Elton_John_-_Don't_Shoot_Me_I'm_Only_the_Piano_PlayerSometimes as the Maintenance Planner we feel responsible for everything and capable of nothing.  It can be a very frustrating and thankless job at times.   I believe that a good portion of this frustration comes from the lack of clarity around expectations.  Where do I fit in? What do they want from me? What can I do? 

Lets take a moment to talk about what you, the Maintenance Planner, can do to contribute.   Here are a just a few of the ways that you add value to the organization every day.


3 Ways the Maintenance Planner Adds Value

No. 1:  Maintenance Planners Can Increase Wrench Time

Don’t take this the wrong way, but the typical maintenance worker’s day is filled with waste.   No fault of their own, but our inability to plan and schedule work causes this waste to occur.   Take a look at the chart below:

 Wrench Time


We typically consider wrench time:

(definition of wrench time: wrench time is that time spent by maintenance personnel physically interacting with the equipment, ie- making repairs, doing inspections, doing lubrication, etc.)

in a typical organization to be 35%.  In reality this number is commonly much lower, even in the 20% or lower range.

Where does the remainder of the time go?  To many other non-value added activities such as travel time or coordination delays.  This is you Maintenance Planner!  Meet your enemy.

Your contribution is to shrink as many of these other factors as possible and add them back to the wrench-time component.  Research shows that we can achieve wrench-time values as high as 50% or 60% with a focused approach to planning and scheduling.

Maintenance Planner you are the accelerant!  You make a team working at 30% efficiency work at 50% efficiency….that’s like your adding the horsepower of .7 workers for every worker on your team.!

Way No. 2:  You Can Increase Maintenance Schedule Compliance

Better-planned jobs yield better executed work.  It is simple as that.  The more research and detail that goes into each job increases the accuracy of our time estimates, which increases our ability to comply with our schedule.

The end result of schedule compliance is we get more of the most important work done in any given week.  This will reduce (or at least minimize) the impact of future failures.  The devils in the details here: greater efforts by the maintenance planner produce better time estimates, which enable superior execution.

No. 3:  You can contribute to a Safer more Efficient Workplace

Sometimes the job of the Maintenance Planner can seem as a clerical nightmare.  My job is to fill out the paperwork and account for parts and people’s time.  WRONG!

Here is what you add to the equation as a Maintenance Planner:

Safer Execution Because you identify the hazards in advance
Efficient Execution Because you specify the people, tools, and parts that will be needed.
Less Rework Because you collaborate with the workers on the best methods to be used when the work is executed.

Not a bad contribution.


Its easy to loose our way in the this profession we have chosen.  Few really understand how we fit in, and it is so easy to become distracted by the turmoil that surrounds us each day.   Save this short list to somewhere safe and pull it out on those days when have one of those days when you cant remember why you agreed to take this crazy job in the first place.

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