The Maintenance Planner & Equipment Maintenance

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maintenance planner overwhelmed with scheduling issuesWhat does the maintenance planner do?

The maintenance planner has many responsibilities. Above all being to plan and schedule maintenance on equipment. The planner also needs to make sure that spare parts and supplies are available to complete planned maintenance work as well as the technicians are available to do the work.

For instance, the maintenance or facilities manager could be the maintenance planner. Frequently someone else who reports to the maintenance or facilities manager has this job. On large sites with multiple facilities we could have multiple maintenance planners each responsible for specific facilities or areas.

But that’s just part of the story…

One of the biggest challenges of the maintenance planner is equipment breakdowns. Such corrective maintenance normally has priority. Therefore this delays or reschedules other maintenance work. This results in further maintenance backlog.

The job of the maintenance planner can be quite hard to do without the right tools. Computerized maintenance management software (CMMS software) is one of the best tools to use. With a CMMS program it is much simpler to manage both unplanned and preventative maintenance work. In addition the maintenance software has other features that can make the job of the maintenance planner easier.

How CMMS software helps With maintenance planning

1. A way to create a template library of all different types of maintenance tasks. Both for unplanned and preventative maintenance. So we can standardize best practices. It is easier to generate work orders as needed. The CMMS can use the task templates to create work orders. This reduces data entry. See Four Easy Ways To Setup An Equipment Maintenance Schedule for examples.

2. Reminders when work orders are due and an ability to track past due work orders.

3. They offer a variety of statistics that can be useful to show to upper management. This makes it easier for them to understand the health of the maintenance system. Changes in certain parameters can give warnings of potential issues. For example a continually increasing work order backlog. See 3 Quick Maintenance Metrics For Maintenance Planners for more information.

4. We get many reports that can be shared or provided to other groups. For example maintenance calendars to help schedule maintenance work with production or operations. Equipment history reports with maintenance costs & parts used (see How To Analyze Machine/ Equipment Breakdown Reports From CMMS Software). In addition availability checking. This is used to find future part & resource (technician) requirements for scheduled maintenance.

What is the maintenance planner responsible for?

The planner should be able to show that maintenance issues are not affecting operations or production or causing other losses or delays. Equipment downtime should be within limits. Secondly maintenance costs should not spiral out of control. Ideally we should see a reduction in unplanned or breakdown work and an increase in planned or preventative maintenance once the maintenance planner starts working.

Spare part costs can also be significant especially when holding spares and supplies that are not needed for some time. The maintenance planner should be able to do some amount of just in time inventory planning for such items. It is important to cultivate good relationships with a select group of vendors who are able to demonstrate an ability to supply reasonably priced and acceptable quality spares and supplies with short notice.

The CMMS/ maintenance software can generate Planning reports for future periods. This gives one an idea of spares and supplies that will be consumed on preventive/ planned maintenance in the near future. You can keep an eye on parts that need to be reordered as work orders are completed by specifying reorder limits on parts.

Maintenance planners should ensure that the skill levels of technicians doing the maintenance work are adequate. They may need to identify training needs and schedule them as required.

Getting CMMS software – an important tool

Maintenance management software/ CMMS software is an important tool in the arsenal of the maintenance planner. A CMMS software package will help the maintenance planner plan, schedule, track, report and analyze all the maintenance work done. 

Want to try a fully functional demo of FastMaint CMMS software in your browser? Or download a fully functional 30-day trial? You can use the import feature to import your equipment, spare parts, maintenance tasks and more.

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