What is scheduled maintenance?

schedule board on tablet

Efficiency is one of the most critical core values of manufacturing. You want to produce as much as possible while keeping your resource spending at a minimum. But even a single malfunction in your assembly line or utilities can throw a wrench into your operation – literally. The resulting unscheduled downtime and reactive maintenance cause delays and can significantly cut into your bottom line.

Luckily, there’s a way to avoid these issues and save some time and money in the process.
With scheduled maintenance, you can take full control of your facility’s upkeep, ensuring that the right people do the right work at the right time. And in this article, we’ll show you how to do that, as well as discuss the following topics:

  • What is scheduled maintenance
  • The difference between maintenance planning and scheduling
  • The benefits of scheduled maintenance
  • What you should consider before creating a maintenance schedule
  • How to schedule maintenance
  • How to make maintenance scheduling easier

What is scheduled maintenance?

The term scheduled maintenance describes any service or repair task set within a particular timeframe. It can repeat periodically or be the result of a work order. Its goal is to utilize company resources in the most efficient way possible. In practice, it answers the “what, why, how, who, and when” questions of equipment service.

Scheduled maintenance is the result of two co-reliant activities – maintenance planning and scheduling. Although the phrases are often incorrectly used interchangeably, they describe different things.

What is the difference between maintenance planning and scheduling?

Maintenance planning is the process that answers the “what”, “why,” and “how” questions of maintenance tasks. Its objective is to establish what equipment requires attention and how it should be repaired.

Maintenance scheduling instead focuses on solving the “who” and “when” regarding the necessary work established with maintenance planning. It aims to find the best time and person for the job to utilize available resources as efficiently as possible.

explanation of difference between scheduling and planning maintenance

What are the benefits of scheduled maintenance?

If you choose to incorporate scheduled maintenance into your company’s operations, you can expect to enjoy several benefits and quality of life improvements. These include:

  • minimized external & maximized internal resource use
  • improved manufacturing efficiency
  • higher employee productivity
  • lower operating costs
  • fewer breakdowns
  • reduced downtime
  • quicker workflow

These benefits are the consequence of careful time and workforce management. Some of the basic principles of scheduling are:

  • planning multiple service tasks for a single piece of equipment at the same time
  • assigning the most qualified internal technicians to their respective specialties
  • effectively utilizing planned downtime to carry out repairs

However, there is more to scheduled maintenance than just these three techniques. If you really want to take your facility’s efficiency to the next level, there are several things you need to do first.

What to consider before creating a maintenance schedule

Creating a practical maintenance schedule takes time and effort. Sometimes the work can be so complex that companies choose to hire specialized planners and schedulers. However, nowadays, you can achieve similar results with a handy manager and some good software.

Regardless of what you choose, there are things you’ll need to consider. These include:

  1. Priority of the maintenance task
    Naturally, you should take care of the most pressing issues first. Start by determining what is the most important for your company. Based on your assessment, order your maintenance tasks in priority from highest to lowest.
  2. Availability of technicians and their skillsets
    Consider which of your employees would fit the job the best. Assign your technicians to work orders that fall within their specialties to shorten service time and boost morale.
  3. Operating hours and planned downtime
    Try to fit your repairs into time slots that require the machinery to be turned off anyway. This will help you reduce unnecessary downtime and lead to higher productivity.
  4. Date of the work order’s submission
    Although more severe or dangerous issues always have to take priority, there is a case for not repeatedly pushing the same tasks back. Unaddressed malfunctions can become more serious over time, and the people who have to deal with them will only grow more unhappy. So try to find a balance in your prioritization.

How to schedule maintenance

Once you’ve assessed your current work orders from all necessary aspects and points of view, it’s time to create a maintenance schedule. This process can be broken down into several steps:

explanation of how to schedule maintenance

  1. Align with your team
    If you want to succeed, you need to get the rest of your team onboard. Gather coworkers and present your plans. Outline the benefits a maintenance schedule can offer your company.
  2. Analyze your current situation
    Continue working with your team. Ask the heads of different departments for their view of your company’s current situation. Compile an overview of your backlogged maintenance work, and start ordering them as described above (by priority, time sensitiveness, etc.).
  3. Begin with maintenance planning
    In the previous steps, you’ve established what work needs to be done, so now your job is to lay the groundwork for your new and improved processes. To do this, you’ll need to ensure that your workers have reliable documentation regarding the maintenance process and that their roles and responsibilities are clear.
  4. Implement the new schedule
    Once everything’s clearly defined, it’s time to put your maintenance schedule into practice. Make sure your service workers can access it, and from that point on, let them do their job. Depending on the tools you choose for this job, this might be easier said than done.
  5. Review and improve
    Nothing is made perfect on the first try. Set up sessions to review your performance. Look for aspects of your new maintenance organization where there’s room to grow and keep on improving. But don’t forget to celebrate the victories you achieve – creating and keeping to a maintenance schedule is hard work, and people deserve recognition for their effort.

How to make maintenance scheduling easier

Like with anything in life, the difficulty of maintenance scheduling largely depends on the tools you choose for the job. In the past, planners, schedulers, and managers had to do much of the work manually while relying on paper-based solutions and convoluted lines of communication.

Luckily, nowadays with digital solutions like the Schedule Board in resco.FieldService, creating and keeping to a maintenance schedule is a breeze. This digital scheduler provides a drag-and-drop interface for managing the people working in the field. You can schedule tasks for each resource, oversee the free resources, display the history of the performed tasks, filter resources by skill or territory, and much more.

Make the best of the benefits of the modern age and try resco.FieldService for yourself for free.

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