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Can You Make it Through These 7 Scary Planning & Scheduling Scenarios Without Getting Goosebumps?

by Janna Kerr on October 31, 2018

Ghosts and monsters. Creaking floorboards and moonless nights. You don’t have to look far this time of year to find something spooky. But Maintenance Planners and Schedulers everywhere know that the truly terrifying doesn’t have to supernatural. In fact, sometimes it’s all too real.

Which of these scary scenarios are you dealing with? Read on, but don’t say we didn’t warn you…

1. Alone in the dark: No visibility of your Planning and Scheduling data

There’s a reason we instinctively fear darkness. As visual creatures, losing visibility can be a terrifying experience. OK, so maybe when we’re talking Planning and Scheduling it’s less terrifying and more frustrating, but the point is what you can’t see can hurt you.

Image Credit: Nickelodeon via GIPHY

Lacking visibility in your Planning and Scheduling software is about as bad as falling into a pitch-black hole and blindly trying to find your way out.  

You’re going to run into time-consuming problems that may have major consequences if you can’t see all the Work details you need to see. For example:

  • An asset’s PM Work Orders in the same schedule with its CM Work Orders
  • Resource availability based on day, week, month
  • All the Work Order details in the manner you need to see them (such as by Assets, Locations, Status or anything else)
  • All the unplanned work
  • What work is linked to other work
  • Work Order data that could be missing
  • Incorrect, outdated and otherwise “bad” data

Data visibility is a Planner/Scheduler’s #1 concern. It dictates everything, and determines whether or not you can create an accurate schedule for your shops/crews/crafts to work from.

2. Tangled in the creeping vines: Tied down by inflexible tools 

Picture this: you’re an explorer working your way through dense jungle when your ankle gets caught on a vine. You turn around to hack at it, but it has a mind of its own! Its snake-like tendrils coil around you, immobilizing your arms and legs and dragging you off the trail…

Image Credit: Warner Bros. via GIPHY

Working with an inflexible software that wasn’t purpose-built for Planning and Scheduling can choke the life out of your processes and best practices. Optimal Planning and Scheduling looks different on everybody. What works for your team at your company in your industry might be completely different than what works for someone else.

The right tools are built to be flexible, so that they can accommodate industry best practices and your process to help you get your work done faster. If you have to squeeze the most important elements of your processes to suit the tool, your users are bound to get frustrated and confused, which can cause them to make errors or give up on the tool altogether.  

3. Buried alive: Trapped under record by record updates

It’s a claustrophobic’s worst nightmare: being trapped in a tiny, suffocating box with six feet of dirt crushing down on you.

Image Credit: Freeform/ABC Family via GIPHY

Well, imagine the coffin is your Planning and Scheduling application and you’re buried under a pile of records you have to update…one by one. And just when you think you’ve made a dent, a Supervisor retires, and you’ve got 400 more Work Orders that still have his name on them…

It’s such a slow, tedious, monotonous process, you know you’ll never dig yourself out. If that doesn’t give you the chills, I don’t know what will.

4. What was that?!: Invisible, inaccurate, or non-existent job plans

Eek! You know that spine-tingling feeling you get when you know something just isn’t right?! Whether it’s the feeling that something is lurking under the bed or not knowing what’s going to jump out from behind the next corner, the unknown is frightening.

Image Credit: Touchstone Pictures via GIPHY

And the unknown can also wreak havoc on your organization’s enterprise asset management success. As a Maintenance Planner or Scheduler, one of the scariest unknowns is wondering whether or not your Job Plans are complete with the right information.

Without accurate job plans, you and your maintenance technicians are flying blind. They might not have the right permits, equipment, or tools to do the work. It might take way more (or way less) time than scheduled. Heck! They might get all the way to the job site and realize that no outage has been scheduled.

Without a fast and simple way to see the gaps in your job plans and correct them, your wrench time is bound to fall prey to that monster hidden just out of sight.

5. Ghosted: Haunted by the data you can’t analyze and the reports you can’t generate

When you’re walking through a creepy old mansion, the last thing you want to hear is footsteps behind you. But even more spine-tingling than being there with someone else is turning around to discover that… no one’s there.

via GIPHY

If you’re haunted by the idea that you could do so much with your data if only you had metrics and compliance reporting, I’m sorry to tell you, nothing’s going to banish that ghost. Data is only as good as the tools you have to work with it, review it, and analyze it. If you’re stuck manually keeping track of everything or building pivot tables, you’re going to be at it a long time. The truth is, there’s no good way to get answers from your data without solid, built-in metrics, compliance reporting and the flexibility to create the reports you need when the out-of-the-box solutions don’t quite fit your needs.

6. You’re the prey: Hunted by the rabid backlog beast 

You’re running for your life, but the snarling, growling, foaming-at-the-mouth predator is right on your heels. Your heart is pounding your chest, your lungs are about to burst and still it’s gaining on you.

Image Credit: Madman Entertainment via GIPHY

Coming into work every day with an out-of-control backlog is not unlike being run down by a werewolf on a moonlit night. The pressure’s on! There’s no good way to make these hard scheduling decisions.

When you don’t have visibility into all of the backlog work, and you can’t sort and filter the data the way you need to, you can never be sure what’s top priority, if you’re making the best scheduling decisions, or if you’re missing something crucial. You’re stuck exporting your backlog data to Excel so you can do your analysis. But you have the sneaking suspicion it may not be 100% accurate or up-to-date.

7. Out of time: Chained to your desk and unable to get out in the field

It’s not a horror movie, but do you remember when the Wicked Witch of the West leaves Dorothy locked in the tower and flips over the hourglass? It’s the kind of countdown that makes your stomach churn.

Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. via GIPHY

For Maintenance Planners and Schedulers, the hour glass is always running – you literally only have so many available hours in a day. And if your day is spent wasting time on record-by-record updates, clicking through different windows and applications to finish basic tasks, and waiting for slow solutions to load, you’re going to run out of time. And when you’re out of time, that means you’re not getting away from your desk to conduct site visits and field work that are vital to your success and the success of Maintenance Planning and Scheduling at your organization.

Clunky, outdated Planning and Scheduling solutions can get Planners and Schedulers more wound up than a horror movie – for good reason. Everybody wants to be equipped with the right tools to succeed. And there’s a lot on the line. More effective Planning and Scheduling helps to keep maintenance technicians safe, increase the value of maintenance spend, and help the company avoid unplanned, costly downtime. So, get out of the horror movie and get the right tools.

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Janna Kerr

Client Services, SOLUFY

Janna supports Client Services and User Training with Solufy. She has been involved with planning and scheduling for the facility maintenance industry for over fifteen years.

She worked at the Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Forces Station supporting the

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