What is schedule compliance?
Schedule compliance is a maintenance metric that measures the percentage of time that scheduled work orders are completed over a period of time.
Organizations that are committed to measuring the effectiveness of their scheduled maintenance process use schedule compliance as a performance metric. Maintenance activities are typically scheduled over the course of one week and schedule compliance is measured over the same period, although time periods may vary by organization. It is critical that managers create a formal process that promotes periodic review of results and open discussion for areas of improvement.
Manufacturing organizations benefit the most from tracking schedule compliance when properly implemented. By definition, the organization is required to proactively create a work schedule to adhere to. In manufacturing plants, scheduled maintenance typically means machine downtime which forces close communication and coordination between schedulers, operators, mechanics, and other plant personnel.
In plants that operate near capacity or under tight cash flow, measuring the reliability of scheduling processes are especially critical. Each piece of equipment is a profit center and any extended amount of downtime could hurt company finances.
How to calculate schedule compliance
%Schedule Compliance = (# Completed Scheduled Work Orders / # Total Scheduled Work Orders) x 100
Assume that in a given week there are a total of 52 completed scheduled work orders out of 100 total scheduled work orders. In the example, the calculation is as follows:
%Schedule Compliance = (52 / 100) x 100
%Schedule Compliance = 52%
How to improve schedule compliance
Improving schedule compliance begins with analyzing results, analyzing trends, and identifying root cause of low compliance. Personnel involved in work scheduling must also be involved in reviewing results. It should be expected that there will be conflict during these discussions. Management’s role is to assure the discussions stay healthy.
Identifying root causes of low compliance involve a deep understanding of your organization’s processes, capabilities, and culture.
Here are some questions that will help with your assessment:
- Is your scheduling process documented? Are there guidelines or best practices that help maintenance schedulers and other personnel schedule effectively?
- Are your personnel trained and has their training been verified?
- How do you measure and manage productivity of individuals, teams, and shifts?
- Does your entire organization understand and support the need for preventive maintenance?
- Is your organization willing to admit there may be skills gaps in some areas? If yes, do you have a vendor base that can cover those gaps?
- Does your maintenance team know how to identify true priorities and/or emergencies?
- Do any of your staff tend to stick with tasks they like doing versus what needs to be done?
- Has management provided you with the right tools, resources, and software to perform your tasks efficiently?
Once you’ve identified root causes for low schedule compliance, the real work of addressing them begins.
Practical tips for implementing schedule compliance
A strategy on implementing schedule compliance properly could make the difference between acceptance or backlash.
Here are some practical tips:
Define the the purpose
We have established what schedule compliance is and how it is a critical metric used to improve reliability and productivity. When you present this metric, get specific on what reliability and productivity mean and how all personnel benefit from improving them.
Get buy-in from leadership at all levels. Educate and empower supervisors and managers on how to respond to any concerns or objections from employees. A common concern can be the time frame involved in calculating compliance. Maintenance teams that have too many “emergencies” will not agree to shorter time frames as they are less likely to be able to comply with scheduled work. It will be up to management to decide how to properly implement schedule compliance in a way that does not de-motivate personnel.
The true test to your culture will come once you have data to analyze and start asking the “why” questions. Condition your teams to have uncomfortable conversations. If transparency is new to your organization, consider recognizing or rewarding behaviors that support your new need for candor. A technician that does not finish a task on time may one day admit he has not fully understood how to calibrate the new piece of equipment. How his supervisor responds to this will either encourage or discourage more of the same honest behavior.
Get feedback along the way
Your formal plan for measuring schedule compliance must include a way of collecting input from all employees. Having a mechanism that allows personnel to proactively give input or ideas enables management to evaluate and make adjustments. It also tells employees that the organization is listening to them.