Whether you have 10 or 100 workers, do they have a clear idea of what is on their plate each day?  Or do they kill time waiting or looking for supervisors to tell them what to do?  Organizing work so it can be assigned to the right people at the right time is a challenge for achieving Plant and Facilities Maintenance Excellence. 

Here are three simple concepts that will lead to effective and efficient work management: 

  1. Work priority/Category
  2. Dedicated resources
  3. Schedule compliance


Work Priority/Category

If you don’t prioritize and categorize your work you will not work on the right things at the right time.  Prioritizing isn't enough; you must also put it in the context of the type of work.  For example, a #1 priority for project type work may not be as important as a #1 priority for preventative maintenance type work.  Adding target dates takes this a step further towards defining when the work needs to be done.  Make sure priorities like 1, 2, 3, or 4 have clear definitions (keep them simple) that are meaningful to the planning and scheduling process like:

  • Emergencies - Must be done immediately or as soon as possible.
  • High – Serious adverse operational consequences (within 24 hrs)
  • Medium – Must be addressed if resources are available (within 3-10 days)
  • Low – Can be done whenever time or resources permit (within 3-5 weeks)

 Dedicated Resources

Dedicated resources are required to assure that you can do the work you need to do.   Labor must be assigned and dedicated in order to effectively plan work.  There is nothing easy about supervisors giving up labor resources to a planning function.  Come up with a method for getting organizational commitment to dedicating available resources like:

 Total # of people in department          = 100

# of Sick/Vacation/Absent                  =  -20

Total # available for planned work     =   80

 Dedicate available resources to specific types of work

Project work                                        =  -10

Routine Maintenance                          =  -30

Preventative Maintenance                   =  -25

Emergency, Unplanned                      =    -5

 Plan and schedule work based on available labor resources and materials.  What good does it do to send people out on a job without the materials they need to accomplish the work? Create metrics that make supervisors accountable for assuring that the resources they commit to are not diverted and thus sabotaging scheduled work.  

 Schedule Compliance

The ingredients discussed above provide the foundation for planning and scheduling your work.  Over schedule work to accommodate work that may be finished earlier than expected or was not able to be started because of unforeseen circumstances. You don’t know how you have done unless you measure what you have done.  Did you do what you planned to do when you said you were going to do it?  You improve what you measure; develop metrics to measure performance.  Don’t be misled by the notion that measuring budget compliance leads to a well maintained plant or facility.  Measuring what you planned to do and making sure it is done on time will lead to better control of budgets (not the other way around).