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Optimized Planning and Scheduling

A common challenge experienced throughout asset-intensive industries is figuring out how to drive efficient work execution management practices in order to push valuable data back across the enterprise so that more informed decisions can be made at the executive level.

A reduction of reactive maintenance is achieved through the implementation of a single point of entry for the Scheduler/Supervisor, which gives control of the work execution back to the Supervisor. A reduction in the time that the Supervisor takes to manage the work execution results in better maintenance and production planning. When an organization can get to a single version of the truth, the information becomes a business driver and a leading indicator of the overall health of the enterprise. Get to a single process. Gray areas led to poor data, and poor data leads to uninformed or under informed management decisions.

Increasing spares utilization reduces the demand purchasing and allows the configured EAM/ERP system to utilize the data provided, delivering that data up the chain to executive decisions makers. The utilization of standard purchasing processes and inventory can reduce the operating expense not only in regard to the reduction in inventory valuation, but there can also be considerable savings realized by reducing the amount of materials repair parts that have to be expedited.

On the shop floor, when the process is streamlined, there is less wasted time and energy looking for the right part the first time, and thus there is less confusion around who is doing what and when. Imagine the crew productivity that is possible if your technicians go straight to the job and straight to work, rather than spend the first hour or two searching for a plan of action.

For the maintenance and operations professional, the issue isn’t what they want to do. They know that the work ahead of them comes in many different forms—RCM, PDM, PM, Corrective, operator requests— the list goes on and on. Today’s managers and supervisors need help with the amount of data that they have to sift through. From the maintenance manger to the technician, they need to be able to acquire the skills through easy to use tools and easy to navigate processes. The process improvement initiative has to attainable. We see over and over that there is a desire to improve… but these people are being left hanging, trying to implement.

Today’s Managers are cut from one of several cloths—they’re either (1) an engineer (in which case management assumes that since they have an engineering background, that they must be qualified to manage a department), (2)they may have an operations background (and since they know what is required to run the plant or the operation they’re assumed be able to manage a maintenance department, or (3) they’re the guy who’s moved up from the hourly workforce to a supervisory role (because in management’s view, they’re technically very competent so they must be qualified to manage a maintenance department).

Many surveys exist that indicate a surprisingly low number of managers using any type of advanced planning, scheduling, and project management software. There are also a very low percentage of managers or front line supervisors that are using even basic desktop software on a regular, repeatable basis. When they do use their desktop software, it is usually reserved for the ‘big job’ and it’s not integrated with their backend EAM/ERP. There are significant numbers of the same groups that are using a simple spreadsheet into which they have to manually load the work orders to manipulate the work and somehow get a “schedule” of the day’s events. Following these outdated practices usually means that the ability to measure resource productivity and effectiveness goes out the window. If they are manipulating any of the data in the spreadsheet, it almost never gets back to the EAM/ERP. So, right away we have gray areas and the ‘one version of truth’ is out the window with the crew productivity. If you’re not getting all of your work order data back into your EAM/ERP, the data quality is diminished and suspect as being flawed to the point that you can’t make management decisions using it. In other words, you can use your own data to make your day to day decisions.

There are culture paradigms that need to be overcome in most maintenance organizations due to the ‘firefighting’ nature of the business. When a Technician moves up through the ranks to a Role as Supervisor or Forman, then on to some other role on the management team, that person brings with them the desire to be the Hero and put out the fire of the day. Many organizations struggle with changing the culture from being reactive (the ‘hero culture’ – saving something everyday) to having a standard, repeatable process for planning, scheduling and execution that embodies foresight. To this end, the organization has to not only want to move forward with their process and continuous improvement initiates, but they also have to provide a framework (aided by technology) to institutionalize the desired improvement initiative. The people ‘down in the trenches’ need some support and ultimately more than a recommendation that they ‘do more with what they have.’

Value Calculator Lesson:

Take back your process. Don’t let the ERP/EAM/CMMS consultants tell you how to run your business.

Drive more value out of your existing EAM/ERP/CMMS systems by:

  1. Improving Planning Performance
  2. Reducing Training Time
  3. Reducing Computer Screen Time for Maintenance Personnel
  4. Optimizing (Reducing) the Time to Return Assets to Production
  5. Optimizing Return of Assets to support the mission of your organization

1: Improving Planning Performance

Most EAM/ERP systems provide comprehensive planning and scheduling capabilities. It is generally accepted that proactive (i.e. planned), maintenance costs roughly 50% of reactive maintenance. Our experience is that companies tend to overestimate the level of planned maintenance they actually perform. These organizations are also generally not able to accurately report some of the key performance indicators that measure maintenance planning. Given that maintenance can comprise 30% to 50% of the total expenses in an asset intensive industry, improving the amount of planned maintenance can quickly result in significant ROI.

2: Reducing Training Time

Many companies do annual refresher training to try to improve the data quality and user abilities within the EAM systems that they utilize. By reducing the amount of time a MMP (Maintenance Performing Persons) or Planner, Supervisor, or Technician spends in training can improve labor efficiency and increase ROI.

3: Reducing Computer Screen Time for Maintenance Personnel

Time wasted navigating through multiple screens and multitudes of fields can lead to hours of inefficient time sitting in front of a computer. We look at how to calculate what it really costs you to get the information that you need into your systems, and the value of reducing that infamous screen-time.

4: Optimizing (Reducing) the Time to Return Assets to Production

There is a widely held consensus that primary goal of every maintenance department is to keep its assets running at optimum capacity, and when they're down, returning them to the operation or production groups as soon as possible. While the value of the collective assets varies, there is a value for each individual asset, and as such, the value of returning that asset to service can be calculated. That number can provide helpful insight to your operation.

5: Optimizing Return of Assets to support the mission of your organization

Is the lack of reliability or predictability in your planning and scheduling systems / processes affecting your ability to accomplish your mission? It may not be possible to put a dollar figure on improved reliability or improved performance within your Planning and Scheduling departments, but you can calculate how returning assets to service faster can affect your mission. By increasing the utilization of your existing workforce and systems you’ll maximize resources, increase uptime, and support your mission through better reliability and availability.

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