Maintenance Planner

What does a maintenance planner do?

A maintenance planner is responsible for making sure maintenance technicians have the tools and parts they need to complete work orders. If there is not a separate maintenance scheduler, maintenance planners are also expected to schedule maintenance in a way that minimizes equipment downtime and impact on production.

Maintenance planners primarily work in manufacturing environments and form close relationships with everyone from machine operators that create work requests to production supervisors that are responsible for meeting quotas.

A maintenance planner must have an equal mix of technical and social skills. Technical skills help them estimate times to complete work orders; social skills help them manage the needs of different people in different departments. For instance, a production supervisor and maintenance manager might have different opinions about the criticality of work orders. By speaking with each colleague, the planner can determine the best way to prioritize.

A maintenance planner reports to a maintenance supervisor or manager, but they are also expected to help the organization achieve certain levels of production. This puts them in challenging situations at times, but a strong maintenance planner knows how to balance goals and expectations from various departments.

Responsibilities

  • Plan and schedule corrective and preventive maintenance activities by task and priority level
  • Manage spare parts and alignment between the maintenance department and stock room
  • Manage work orders, documentation, and assets within the computerized maintenance management system (CMMS)
  • Train employees on how to use the CMMS
  • Coordinate plant-wide shutdowns

Traits

  • Ability to communicate effectively with all levels of the organization
  • Ability to work in a self-directed manner and provide direction to others
  • Ability to recognize opportunities for process improvements and assist with implementing them
  • Computer skills and knowledge of various CMMS software

To get a better understand of the responsibilities and traits of maintenance planners, review job postings for maintenance planners on Indeed.

Who should hire a maintenance planner?

Large manufacturing plants that perform preventive maintenance should hire a maintenance planner. If this position is not filled, PM tasks are more prone to delay. This leads to an increase in equipment failures and a backlog of repairs (i.e. deferred maintenance).

For organizations that already have a full backlog, maintenance planners help prioritize work orders in that backlog based on maintenance costs, available resources, and asset criticality. This helps the organization move from a costly reactive maintenance environment to one that is proactive and saves an organization money in the long run.

Does a maintenance planner also schedule work?

A maintenance planner can plan for work and schedule work but doing both well is impossible inside a large plant. If they spend most of their time scheduling, a lack of planning will leave maintenance technicians without the tools, parts, and information they need to complete work on time. And if they spend most of their time planning, work order prioritization will not be optimized and estimated completion times will not be accurate. This will lead to low schedule compliance and extended downtime for critical assets.

For smaller plants, it is feasible for for the maintenance planner to also act as a maintenance scheduler. Just make sure expectations are clear up front. Also, instead of creating a job listing for Maintenance Planner, create one for a Maintenance Planner and Scheduler. This will help you attract the best talent.