How to Develop and Execute a Weekly Maintenance Schedule

Developing and executing a weekly maintenance schedule comes with its own unique set of challenges. However, there are ways to make it easier, more manageable and, most important, effective.

The Weekly Schedule of Maintenance

The first thing to establish about a maintenance schedule is the owner. Who owns the schedule? The answer is we do. The “we” is Operations and Maintenance. Operations has a part: providing access to the equipment, systems, and processes in order for Maintenance to perform the maintaining. Maintenance’s part is to provide the labor, skills, materials, and equipment to perform the maintenance work. Once this element of the weekly schedule is understood and ownership is accepted, the rest of the scheduling is rather straightforward

Scheduler’s Role

The scheduler function facilitates the schedule development. The scheduler’s job is to assemble the backlog of Ready-to-Schedule (RTS) work orders and coordinate what work can be performed during the next scheduling cycle. A typical scheduling cycle runs Monday through Sunday, but there are numerous variations to the cycle depending on many factors.

Schedule Development

The scheduler considers these factors as he develops the schedule:

  • Labor availability for the cycle
    • Number of internal maintenance personnel
    • Skills required for the RTS work orders
    • External labor requirements dictated by the planning process
    • Other support labor needs (Hot Work Watch, Confined Space Entry Teams, etc.)
  • Priorities of the RTS work orders
    • All RTS backlog work orders need to be accomplished but only a certain number can be accomplished.
    • High-priority work orders have been assessed according to the asset criticality, risk associated with the need, and the impact on production.
    • Lower priority work orders are included on the schedule and are assessed by the same elements of criticality, risk and impact.
  • Preventive/Predictive Maintenance Work (PM/PdM)
    • The maintenance computer system should be releasing predetermined work orders for the coming cycle based on the set frequency trigger.
    • The scheduler takes these work orders into consideration when mapping out the work.
    • If possible the scheduler tries to consolidate PM/PdM work with corrective maintenance to minimized downtime.
  • Sequencing of Work
    • Schedulers consider the sequence of the work being scheduled so there is no overlap in trade personnel.
      • Ground-level work is not scheduled when work is being performed overhead.
      • Work space is considered. Four people cannot occupy a two person space
    • Timing of work is also considered. Operations may have to complete specific tasks before maintenance can start work and vice versa.
  • RTS Backlog Input
    • The scheduler does not develop the schedule in a vacuum.
    • Operations should review the RTS backlog and provide their input for work to be scheduled as it affects their production.
    • Maintenance crew supervisors as expected to provide their input as well
    • If a rolling scheduling forecast methodology is in place the majority of this input has been accomplished as the forecast rolls to the cycle to be scheduled.

Scheduling Meeting

The scheduler facilitates this meeting.

  • Attendees should include:
    • Maintenance crew supervisor
    • Operations supervisor. This person must know the production requirements and schedule, have the authority or have been delegated to, grant downtime of equipment, and have the full support of Operations management for the agreements made for the schedule.
    • Optional attendees as deemed necessary
      • Safety
      • Environmental
      • Engineering
  • Only scheduling activities are addressed during this meeting.
  • The meeting should be consistent:
    • Same day
    • Same time
    • Same location
  • The meeting should be held late enough in the current schedule cycle to determine if work will need to be rescheduled but early enough in the cycle to finalize the negotiated schedule and have it published before the next schedule cycle begins.
  • The result from the scheduling meeting is a negotiated contract between all parties of the scheduled maintenance work that will be accomplished in the coming cycle. This finalized schedule is the baseline for calculating schedule compliance. Any changes to this negotiated contract will impact the compliance metric.

Schedule Execution

At this point the ownership of the schedule has been transferred to Operations and Maintenance. The scheduler moves on to development of the next cycle’s schedule.

  • Maintenance supervisors review the schedule each morning to make work assignments and any adjustments based on changes coming from Operations.
  • Any outside labor or contracted services included in the schedule is managed by Maintenance or Operations supervisors.
    •  Planners and schedulers should not manage these activities.
  • The goal of Operations and Maintenance is to maintain the integrity of the negotiated schedule to the best of their ability by making calculated, tactical adjustments during the course of the scheduling cycle.
    • Sometimes the best tactical decision is to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves such as an unscheduled Operational downtime. This could be an opportunity for Maintenance to perform maintenance work in addition to breakdown work, provided the additional work being performed is in the RTS status.
  • Any changes to the current schedule are documented with an explanation for the deviation from the schedule.
  • Work that needs to be rescheduled is fed back to the scheduler to be included in the next scheduling cycle.
  • Weekly schedule compliance is calculated, trended and published to demonstrate progress that is being made from a formalized scheduling process.
  • The process then repeats for the next scheduling cycle.

Tim Kister, CMRP, is a well-recognized leader in the field of Planning & Scheduling. A dedicated educator, Tim has facilitated over 100 workshops and seminars focused on maintenance management and planning & scheduling and has co-authored the book, “Maintenance Planning and Scheduling Handbook; Streamlining Your Organization for a Lean Environment.” As Planning & Scheduling Senior Subject Matter Expert for Life Cycle Engineering (LCE), Tim helps clients recognize opportunities for improvement that enable rapid optimization of business processes and long-term sustainability. You can reach Tim at [email protected].