Maintenance Planning

A facility's maintenance operation can be extremely reliable, efficient, and effective given the right planning. When it comes to going Lean, maintenance planning and scheduling is one of the keys to producing quality products at the lowest cost for the customer.

Maintenance planning is all about determining what maintenance work needs to be done and how it should be executed. When a work order is placed, maintenance planners are then responsible for planning out maintenance tasks for the jobs necessary to complete the order. Tasks involved in maintenance planning include:

  • Identifying the tools necessary for jobs and ordering any non-stock parts or materials
  • Writing out clear instructions for completing a job
  • Gathering and arranging necessary tools and parts prior to job assignment

To establish a solid foundation for effective maintenance planning, the following six principles can help guide management: protecting the planner, focusing on future work, having planners file on an individual component level, referring to the maintenance planner for accurate time estimates, recognizing an utilizing the skills of workers, and measuring performance. Sound familiar? Many of these principles used in maintenance and operations are shared best practices with kaizen.

What is Maintenance Planning and Scheduling?

A comprehensive maintenance program is comprised of two elements: maintenance planning and maintenance scheduling. While maintenance planning will answer the questions of "What needs to be fixed?" and "Why is this specific action was chosen?" and "How should the work be completed?"—maintenance scheduling will answer the "when" and "who." Effective maintenance scheduling includes:

  • Prioritizing work orders and scheduling accordingly
  • Scheduling the maximum amount if work with available resources
  • Ensuring preventive maintenance jobs are being scheduled and completed

There are six phases of maintenance planning and scheduling from the time a work order has been submitted to when the job is complete:

  • Setup
  • Define + analyze
  • Develop + prepare
  • Implement
  • Review
  • Sustain

When maintenance planning and scheduling is implemented together, the organization is likely to find improved performance, improved equipment reliability, lower costs for maintenance and operations, a smoother workflow, lower downtime, and even a safer work environment.

Why is preventive maintenance important?

Investing in a preventive maintenance program can be immensely beneficial to organizations. In addition to increased productivity, maintenance planning will effectively extend the life of machinery and lower equipment downtime by solidifying reliability. While maintenance work orders in the past may have only been submitted after a machine breaks down or a part stops functioning, facilities will find it much more worthwhile to take a proactive approach.


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