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What are the Best Methods for Maintenance Planning?

By Felicia Dye
Updated May 17, 2024
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When maintenance planning is not done effectively, it can result in large amounts of wasted production time and money. It is the duty of maintenance planners to develop methods to prevent excessive waste. One way this can be done is for maintenance planners to remember what their responsibilities are. They should also develop complete service orders and maintain good history files.

Experience tends to show that maintenance planning can have one of the greatest effects on a company’s budget. Many industry insiders have noted that even when maintenance planners are employed, budgets are still too often negatively affected. One primary reason for this is because maintenance planners tend to be occupied with jobs that are not theirs.

Effective maintenance planning generally requires an individual who is engaged and focused on his duties. Planning in a manner that reduces waste is not a simple task. It requires a person to do a great deal of research, assessment, and calculation. It also involves communicating and coordinating with others. This job can become overwhelming when unrelated duties, such as maintenance scheduling or supervising, are assumed.

Maintenance planning is something that needs to be done well in advance. To wait until there are breakages or major malfunctions is not planning. This results in a loss of control that can be costly. Instead, a better method is to have plans that look forward at least a year, if not 18 months. The maintenance planner’s preparation should be displayed by a solid service order, an effective shutdown schedule, and competent history files.

A service order can be considered solid if it contains everything that needs to be communicated to all who will be involved in a future maintenance job. This document may be viewed by senior management, technicians, and accountants. Therefore, the work expected to be done should be clearly outlined. The materials necessary to complete the job should be included. Additionally, items such as sketches, problem logs, and special instructions should be included.

The shutdown schedule is important for instances when a facility or essential equipment needs to be shut down for a period. The maintenance planner should be able to make educated guesses as to how long that period will be. He should also outline all the maintenance projects to be done during that time. His planning should include how labor will be used so as not to incur waste in this regard.

Many of the assessments done during maintenance planning should rely on history files. These documents should give thorough details of the history of all equipment. This can include any maintenance patterns or ongoing problems. These files should also be able to provide foundation for guesses and research regarding maintenance time lengths and costs.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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