“People can become more productive if they would take advantage of the power of planning and scheduling.”
Planning & Scheduling
Planning, scheduling, do they actually mean the same thing? Certainly not! But they are obviously two sides of a coin. They go hand in hand. Performing one and ignoring the other may just lead to wasted efforts in disguise. An understanding of the differences and yet the relationship would help professionals no matter the field to be more efficient, effective and productive.
Planning defines what is to be done and how it should be done, but because time is of essence scheduling defines when it should be done and who is to do it. Planning should always come before scheduling.
Improving maintenance effectiveness begins by understanding the impact planning and scheduling have on maintenance costs. We must learn to be proactive rather than reactive and planning teaches us so. Maintenance planning and scheduling help us eliminate waste from work processes. Using the same resources with adequate planning and scheduling would produce double the amount of work and output that could be achieved without them.
Maintenance material costs are also reduced when planning and scheduling are in place. This is because there will be better negotiations and pricing from vendors due to forecasted demand, less loss due to an expired shelf life of supplies or spares, to mention nut a few.
The need for dedicated planners and schedulers
Maintenance planning and scheduling would require a dedicated individual or individuals to plan and schedule maintenance activities. This planner must have sufficient time to properly plan the work. As much as the planner must not be overly engaged, he must as well not be under-engaged. Organisations are to decide on the criteria for planning and scheduling as this may vary from organisation to organisation.
How planning and scheduling – like hands in gloves
Planning and scheduling go hand-in-hand. You need both to actually accomplish things in an efficient manner.
A decision tree or process flow should be made for planning and scheduling. Once the plan is complete with all details as to materials required, crafts type and skill level, the number of technicians, tools needed, safety requirements etc., the work order is then moved to the scheduling process.
Scheduling brings the entire activity together. It could be performed on a daily, weekly, monthly basis or some other pre-determined time frame. Although a weekly scheduling is most effective for maintenance since it allows for flexibility, yet still has enough control to avoid wasting resources. It allows for emergencies and other schedule interruptions.
Technology helps planning and scheduling too
Nowadays a lot of businesses and individuals use apps, intelligent agents, autonomous robots and unmanned vehicles to assist them in both planning and scheduling. For an individual, it can be as simple as a to-do list app and a calendar on a mobile device. For companies, there are thousands of solutions on the market; some specialise in the planning side of the equation like Ms Project some on the scheduling side, and some integrate both functions to make your life easier.