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Scheduled Maintenance

What is Scheduled Maintenance?

Scheduled maintenance refers to tasks such as inspections and repairs that are performed according to a pre-defined maintenance schedule. These tasks can include isolated responses to work orders as well as periodic, recurring services such as machine lubrication and calibration.

In addition to a planned maintenance schedule, other components of scheduled maintenance include the personnel responsible for the tasks and the budgeted time for completion. These three factors converge during the maintenance planning process to determine the resource allotment and production impact.

The primary objectives of a scheduled maintenance program are to minimize reactive maintenance and equipment downtime while optimizing schedule compliance.

Benefits of Scheduled Maintenance

Scheduled maintenance can deliver a strong return on investment which benefits many operational categories. Elimination of equipment breakdowns and unexpected downtime can produce a financial ripple effect by increasing productivity and asset life expectancy.

When maintenance is performed at logical intervals, additional years of service can be added to essential equipment. Applying a thoughtful approach to scheduled maintenance planning can also enable multiple maintenance tasks to be performed in a parallel time frame. This leads to more efficient utilization of technician time, minimized production impact, and more proactive spare part inventory management.

The benefits of scheduled maintenance can bring order to a potentially chaotic and unpredictable process. Once the appropriate intervals and requirements have been determined based on risk prioritization, intelligently scheduling the resources needed to maintain on-time maintenance completion becomes the focus.

Since equipment breakdowns can be disruptive as well as dangerous, safety in the workplace can also be enhanced through scheduled maintenance. Sticking to a well-planned maintenance schedule will also reduce liability and improve overall employee confidence in workplace safety.

Scheduled Maintenance Examples

An essential piece of equipment might be used around the clock which can induce stresses and limit windows of opportunity for maintenance. Scheduled maintenance requires a comprehensive understanding of maintenance requirements, task time estimates, and appropriate interval setting to define and utilize these rare windows as effectively as possible.

This important machine could require lubrication and alignment every three months to avoid degradation in performance or unacceptable levels of wear. Production schedules can be reviewed in tandem with technician availability, spare parts inventory, and established task durations to develop the most attainable and reliable maintenance schedule.

Other applications for scheduled maintenance combine planned and unplanned maintenance tasks to improve efficiency. For example, if a robust cleaning process is performed on laser welding equipment every 90 days and is known to consume between 60 and 75 minutes of technician time, a one-time software upgrade with a similar completion time might be combined with this pre-scheduled maintenance to utilize technician expertise and equipment downtime advantageously. This strategic scheduling also creates opportunities for knowledge transfer and cross-training that add more value to the work force.

Scheduled Maintenance vs Planned Maintenance

While the terms planned and scheduled may seem similar, there are important differences between the two. The primary goal of planned maintenance is to determine where the maintenance needs exist and what processes, tools, and parts are needed to address them. This planning process can incorporate preventive, predictive, and condition-based methods to identify current or potential problems and establish the best long and short-term maintenance strategies to address them.

The output of planned maintenance becomes the essential input for scheduled maintenance. After the “what” and “how” have been defined through planned maintenance, scheduled maintenance completes the cycle by determining the “who” and “when”. The criticality of maintenance processes is continually balanced against resource availability, and realistic deadlines are assigned to maintenance personnel.

Scheduled Maintenance vs Preventive Maintenance

Scheduled maintenance shares some common features and attributes with preventive maintenance. It is always performed with the goal of preventing unexpected breakdowns and malfunctions that can wreak havoc on productivity and resource deployment.

While scheduled maintenance is based on optimized timing, planning, and workload balancing, preventive maintenance brings the additional benefits of data analysis and diagnostics that add flexibility and continuous improvement to the maintenance process.

Coordination between preventive and planned maintenance can reinforce advanced maintenance practices with the efficiency, uptime, and adherence to schedule necessary to minimize risks and surprises.

Developing a Scheduled Maintenance Plan

Implementation of a scheduled maintenance plan should be preceded by a careful review of all assets including relative importance to the organization and expected periodic maintenance requirements.

The time spent establishing a new scheduled maintenance plan is also the best time to challenge any pre-conceived intervals or tasks that may have been applied arbitrarily or without sufficient data. The real-time value of each asset in replacement dollars is another factor that will help define accurate risk profiles and maintenance intervals.

Once the overall maintenance needs have been defined, the tasks can be organized into logical sequences and groupings that will ultimately feed into procedure and work order generation. While sorting and organizing these maintenance tasks, it is important to consider the skill sets needed for each potential work order. In this way, tasks can be bundled based on complexity and a gap analysis can be performed between the total hours required for each skill level and the current status of the technician pool.

A scheduled maintenance plan can never be successful in meeting on-time performance goals if the right resources are not available. Capacity planning should also consider the impact of unplanned maintenance that will inevitably arise and to ensure enough hours are budgeted to support the plan.

Once requirements, resources, and spare parts are established, the scheduled maintenance plan can be launched in earnest. The centerpiece of this plan is a master schedule including dates, times, and responsibilities for each scheduled maintenance task over the designated time period. Ideally, the plan will be closely aligned with production scheduling so that any impact to equipment up-time has been considered.

A feedback loop that takes the actual completion times, spare parts consumption, and other shop floor information into consideration for future schedule optimization and resource planning should be integrated into the scheduled maintenance program. Maintenance scheduling software can be used to analyze and integrate this feedback into a continuously improving process.

Maintenance Scheduling Software

Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) can be an invaluable tool for generating maintenance schedules, creating work orders, and tracking task completion dates and labor times. CMMS software can automatically maintain and update the master schedule while providing a centralized portal to control and monitor work order assignments. Maintenance scheduling software also supports spare part, tool, and labor tracking to prevent unexpected shortages and conflicts.

Our CMMS software has delivered tangible results across a diverse spectrum of industries by turning information into informed decisions that minimize non-value added activity. As our CMMS software efficiently tracks and analyzes equipment and tasks, employee focus can shift from basic data entry and attending to urgent maintenance needs to more forward-looking improvement strategies.

How to Get Started

MicroMain offers industry leading maintenance scheduling software that enhances the effectiveness, organization, and analytical horsepower of any scheduled maintenance program. Learn more about our maintenance scheduling / CMMS software today!