AKWIRE for Maximo User Group

What is wrench time anyway?

by Kim Waterman on October 9, 2015

If you’ve done research into Planning and Scheduling, you’ve likely encountered the term Wrench Time, and you’ve probably encountered the statistic that most organizations without an effective planning and scheduling program in place have an average wrench time of between 25 and 35%.

OK, so what?  What this means is that in an average 8 hour work day, the average maintenance technician is only actively turning a wrench between 2 and 2.8 hours.  What about the rest of their day?

A maintenance technician does a lot of different things in an average work day, and some of those things aren’t an effective use of his or her time.  Consider the following:

  • Active wrench time (WT) – includes working on work tickets, working in the shop to repair or build parts required for work tickets, re-doing work that was improperly completed or that was completed with a defective part, etc.
  • Waiting for assignment – includes planning / scheduling / crew meetings, waiting for approvals, waiting for confirmations, etc. With effective planning, a maintenance technician’s time spent on these tasks can be significantly reduced.
  • Waiting for parts – includes waiting for a parts kit to be provided, pulling required parts, locating parts, finding spares, or even identifying what parts are needed to complete the work, etc. Again, with effective planning, a maintenance technician’s time spent on these tasks can be significantly reduced.
  • Travel – includes travel between work locations, but also travel within the office (walking from the shop to the warehouse to the truck), and travel at the worksite (travel from the truck to the building to the room where the work is to be performed). While travel time may not be avoided, multiple jobs on the same asset or at the same location can be packaged together to reduce overall travel time.
  • Breaks – includes lunch and scheduled breaks, and also includes all other idle or non-working time.
  • Wrap-up – cleaning up at the end of the day, completing paperwork, entering information into Maximo, time sheets, securing tools, etc. The time associated with this task can be reduced by simplifying paperwork processes and using streamlined systems to enter time.


It’s clear that a fairly large percentage of a maintenance technician’s non-WT is unavoidable; even world class planning and scheduling programs enable organizations to achieve between 50 and 60% WT.

An effective planning and scheduling program can help you achieve greater efficiencies in every area noted above (except Breaks).  An effective planning and scheduling program for Maximo can also help you achieve greater ROI on your investment.

The more you know about the work to be done, the more opportunity you have to plan for it ahead of time, and the more you’ll see your average WT increase.

And remember what Dr. Deming said:

“People cannot be more productive than the system they work in allows them to be.”

What’s your average wrench time?  How are you working to increase it?

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