Planned Maintenance - Benefits & Workflow

While planned maintenance and scheduled maintenance sound like the same thing, some essential differences exist between them. Simply put, planned maintenance details how and what work will be completed; scheduled maintenance determines who will complete the work and when it will be completed.

What is planned maintenance?

Planned maintenance is the process of detailing what materials, tools, tasks, and services are required to solve a problem. The purpose of planned maintenance is to determine what work needs to be completed and how it needs to be done.

Planned maintenance starts with a problem and identifies the materials, tools, and tasks necessary to work on the problem. The planning process involves inspections, part ordering, process descriptions, and work prioritization. These responsibilities fall on the maintenance planner’s shoulders. The planned maintenance program for a facility may include scheduling, but sometimes scheduling occurs separately via a maintenance scheduler.

Planned maintenance workflow

1. Identify the problem and create a work order

Planned maintenance begins with outlining the scope of the work to be completed. This is often done in response to a work order, though it may also be based on a repeating schedule. In either instance, exact information is necessary. The operator or supervisor who detects the issue needs to get the right information to the maintenance planner. This information includes details about the problem, the asset in question, and any additional problems that may be related to it.

2. Inspect the asset and premises where work will be performed

After collecting all necessary information and pinpointing the exact problem, the maintenance planner outlines the details of the work to be performed. This includes the scope of the work, what tools will be required, and whether replacement parts or specific materials are needed. In addition, it’s vital to inspect the worksite—temporary equipment, materials, and scaffolding may be in the way, which could affect how work is conducted.

3. Order the necessary parts and prescribe a process to complete the work

It is also important to detail the procedures needed to complete the work successfully. Items such as shutdown procedures, access requirements, and safety precautions are all vital to the completion of a maintenance task, and it’s important to outline those considerations during the planning phase.

4. Add a priority level to the work order

Once the work is outlined, it needs to be prioritized, and any necessary materials should be ordered. The maintenance planner should handle those tasks to make sure the work is ready to go once it’s scheduled.

5. Schedule and complete planned maintenance

When the planning process is complete, the scheduling phase begins. The maintenance planner may handle scheduling, or a separate scheduler may take over. Scheduling maintenance is a separate process from maintenance planning, but the two rely heavily on one another to make sure preventive maintenance is completed successfully.

5 major benefits of planned maintenance

Planned maintenance offers various benefits to companies on top of reducing unplanned downtime. These benefits include:

1. Reduced maintenance costs

Planned maintenance creates an incredible opportunity to reduce maintenance costs. By outlining a preventative maintenance plan, small problems and easy repairs can be caught before they turn into big failures and costly repairs.

2. Extended asset life

Frequently servicing assets increases their lifecycle. Maintaining equipment and keeping it operating in good condition will extend the amount of time that it is operational, so it won’t need to be replaced as often.

3. Increased workplace safety

Preventing equipment failure is in everyone’s best interests. Not only do you reap the cost savings discussed above, but operators and other workers in close proximity to your equipment are also safer with minimized risk of disaster.

4. Improved workplace culture

Planned maintenance reduces not only equipment downtime, but also employee downtime. Planning out preventative maintenance tasks, and relieving the stress of unexpected equipment failures will keep employees active, collaborating and overall happier.

5. Planned maintenance decreases downtime

Left unattended, any asset will eventually fail. Faults, failures, and breakdowns interrupt entire production processes, and that could result in hours, if not days, of unplanned downtime. That downtime is expensive, especially considering how labor and operations costs continue to mount while productivity is at a standstill.

Planned maintenance allows minor issues to be resolved before they develop into major breakdowns. The process of gathering data and prioritizing maintenance tasks makes sure the most pressing issues are handled first, thereby preventing key assets from deteriorating further. The planning process also ensures all requisite materials and tools are available. As a result, planned downtime is kept to a minimum as work is carried out on time.