and disadvantages of different training approaches. Currently, we offer both the instructor-led classroom and virtual interactive training courses. We are also developing the on-demand eLearning training courses as well.

So, what is the best learning method for you?

Activity Instructor-Led Classroom Training Virtual Interactive Instructor-Led Training On-Demand eLearning

Instructor access to answer questions and facilitate the discussions for learning

Advantage of real-time immediate access and visual feedback

Advantage of real-time immediate access and feedback but cannot see faces of peers in large groups due to bandwidth limits.  Using our technology platform, attendees can interact in main areas and in breakout rooms. The instructor can interact in all areas.

Disadvantage due to time-differences and schedules due to on-demand nature. It may be hours before receiving answers or feedback.

Peer-to-peer networking and learning

Advantage due to sharing of physical space, visual cues, and group interactions.

Advantage due to break-out rooms and interactive tools enable one-on-one and group interactions.

Disadvantage as above and attendees are left to initiate the desired levels of interaction outside of course requirements.

Travel expense

Potential disadvantage if travel costs are incurred to an on-site location for attendees. Instructor travel is a potential cost.

Advantage as the training can be attended from any location using a laptop and high-speed internet.

Advantage as the training can be attended from any location using a laptop and high-speed internet.

Engagement of learner and transfer of knowledge

Advantage due to adult learning concepts, interactive exercises, and gamification

Advantage due to adult learning concepts, interactive exercises, and gamification. Potential disadvantage as not everyone learns well in this approach. Engagement can suffer with competing priorities and learner may focus on gaining minimal knowledge to complete the module assessments to advance through course.

Time commitment

Fixed amount including potential travel

Fixed - typically, less time is required over classroom training, especially without the travel considerations to an on-site location. Self-paced flexibility based on individual motivation.


Check out our upcoming Virtual Interactive Instructor-Led Courses Here

Press Release: People and Processes, Inc. Announces Launch of Live Virtual Interactive Instructor-Led Courses

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People and Processes, Inc. is announcing interactive live virtual interactive instructor-led classes for people working in maintenance and reliability across industry.

Many of our reliability training and service offerings have traditionally depended on travel to public venues or sharing physical space on the client sites.  With the newer digital landscape, we have been tirelessly working to create solutions that enable our clients to attend our courses from anywhere they have a digital connection. As our overseas clients have been asking for the same access for some time, we had planned to introduce these offerings later this year.  We are excited to announce that we have accelerated our efforts and pulled the course launches forward.

Two of the most popular classes, our Maintenance Planning and Scheduling course, is scheduled for April 28-30,2020 and our Maintenance Storerooms and Materials Management course is scheduled for May 7-9,2020.  For these course dates, we are offering a 45% reduction in the standard course fees to assist companies with their immediate training requirements. Additional courses will be added to the People and Processes, Inc. Institute website as the dates become available.

Our interactive live virtual instructor-led training combines the same course concepts developed by our industry-leading and certified practitioners found in our classroom training.  Leveraging our virtual instructor-led training enables the real-time benefits typical of classroom learning with our certified instructors combined into an interactive and engaging learning experience via your remote environment.

About People and Processes, Inc.
People and Processes, Inc. experienced practitioners provide consulting and training to improve industrial equipment maintenance and exceed your targets. The company works in all verticals to include facilities, manufacturing, mining, municipal government, universities, and water as examples. Our offerings include CMMS/EAM implementation, assessment and benchmarking, work execution management, storerooms, and RCM3. Our industry partnerships include The Aladon Network, The Reliability and Maintainability Center at the University of Tennessee (RMC-UTK) and we are a Tier 5 Approved Provider for the Society of Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP).

Contact Us

People and Processes, Inc.
Tammi Pickett, Marketing / Business Development
(843) 814-3795

An Important Update From People and Processes, Inc. in Response to COVID-19


First and most importantly, we hope that you and your loved ones are and continue to be healthy and safe. The world focus is on COVID-19 and its potential impact on all of us and the economy. Our focus is on the continued well being of our people, our clients, and our communities.

We take pride in the services that we provide to our many clients domestically and across the globe. To that end, we want to clearly state that People and Processes, Inc. is healthy and open for business. Our commitment to delivering high quality, value for money education and consulting services remains unchanged, regardless of what takes place over the coming months.

Our people have always worked from remote offices when not at client sites and leveraged cloud-based technologies to make that successful. As a company, we work remotely with our clients as well. For us, it’s business as usual. We are fully equipped to deliver remote consulting, coaching and mentoring, and training via our cloud-based technologies. Using the techniques, we can work remotely in our client’s operations for extended periods with minimal effect on the delivery of our services. We can share documents, access systems, collaborate on improvements, and leverage virtual training and coaching sessions.

To slow the spread of the virus and to help keep our people safe, we have taken the following actions:

  • We have restricted travel, with our people working from home-based office spaces.
  • In the short term, we have either converted our publicly scheduled courses to a virtual training format or postponed the events to a later date.
  • For onsite implementation activities, we are working diligently with our clients to deliver the short-term activities remotely with the same level of commitment and value add.

Also, we sincerely appreciate all the individuals working tirelessly in healthcare, groceries, and other related necessity support services. Many are working very long hours and in difficult conditions due to the rapidly changing dynamics.

We much appreciate and welcome your continued support. We agree that public health and safety are paramount. That said, we are also aware of the tremendous economic impact that we will all face. People and Processes, Inc. is committed to continuing support for our clients with due care and caution. Together, we can preserve our health and our businesses.

Please contact us at (843) 814-3795 to discuss maintenance and reliability training and support and to schedule in-person activities in the coming months.

Please stay safe and well during this challenging time.  If there is anything that we can help you with, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The People and Processes Team
(843) 814-3795

The Maintenance Job Plan Outline


If you are like many Maintenance Planners that I have the opportunity to interface with, most aren’t doing much using the job plan concept. The intent of the job plan is to better enable the craftspeople to execute their job with the materials, tools, and information in hand. Ideally, you really want a template to facilitate the development of these job plans.

What should some of the headers be for a job plan template? Here’s an outline that you may want to start with.

  • Asset number
  • Asset name
  • Crafts required
  • Estimated hours per craft
  • Total job duration (to be able to tell our Operations partners how long we need the equipment)
  • Safety considerations
  • Tasks and sequence
  • Materials and Parts (Stock or purchased)
  • Consumables (i.e. shop towels, penetrating lubricant spray)
  • Tools and equipment (i.e. 2” impact socket, grease gun, 40’ man-lift)
  • Housekeeping and/ or disposal
  • Revision history

Most of these outline items can be used regardless of whether it’s a PM or Corrective Action job plan. Is there anything else you would add?

Download your job plan outline here.

Looking for training?
Attended training but still struggling to get your planning and scheduling program off the ground?
Check out our Virtual Planner / Scheduler Development and Coaching Program

As the Wheel Turns

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Another recent question around Maintenance Planning and Scheduling is how the process is integral to Maintenance and Reliability?  Can we get by without it?   Can’t I just let the Supervisor do it?  What is the minimum number of people a Planner Scheduler should plan for?

Consider the motions a technician goes through without Planning.  They receive the work order, walk over to the job site, and look over the tasks to execute the job.  If they don’t have the information to determine the parts required or how to disassemble/ assemble, they go off searching for the equipment manual.  Once they find the manual, they head over to the Storeroom to get the parts, assuming those are in stock. Finally, they head back over to the job, only to discover they need a tool they don’t have.  The cycle repeats over and over with the same job.   Reality is that they plan a little, shag parts and information, do a little execution, and then, do it all over again until the job is finally finished.  The next time the job is required (50% chance in 5 years time to repeat the same job), we didn’t capture the steps from the last time, so the Tech does it all over again.  Repeat these cycles for every Tech that you have executing work.

Contrast these cycles with a properly planned job. In the properly planned job, you spend more time on the front end assessing and preparing for the job before you send your most expensive hourly resources to do the work.  The Planner Scheduler’s primary role is to drive improved craft efficiency.  No, we’re not asking people to work harder, only smarter.  Studies have shown that for every $1 you spend on planning the job saves $3-$5 in execution.  With most organizations seeing a wrench time of approximately 35%, it’s not uncommon to see upwards of a 50% or greater improvement in efficiency.  If you have 30 Technicians, you could gain the equivalent of an additional 17 Technicians by simply eliminating the wasted efforts in hunting information, chasing parts, and waiting on the equipment to become available as examples. 

Maintenance Planning and Scheduling is central to breaking that vicious reactive cycle.  Every function surrounding equipment maintenance revolves around Planning and Scheduling like spokes leaving the central hub on a wheel.  These spokes include Supervision, Materials Management, Procurement, Production, Quality, PM activities, and Project Engineering as examples.

The Maintenance Planner Scheduler should have a strategic focus on next week and beyond.  The Supervisor is tactical, dealing with “today” and this week.  If you ask a Supervisor to handle planning, when the emergencies come today or this week; the first thing thrown out the window is planning for the future.  The span of control for a Planner Scheduler is 15-30 people to plan for.  Some companies have identified a savings for having a Planner Scheduler for as few as 4-5 people.  Most organizations tend to enlist the Planner Scheduler function when they have 9-10 Technicians to plan for.  If you don’t have a Planner Scheduler, you would be surprised at the gains you can achieve by simply taking 1 of the 10 and making them a Planner Scheduler.

Need help developing a plan?  Join us at a Maintenance Planning and Scheduling public session or bring it onsite.

Planning for Failure Checklist

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If you want to ensure equipment reliability at the lowest possible cost, you have to plan for it. With any asset, you need to address the following questions:

Filling Up the Glass

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I wonder how many don’t have Planner Schedulers? Even a better question is if the Planner exists, whether they are actually planning and scheduling or simply being project managers or shagging parts for today’s work?

If you have Planner Schedulers who are doing the intended job, then I don’t need to tell you about the benefits. If you don’t have them, and you have more than 10 or so wrench turners, then you really need to understand the benefits of Maintenance Planning and Scheduling can bring to your organization. Send me an email and I’ll help you learn why you need to invest in this position.

If you have Planner Schedulers that are new to the role, you need to get them educated. While we offer great training in this and other areas, there are lots of competent providers out there in addition to People and Processes. If your Planner Scheduler is not new to the role and has not been educated, there is no better time that now to do this to help recoup your investment. This is the first step in filling the glass halfway.

Now, on to the meat of this post … Once you have sent your Planner Schedulers off to training, recognize that is only half of the requirement to reap the benefits of Planning and Scheduling. In many cases, the Planner Scheduler returns to the site, all pumped up; ready to plan and schedule work. They begin the process only to have the Maintenance Supervisor who they report to pulling them off to chase some parts needed for today. Or they begin their day by attending the morning Production meeting where issues from the last 24 hours are discussed. While they wanted to plan and schedule work, the issues of the last day dictate dealing with those issues. Maintenance Planning and Scheduling work for the future is thrown out to deal with today (a tactical focus).

Remember the focus of the Planner Scheduler is strategic, focused on the future, meaning next week. To fill the glass to the top, you need to ensure education for the rest of the organization on the roles and responsibilities of the Planner Schedulers, and the Maintenance Supervisors or Team Leaders. Specifically focus on those individuals who interact with the Planning and Scheduling function to include Production/ Operations and other management. On a parallel path, couple this with coaching and mentoring for the Planner Schedulers where a knowledgeable consultant comes and “walks a mile in their moccasins” to identify obstacles that are preventing effective Planning and Scheduling. The consultant will help ensure the Planner Schedulers are performing in the role, such as doing job research, creating job plans with estimates, crafts required, and materials needed as a minimum, and scheduling the work. In addition, the consultant will identify the obstacles in the business processes around work management and interactions. As a manager, your job is to remove those obstacles and rework the processes to gain the benefits. Only then will you have filled the glass with respect to true Maintenance Planning and Scheduling.

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Destination: Where?


Where do you want to go today? Along those lines, I was recently headed to the airport to fly off to a client site on the west coast where I was to provide Planner coaching services. On the interstate, I passed a tractor-trailer rig headed south. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught some lettering across the rear of the sleeper section of the cab which read “Destination: Excellence “. What a neat concept!

This was not a huge corporation providing a vision. This was an owner-operator (at most a 2 person driving team) that had enough foresight to challenge themselves and proudly display their personal vision to improve their business. How many of you have personal goals like this?

When I step into many organizations, there is no road-map. Every day brings a new destination, from being led down the path of reactive chaos. Change can begin with you and within your span of control. Even small changes build toward the greater good.

Separately, I was in another site a week later. The manager asked me to help them develop a document detailing what the end state or vision should look like for that particular organization regarding their implementation of the Best Practices. He was basically asking, “What is the destination?” so that he could sell the organization on the end game. What is yours? What is your organization’s regarding the Best Practices for Maintenance, Operations, or Reliability?

Once you understand where you want to go, the end game; then you must determine the gaps that are preventing you from getting there. In our world, you might recognize that as an assessment and gap analysis. Many groups already have done this. If you haven’t and need help, send me an email. However recognize the real answer is having a Plan of Improvement or strategic road-map to help you reach the destination mile by mile, month by month. This is where most consulting and corporate reliability groups let you down when you perform an assessment and gap analysis. You already know many gaps or distances to cover yourself. What you don’t know is how to get to the destination. That’s where a strategic road-map comes into play. I see tons of groups with assessments and NO plan.

So, I’ll ask you again. What is your destination? How are you getting there? Where is your plan?


Need help developing a plan?  Join us at a Maintenance and Reliability for Managers: 4-Part Series public session or bring it onsite.