What are some maintenance planning best practices?

Some of the best practices your maintenance planners should use include:

  • Basing decisions on data
  • Prioritizing tasks with reliability in mind
  • Making sure materials are available
  • Getting out of the office
  • Striving for continuous improvement

Base decisions on data

When planning maintenance tasks, planners need to base their decisions on data. Your CMMS is central to tracking this data, but you need to make sure you’re actually using the information you’re gathering.

Some of the KPIs you’ll want to track for maintenance planning include:

Using this data will help you assign the right priorities to tasks, avoid false prioritization, and see where work processes might be streamlined.

Prioritize tasks to support reliability

Tasks should be prioritized in order to support reliability. This means work orders involving non-critical equipment or improbable failures shouldn’t be as high priority as those that involve vital assets.

Basically, you should gear PMs toward heading off failures that represent a significant risk to your operations. Short of emergencies, everything else is secondary.

Make sure materials are available on site

Another best practice is making sure your maintenance technicians are properly equipped for each job. This means making sure the needed tools and replacement parts are available on site before assigning the task. It’s best not to rely on delivery promises—it’s actually a pretty common pitfall.

In addition to replacement parts and tools, you should arrange for your technicians to have any relevant manuals and schematics in hand before they head out to the job site.

Get out of the office

In terms of the planning process, note that maintenance planning is not strictly setting a schedule. It’s not a desk job—your maintenance planner should be out on site looking at the equipment. That way, they’ll be fully aware of any potential issues that could complicate the job, such as access or safety problems.

Strive for continuous improvement

Finally, your maintenance planner should be getting feedback from your technicians on each work order. If there are any issues with scheduling, time estimates, or materials, they should be made aware of those.

As they receive feedback, they should (naturally) implement it. This way, they can eliminate prior mistakes and make improvements the next time similar tasks come up.