How to overcome maintenance planning challenges?

This article follows my December article titled: Do you have maintenance planning challenges? Click on the title to access it.

Planning maintenance is not easy. I know it because I have been responsible for various maintenance departments during several years. However it is possible, yes, yes, I’m telling you, it’s possible to successfully plan your maintenance and do it well!

First you will need the following skills to get there:

  • a lot of perseverance,
  • rigour,
  • flexibility,
  • a good sense of organization,
  • teamwork,
  • excellent communication,
  • a good sense of humour to help you de-stress yourself from all the changes.

It’s that simple.

If you do not have the required staff with these skills, develop your people or go get the right people. If you do not have these skills, you will not succeed. I highly recommend having a planner, who can focus full time on this task.

If you do the maintenance planning, in addition to many other things, it may well be that everything else will go first so you won’t have the time to properly schedule your maintenance, it will not be done, your equipment will fail regularly and you will have challenges to produce. Does this scenario ring a bell?

In addition to the skills listed above and having someone full-time responsible for planning maintenance, you will also need to put the following in place:

  • Get a maintenance software, there are several that are not expensive and can help you more than Excel.
  • Establish a maintenance schedule for all your equipment, starting with the most critical ones for your production.
  • Define the maintenance tasks to be done on each equipment. You can hire students to help you, it’s a nice learning experience for them and it will not cost you too much. All you need to do is guide them.
  • Set up regular follow-up maintenance planning meetings:
    • with your production planning team to free up the equipment,
    • with your production teams to inform them of upcoming maintenance,
    • with your maintenance staff to make sure they follow up the calendar and to discuss problems.

When you will have put all this in place, you can then work to establish lists of parts required according to the importance of your equipment. Remember that the maintenance of your equipment is an investment and not an expense. How much does it cost you for all the lost times due to equipment downtime? Do the quick calculation and you will see. If you need help in setting up such a structure, do not hesitate to contact us! We will gladly help you.

Good planning!

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