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How important is it to have a Maintenance Schedule? 

Gaurav Bali
Gaurav Bali

5th September 2022

Introduction

Maintenance is essential for running a top-notch facility, and a solid schedule is the foundation of a well-organized crew. Scheduled maintenance enables you to take control of your facility’s maintenance needs by choosing the ideal time, technician, and technique to complete maintenance chores. Your facility will be running at maximum organization and efficiency with an optimized facility maintenance programme. You can increase productivity, accuracy, and cost savings when you have a proper scheduled maintenance programme in place. However, how do you create the ideal schedule? All businesses aim for the highest level of quality while minimizing expenses, downtime, and potential issues. 

With the help of a maintenance schedule and maintenance planning, you can devise the best strategies to make that a reality. With the right maintenance planning, your business can go from being reactive to being proactive, from being wasteful to being efficient, and from underperforming to thriving. Planning your work, though, is just the beginning. Your firm can only advance so far without a fully established and implemented maintenance scheduling procedure. In this blog, we’ll briefly explore the significance of having a maintenance schedule for businesses. 

What is a Maintenance Schedule?

The process of ensuring that planned work is completed in the most efficient way is known as maintenance scheduling. To ensure that tasks are executed accurately and on time, it entails gathering all the required resources. There can be a misconception between maintenance scheduling and maintenance planning since both techniques involve some of the same phases and processes. The two techniques, however, are distinct. Planning addresses what must be accomplished and how, whereas scheduling addresses who must do it and when. 

According to the resources available, scheduled maintenance enables you to plan the maximum number of hours possible. They are often arranged according to priority, starting with the highest priority work orders. In order to reduce expenses and significantly speed up all processes, scheduled maintenance can be used to maximize internal labor and limit the need for external resources. Preventive maintenance tasks can be carried out as part of scheduled maintenance as necessary to reduce possible downtime even further and boost productivity.

Why does your company require a Proper Maintenance Schedule?

Any maintenance activity that follows a formal request, planning, and assignment process is considered scheduled maintenance. All maintenance should ideally be planned maintenance, which starts with a formal work order request for each operation. Maintenance managers must take into account a number of variables, including the urgency of the task, the specialists on hand and their specific skill sets, facility operation hours, and many other moving pieces, in order to schedule maintenance as effectively as feasible. 

Your team will work more effectively and finish more tasks if you take the time to optimize scheduled maintenance. The work order request process gets better for everyone involved when you schedule maintenance while taking into account the capabilities of your team and facility operating hours. Requesters have their service orders swiftly and accurately resolved, professionals get to work on projects they enjoy and are skilled at, and maintenance managers have less stress!

Workflow of Scheduled Maintenance

The workflow for planned maintenance is not too complicated. Preventive, routine, reactive, or predictive maintenance are some of the methods that can be used to initially prompt maintenance. The rest of the procedure, however, is the same once a stakeholder recognises the need for maintenance, and it all depends on finishing one easy step: submitting a work order request. A maintenance manager can evaluate the situation after the work order has been submitted, schedule a maintenance assignment, and designate a technician to conduct the service. 

Scheduled maintenance frequently takes place at regular intervals, like, for example, replacing an air filter every February and October or carrying out a quality inspection at the beginning of the year. A work order may also be completed using this type of maintenance. Once an issue is identified, a maintenance scheduler collaborates with a maintenance planner to find a solution. The time for performing the required repairs is then scheduled. 

Furthermore, scheduled maintenance controls not only the frequency of maintenance chores but also who should carry them out. The amount of time needed to accomplish the task is compared to the number of open work hours, which are taken into account while creating the timetable. Here, the availability of those who should carry out a specific duty is crucial. There is no assurance that necessary work will be finished on schedule without scheduling a specific time with maintenance staff and contractors. This obviously reduces adherence to the schedule.

Benefits of Maintenance Schedule

There are several operational areas that can benefit from scheduled maintenance’s high return on investment.  Furthermore, scheduled maintenance can help in eliminating equipment breakdowns and unexpected downtime, which can produce a financial ripple effect by increasing productivity and asset life expectancy. The lifespan of critical equipment can be extended by performing maintenance at sensible intervals. Multiple maintenance chores may be carried out concurrently by using a thorough planning strategy for planned maintenance. As a result, technician time is used more effectively, the impact on production is reduced, and spare part inventory management is handled more proactively. 

The advantages of scheduled maintenance can give structure to a process that could otherwise be chaotic and unpredictable. The focus shifts to strategically planning the resources needed to keep on-time maintenance completion once the proper intervals and requirements have been established based on risk prioritization. Also, scheduled maintenance can improve workplace safety because equipment malfunctions can be hazardous as well as disruptive. Adhering to a well-planned maintenance schedule will also lower liability and increase employee confidence in the safety of the workplace.

A Basic example/use case of Scheduled Maintenance

In business, an essential piece of equipment could be in constant use, which might cause stress and reduce maintenance window opportunities. For scheduled maintenance to successfully define and make use of these uncommon windows, it is necessary to have a thorough grasp of maintenance requirements, job time estimations, and appropriate interval setting. In order to prevent a decline in performance or unacceptably high levels of wear, this crucial machine could need lubrication and adjustment every three months. To create the most feasible and dependable maintenance plan, production schedules can be examined in conjunction with technician availability, spare parts availability, and set task durations.

Other applications of scheduled maintenance streamline efficiency by combining planned and unscheduled maintenance duties. For instance, if a thorough cleaning process for laser welding equipment is carried out every 90 days and is known to take somewhere between 50 and 75 minutes of technician time, it may be possible to combine this pre-scheduled maintenance with a one-time software upgrade that takes a similar amount of time to complete in order to make the most of technician experience and equipment downtime. Additionally, this proactive scheduling generates chances for cross-training and information transfer that improve the workforce’s value.

A Maintenance Schedule: How Crucial is it for Businesses?

Scheduled maintenance is a straightforward kind of preventive maintenance, and it is highly beneficial for the smooth running of business operations. It guarantees that equipment will continue to operate as intended, minimizing downtime and maintaining maximum value. Consistent maintenance regimens can extend asset lifespans by years, depending on the state of the asset and the manufacturer’s specifications. Additionally, minimally advised maintenance guidelines maintain the validity of asset warranties.

Regular maintenance will assist in maintaining an asset’s resale value, whether you plan to sell it off as salvage or buy a new one. Because of this, it is generally advisable to record time-based equipment and maintenance services. This type of maintenance is certainly a helpful tool for asset or equipment diagnostics. You may be expected to plan maintenance to make sure that assets operate as they ought to and to address any problems before a breakdown happens by your maintenance staff.

It can be extremely costly, both in terms of time and money, to delay diagnosing any potential malfunctions or operating problems with structures or machines. But for building or facility managers, following a planned maintenance schedule may be among their greatest business choices for the following reasons:

1. Predictability and Transparency

A facility or building manager’s main duties include facilitating effective communication, promptly attending to clients’ demands, and ensuring the efficient operation of their facilities. They are also in charge of budget optimization, coordinating with several suppliers and service providers, including technicians, plumbers, and delivery personnel. A regular and defined maintenance schedule can reduce some of their tasks while they balance a variety of difficult responsibilities. Their daily operations may become more transparent and predictable as a result, freeing them up to concentrate on providing top-notch customer service. A scheduled maintenance’s clarity and predictability are crucial, particularly during this period of uncertainty brought on by COVID-19. It can assist facility managers in having more control over all facets of their work, including the budgets, the behavior of their assets, and other uncertainties.

2. Increasing Building Safety

Even the most consumer-friendly and sophisticated equipment might pose safety risks if it isn’t properly maintained. However, following a regular maintenance schedule guarantees that all machinery and equipment will run without any risks to those using them. Additionally, professionals can determine if the facility is vulnerable to threats like fires or theft during planned repairs. In light of these serious threats, even small fixes and modifications can protect people and property.

3. Optimizing the Workflow

A technical issue in a structure or a facility could quickly halt the work and disrupt any current plans and procedures. Building managers or executives may need to make alterations to their business plans due to the unpredictability of the damage or the timetable for repairs. There is little doubt that this disruption might cost a lot of money, effort, and perhaps reputation. A planned maintenance schedule, however, avoids unpleasant shocks brought on by technical failure. It maintains optimal workflow and aids in people’s and businesses’ continued productivity.

4. Increasing the longevity of equipment

In the health research and medical sciences, there is absolute evidence that early diagnosis helps patients live longer and more comfortably. The same holds true for machinery, structures, and electronics. It’s simpler to treat an issue and stop it from getting worse if a technician can spot the first signs of it before it gets worse. So, a planned maintenance programme can lengthen equipment life, which has several advantages for enterprises.

5. Environmentally Responsible

Longer-lasting equipment not only saves money and effort, but is also better for the environment. There will be less hazardous electronic trash building up in landfills once businesses are not required to update or replace equipment frequently. A routine maintenance schedule is also a great way to conserve resources. Plumbers and electricians, for example, can assess whether there may be water leaks or excessive energy use. They can then advise buildings or facility managers on how to deal with issues.

How to Make an Effective Scheduled Maintenance Plan

Prior to implementing a planned maintenance plan, all assets should be carefully examined to determine their relative importance to the company and any anticipated periodic repair needs. During the process of creating a new planned maintenance plan, it is also a good idea to question any preconceived intervals or activities that may have been used arbitrarily or without enough information. Another aspect that will help define precise risk levels and maintenance intervals is the current worth of every asset in replacement dollars. 

Once the general maintenance requirements have been established, the jobs can be arranged into logical groups and sequences that will eventually feed into the development of procedures and work orders. The skill sets required for each possible work order should be taken into account while classifying and categorizing these maintenance jobs. Tasks can then be grouped according to complexity, as well as a gap analysis can be done between the number of hours needed to complete each level of skill and the technician pool’s present capacity. If the necessary resources are not available, a scheduled maintenance plan will never be able to achieve its on-time performance objectives. The impact of unforeseen maintenance should also be taken into account while capacity planning to ensure that enough time is allocated to support the maintenance plan.

The scheduled maintenance plan can start immediately once the necessary conditions, resources, and spare components have been created. The master schedule, which details the dates, hours, and roles for every scheduled maintenance activity during the specified time period, serves as the plan’s focal point. The plan should closely coincide with production scheduling to ensure that any effects on equipment uptime have been taken into account. Furthermore, the planned maintenance programme should include a feedback loop that considers actual completion times, spare parts usage, and other shop floor data for subsequent schedule optimization and resource allocation. Software for maintenance scheduling can be used to evaluate and incorporate this feedback into an ongoing process improvement.

Step-by-Step Process for Businesses to Implement Maintenance Schedule

Create a basic plan for all available work hours to begin with. Include previous notes from previous technicians who’ve already worked on the equipment in your job plans, if you have any. If there are any remarks on current procedures, you can also mention those. The six steps to creating an effective maintenance programme are listed below.

1. Assure that you are well-prepared

Ensure that your company is on board. When presenting your ideas, emphasize the cost savings, increased ROI for your business, increased productivity, and ability to identify and address weak points.

2. Examine the situation

Assemble all departmental representatives, including experts, crew managers, supervisors, stakeholders, and anybody else who can help paint a clear image of the organization’s current situation. Build a schedule to assist you fix the challenges you’re now encountering and outline the current state of affairs with everyone present.

3. Begin the Planning Process 

To develop paperwork, process maps, roles, and duties, your planners must collaborate closely with the maintenance team. It’s crucial to upgrade your CMMS and make the appropriate adjustments in light of this new knowledge. You only need to make these adjustments once with a contemporary CMMS solution because everyone has access to the new data, so you don’t have to worry about any errors in communication.

4. Start the implementation

Making those weekly schedules a part of the new norm is the intention here. After a few months of training, the team can eventually get used to the schedule. A CMMS system makes this possible by putting all of your data conveniently in one location. Keep in mind that the planner should only be responsible for setting schedules; the rest of the team should handle all other tasks.

5. Create a review process 

You’re finally nearing the end of your new schedule. When the coaching period is finally over, you want to make sure that all of your hard work didn’t go to waste. Don’t let your employees think that their efforts are going unnoticed. They have already been constantly working to get used to the new schedule, so enjoy your victories. Send out a review to find out what may be improved, what people think is working and what doesn’t, and so forth. Make periodic contact with your employees to make sure everything is going well for them as well.

6. Aim for Constant Optimization

Your schedules are currently in place. To make sure you’re still accomplishing your goals, you should always examine your metrics in meetings and work to improve your processes.

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Conclusion

A well-scheduled maintenance programme can aid businesses in improving resource allocation, task prioritization, reducing equipment failure, and reducing maintenance backlogs. Additionally, it will reduce the need for expensive reactive maintenance repairs. A mobile-based computerized maintenance management system is the most convenient approach to create maintenance requests, assign scheduled maintenance, and monitor progress (CMMS).  By optimizing operations and recording and utilizing trustworthy data, CMMS software solutions assist maintenance teams in maintaining essential equipment online while spending less money. A modern CMMS, in contrast to earlier management systems, resides in the cloud, guaranteeing that all users have access to the most recent data. You'll spend less money and resources as a result of fewer misunderstandings and errors. Organizations from various industries can directly profit from the technologies that increase uptime and reduce time and money lost. It's crucial to think about the entire user experience—including setup, training, and continuing support—when picking a CMMS, in addition to the functionality. You may reduce expenses and downtime by scheduling maintenance with CMMS software.


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