Focus on Reliability

Partnerships in Planning and Scheduling


Recently, after our Planning and Scheduling Webinar, a question came up around the partnership between Operations and Maintenance in the Scheduling process. The observation from the enquirer was that even though the Planning process may be moving along nicely the partnership in the Scheduling process seems to lag behind. So, what can we do to accelerate the strong partnership between the groups?

I’ll state the obvious to start – this sort of situation occurs because we have control over the Planning process and so govern it’s speed and effectiveness whereas in the Scheduling process, no matter how well we manage our portion the process itself may remain ineffective because of the inclusion of something outside of our control. This is a common situation and so we must learn how to influence rather than control.

When we look at this situation it is clear that the culture at the organization not only allows this to happen but actually encourages it. If we consider

Culture = Leaders x measures x behaviors

then one of the places we need to look is ‘measures’ – what measures have the leaders set up so that they will get the results they want and more importantly what behaviors will they drive. In instances such as this it is typical that the connection between schedule compliance and production output has not been made – the operations may not truly understand the impact of cancelling jobs last minute, equipment not being available for PM or pulling trades people to deal with their ’priorities’. It is in the measures section that this connection needs to be made – the plant goal may be to ‘produce x number of widgets a month’ and this should cascade down to ‘run y hours at z speed’ for the operations team and ‘equipment availability of XX%’ for the maintenance team. Though it may seem obvious that they are connected, the deeper understanding around the number of hours wasted the increased likelihood of failure, the role of PM in mitigating or preventing failures, is not. In fact, if we look at the measures it seems that operations are responsible for the plant when it’s running but the minute it shuts down maintenance take responsibility.

So, one way to strengthen the partnership is through connecting the measures and educating the groups as to the impact of operating in silos – we could take the operating measure of ‘run y hours at z speed’ and make it an overarching goal and cascade down to ‘achieve YY% schedule compliance’ for both groups as they both play a part in this. Dropping down to measures around resource utilization, job plans, repeat failures etc can be given to the maintenance team whereas things like shut down and start up ramp or change - over time can apply to the operations group as they will each have the ultimate control over them.

We will talk about this in more detail in future newsletters but if you have any questions please get in touch.  Contact us now with questions. 

Topics: Maintenance Planning Scheduling