AKWIRE for Maximo User Group

Are you Equipped to Face the New Realities of Enterprise Maintenance Planning and Scheduling?

by Kirby Erickson on November 9, 2017

“If not now, when?”

This quote is often attributed to Eckhart Tolle, a German-born writer, public speaker and spiritual author. He raises a good question, because we human beings tend to procrastinate.

In our little corner of time – I’ll call it Work Management – we work towards the common goals of efficiency, productivity and cost savings to provide the best product we possibly can to our owners, stakeholders and our customers.

Let’s not fool ourselves. It is a competition. We compete to maintain or increase our customer base while keeping our owners and stakeholders happy about the bottom line. To do this, we must adapt to new technology and stay agile so that we can scale. Ultimately, to stay in business we must cultivate flexibility as Millennials take the workforce reins from Baby Boomers.

After 40 years in utilities Planning and Scheduling, this is what I would say to all the Enterprise Maintenance Planners and Schedulers out there:

Facing the new realities of enterprise maintenance planning and scheduling  

Gone are the days of the grizzly old maintenance person who knew everything he or she needed to know about the equipment and how to fix it. Gone too are their battered old note pads detailing everything from parts to serial numbers, measurements to short cuts, packing sizes and their countless insights gained from years of experience.

Back in the day, maintenance people just fixed things. They would troubleshoot based on knowledge and that’s also how they taught apprentices and new personnel: practical, on-the-job training. And that’s how you learned.

Today, we have powerful new CMMS systems where we can capture job plans and safety plans. And in many of the CMMS systems, we’ve captured a lot of the knowledge of those grizzled old veterans.

Now, that hands-on knowledge can be accessed with the click of a button. Even without your trusted expert, you’ve got the instructions to perform tasks relative to the right parts, the right steps, at the right time.

What we do with that information defines how efficient, how productive, and how economically responsible we are today.

Welcome to the new age of work management.

Failing to prioritize planning and scheduling jeopardizes the entire business

CMMS revolutionized the way we do work management – but there’s still room to improve these systems to make them simpler, faster, and more effective.

Procrastinating about Planning and Scheduling or overlooking it is endemic in many industries. These days, we’re all forced to do more with less.

Businesses must make Planning and Scheduling lean, simple, efficient and effective. If a planner has to wait until he or she has time to do a job walkdown, it’s going to go one of two ways:

  • Get shuffled way down the list of importance
  • Become an explosive, reactionary crisis

These are exactly the kind of costly problems enterprises can avoid if they can make Planning and Scheduling a priority. My colleague Matt tackles these topics in-depth in Why Maintenance Planning &Scheduling should be a Key Initiative within your Organization.

This brings me back to the question of “If not now, when?” The problem is the things we put off – like adopting better Planning and Scheduling tools and practices –  tend to be important. But these big-picture items somehow seem less time-sensitive than other tasks.

Consequently, all these delayed items build into unmanageable activities. All of sudden, the same thing you said you would work on or improve someday is something you need yesterday.

Here’s my two cents: If something is important enough to plan, schedule and execute, then don’t procrastinate, anticipate.

 It’s time to prioritize your planning and scheduling department… now.

When it comes to work management, you might wonder if it’ll take years to recuperate your investment – to train your staff on the new tools, or to see tangible results.

This is patently untrue.

In fact, if you choose the right toolset, it’s possible to get up and running and well on your way to a satisfying ROI (Return on Investment) in just a few short months.

The right software tool set can help your facility:

  • Accomplish quantifiable wrench time improvements
  • Utilize resources more effectively
  • Improve PM forecasting capabilities
  • Improve just-in-time (JIT) inventory management
  • Gather necessary metrics and reporting required to measure those Key Performance Indictors (KPIs)
  • Improve proactive maintenance results vs. your reactive maintenance tendencies

At the end of the day, you want your people spending less time on “busy work” and more time out in the field doing the work that’s critically important. Time is money.

So, if you’re not convinced that it’s worth it to make your Planning and Scheduling faster, simpler and more powerful, I’ve got just one question for you: What are you thinking?

Are you working with software made specifically for planners and schedulers?

Sometimes, you’ve got to take what I call a “leap of fact”.

More often than not, people put off adopting a great solution because they’re stuck in what they know and they’re afraid of change.  

But you’ve done your homework; you know your goals and expectations. Your Planning and Scheduling solution should be able to provide all the data that demonstrates the ROI of your investment in your maintenance strategy and objectives.

Here’s my advice to all the Supervisors, Managers, Planners, and Schedulers out there: Put your stake in the ground and do what you need to do to grow your business. Go with a Planning and Scheduling toolset that is backed by experts who have been in this field more years than they’d like to own up to. You know I’m talking about the AKWIRE Visual Suite for IBM Maximo.

There’s no time like the present.

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Kirby Erickson

Account Manager, SOLUFY.

Kirby has 35+ years of experience in the Utilities industry. Everything from entry-level plant floor maintenance to Planning and Scheduling experience. After a couple of stints as a house builder and as a bartender, he became an employee with the Salt River Project (SRP)

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