There is so much similarity in all that we do within the maintenance planning and scheduling world that compares to other separate and distinct functions. Let me explain. Borrowing from root cause analysis process methods, I trust you are familiar with Ishikawa diagrams (also called fishbone diagrams or cause-and-effect diagrams). These diagrams are one method that is used for product design, quality defect avoidance or variation, or to identify factors that lead to some event, hence the use in root cause analysis.

The categories typically include:

  • Man (people)
  • Methods: How the process is performed and the specific requirements to perform the tasks, including time estimates
  • Machines: Any equipment, tools, etc., needed to do the job
  • Materials: Consumables, parts required
  • Measurements: Data generated from the process

All of these items combine together to create some output or event. In the case of maintenance planning and scheduling, hopefully they combine to maintain or restore the reliability of equipment, as an example. See, in all we do, it’s important to remember that every product (i.e., maintaining equipment) is the result of a process. Let’s break them down individually for maintenance planning and scheduling:

  • Man: People or staffing (which crafts?), skill requirements, number of people, contractors or vendors
  • Methods: The job-plan task steps and sequence; items such as permits, manuals and so forth
  • Machines: What special tools (man lift, ladder, etc.) are needed?
  • Materials: What consumables or parts are needed to restore the equipment?
  • Measurements: What do we need to know to improve the job plan? In the case of a condition-based monitoring task, we can take measurements to find something in the act of failing to allow planned restoration.

Interestingly, all of these items roll up to complete the job plan and job package that should be created by the maintenance planner. If I didn’t have time to complete all of these items, which three should I focus on first to ensure that I could drive craft effectiveness? From a maintenance scheduling perspective, I need the manpower requirements, estimated hours and the materials, but it can’t stop there. The only way that it’s effective is if I have a continuous improvement loop that relies on the feedback of the technicians to improve the job plan.