Scheduled Maintenance

The key to running an exceptional facility is organization, and the backbone of an organized team is a great schedule. Scheduled maintenance allows you to take your facility’s maintenance needs into your own hands by finding the best time, technician, and method to perform maintenance tasks. With an optimized maintenance schedule, your facility will be operating at peak organization and efficiency.

What is scheduled maintenance?

Scheduled maintenance is any maintenance task that occurs after going through a documented request, scheduling, and assignment process. Ideally, all maintenance is scheduled maintenance, meaning that each task begins with a written work order request. To schedule maintenance as efficiently as possible, maintenance managers must consider many factors, such as the priority of the task, the technicians available and their specialized skill sets, facility operating hours, and many other moving parts.

By taking time to optimize scheduled maintenance, your team will complete more tasks more efficiently. And by considering your team’s skills and facility operating hours when scheduling maintenance, the work order request process becomes better for everyone involved. Requesters get their work order resolved quickly and correctly, technicians get to work on tasks they are good at and enjoy, and maintenance managers get fewer headaches!

The scheduled maintenance workflow

The scheduled maintenance workflow is fairly simple. There are several ways maintenance might be initially prompted, from preventive, routine, reactive, or predictive maintenance. However, once a stakeholder notices the need for maintenance, the rest of the workflow is the same, and it all relies on completing one simple step: submit a work order request.

Once the work order has been submitted, a maintenance manager can assess the situation, schedule a maintenance task, and assign a technician to complete the service.

scheduled maintenance workflow: 1. preventive, routine, reactive, predictive trigger. 2. submit work order. 3. schedule task and assign technician. 4. perform task and document work. 5. continue using asset as usual

Scheduled maintenance in your industry

Since scheduled maintenance is such a broad term encompassing many types of maintenance, it exists in every industry. Here are a few examples of what scheduled maintenance might look like in your field:

Schools

A teacher submits a maintenance request because the lightbulb inside their classroom projector has burned out and needs to be replaced. Since projector lightbulbs are an important item needed for teaching, a few spares are kept in inventory. After checking the classroom schedule, you can send a maintenance technician to change the bulb during a free period so as to not disturb classes.

Manufacturing

You’ve noticed a certain piece of cutting equipment is not performing at 100% recently. Upon a quick inspection, you realize the blade is rather worn and needs to be replaced. You order a replacement blade and schedule a maintenance technician with experience working on this machine to perform the task. Before picking a date and time, you check your technician’s availability to find a time that works for them and accommodates the machine’s operating hours.

Property management

One of your tenants has submitted a maintenance request to fix a leaky faucet. The drip is not a major issue, but it should be addressed as quickly as possible since it could be driving up the water bill.

After checking the schedule of your maintenance technician with plumbing experience, you add this request to their to-do list after another task in the same building. After scheduling the task, you return to the virtual work order request your tenant submitted and update the request’s status to reflect the scheduled date and time.

What to consider when planning scheduled maintenance

As you may have noticed in the examples above, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration when determining how to schedule maintenance for your facility. Here are the most important things to consider when deciding how to create your maintenance schedule:

1. Priority of the maintenance task

The most important factor to consider is the priority level of the task. How you determine priority will likely be specific to your facility’s needs, but a few general principles apply to every organization. We’ve put together a sample prioritization guide for a generic facility using these principles to help you get an idea of how to prioritize tasks for your organization.

Priority Condition Example
First Conditions that pose a threat to health and/or safety. A window has broken that could allow anyone to enter the facility and could injure building occupants (glass shards).
Second Maintenance malfunctions that impede the organization’s ability to complete key business functions. The WiFi system has crashed and building occupants are unable to access digital resources needed to complete their work.
Third Maintenance malfunctions that negatively impact the facility conditions and experience of building occupants. The HVAC unit has failed and some rooms are uncomfortably hot or cold.
Fourth+ Facility conditions that are less than ideal. One lightbulb in a room has burnt out and needs to be replaced.

2. Available maintenance technicians and their skillsets

When scheduling maintenance that isn’t an immediate priority, you have the luxury of considering the availability and skill set of your team. For maximum efficiency and quality, assign technicians to maintenance tasks that best suit their skills. When you do this, you’ll get faster, better results and a happy maintenance team.

3. Facility operating hours and equipment downtime

Another luxury of scheduled maintenance is the ability to work around facility and equipment operating hours. If the maintenance task in question is preventive maintenance or a non-emergency task, schedule it outside of operating hours.

This way, productivity is not derailed for maintenance operations. This isn’t always possible, but the maintenance process is more enjoyable for technicians and building occupants alike when it is.

4. When the work order was submitted

The final component that must be considered when scheduling maintenance is when the work order was submitted. Although there are plenty of valid reasons why certain maintenance requests can jump the line (factors listed above), it’s important to keep in mind that a lot of times there is a person behind the maintenance request. When stakeholders see their request being passed over time and time again, they can get pretty antsy and annoyed.

To avoid angry stakeholders, try to be as transparent about the work order process as possible. Consider using a software program that allows for easy communication between the requester and the maintenance team. Provide updates on the status of the request, and once a date has been scheduled for maintenance, do everything in your power to meet that maintenance window. If for some reason maintenance must be rescheduled, update the status of the request with information on why it is being pushed back.

Learn more about work order best practices with our free paper work order template and our comprehensive guide to work order management.

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Scheduled maintenance critical percent (SMCP)

Ideally, scheduled maintenance tasks always occur at the date and time initially scheduled, and your facility never faces a work order backlog. But as we mentioned above, things happen, and sometimes maintenance tasks are pushed back when a more pressing task comes up.

If you’re facing a growing pile of scheduled maintenance tasks that are not completed at their original deadline, turning to SMCP can help you decide how to reprioritize your requests and get your facility back on track.

SMCP is a metric used to determine how late the maintenance task is relative to when and how often it should be performed. By finding the SMCP of multiple tasks, you can better prioritize which task should be completed first.

Calculating SMCP

To calculate SMCP, start by finding how many days late the task is and how many days are between each maintenance task in an ideal maintenance cycle.

For example, if you always perform a specific task on the first Monday of the month, but it’s now Friday and it’s still not done, these are your variables:
days late = 4
days in maintenance cycle = 30 (1 month)

The formula is:
SMCP = (( days late + days in cycle ) / days in cycle ) x 100

So, in the example above, the formula would be:
SMCP = ((4+30) /30) x 100
SMCP = 113.33%

Using SMCP

To use this metric effectively, you need to find the SMCP of every overdue task you attempt to reprioritize. Once you’ve found each task’s SMCP, start with the task with the highest SMCP, as this task is the most overdue relative to its maintenance cycle.

For example, if you were deciding whether to prioritize the task we calculated the SMCP of above (task 1) and another overdue task (task 2), you would start by finding the SMCP of each. We already know the SMCP of task 1, so the next step is to gather the variables needed to find the SMCP of task 2.

Task 2 is supposed to occur every 90 days, but it’s been 100 days since it was last performed, meaning it’s is 10 days overdue. So the variables are as follows:
days late = 10
days in maintenance cycle = 90

SMCP = ((10+90) /90) x 100
SMCP = 111.11%

Now that we have the SMCP of each task, the next step is to compare and prioritize the task with the highest percentage.

Task 1 SMCP = 113.33%
Task 2 SMCP = 111.11%

Even though the first task is only 4 days overdue and the second task is 10 days overdue, relative to when they should have occurred, the first task is a more pressing issue and should be addressed first.

Shortcomings of SMCP

SMCP does a great job of helping you prioritize based on relative lateness. Still, it fails to consider the other important factors in scheduling maintenance outlined earlier. Factors like the skill set of available technicians, equipment use hours, and priority of the task still need to be considered when determining which overdue tasks to tackle first. SMCP is just one part of the picture, but it can be incredibly helpful in finding the right place to get started when you’re overwhelmed by a growing backlog and don’t know where to begin.

Benefits of scheduled maintenance

So why bother jumping through all these hoops to create the most optimal scheduled maintenance plan? That’s a great question, and it doesn’t have just one answer. Optimizing scheduled maintenance has several benefits that significantly improve facility efficiency. Here are just a few.

Reduce downtime

By scheduling maintenance strategically, you can reduce unnecessary downtime in your facility. When scheduled maintenance is fully optimized, you avoid maintenance procedures that interrupt any day-to-day business functions. This means scheduling tasks during non-operating hours or looking for specific times in the day when the task won’t interrupt work.

Ensure the highest quality work possible

Taking your team’s skills and interests into account when scheduling maintenance will help you ensure the highest quality work possible. People like doing things they’re good at, so in addition to a job-well-done, you’ll also get a happy maintenance team that knows their manager makes their work satisfaction a priority.

Increase number of completed work orders

Being intentional about which technicians you assign to maintenance tasks not only boosts morale; it increases the speed at which work orders can be completed. Technicians with special knowledge or practice with a specific task can more efficiently and effectively complete maintenance requests, increasing the number of completed work orders.

Improve organization

Having a scheduled maintenance procedure allows you to efficiently document and review incoming work orders and get them scheduled as quickly as possible. This keeps your maintenance calendar incredibly organized and allows you to resolve maintenance requests quickly.

Save money

There are several ways that scheduled maintenance can help you save money.

Scheduled maintenance, when fully optimized, means scheduling preventive and predictive maintenance tasks at key moments in an asset’s life cycle. Planning to intervene at the proper moment can save huge sums of money that would have been spent on repairing the asset if it broke down.

However, one thing to keep in mind when scheduling preventive and predictive maintenance is the law of diminishing returns. At a certain point, additional planned maintenance will not save money but rather add additional costs. This graph explains the phenomenon.

maintenance management strategies chart: predictive maintenance strategy lowers repair and preventive costs with a lower total cost when compared to excessive reactive maintenance and excessive preventive maintenance

Additionally, a job-done-well is a job-done-once. Meaning, when your maintenance team performs comprehensive and correct maintenance each time, you eliminate the need to backtrack and perform additional maintenance due to a task being done improperly.

And finally, the speed at which your team can resolve work orders after optimizing scheduled maintenance can also save you money. A well-scheduled maintenance calendar prevents a backlog of work orders from piling up. This means your facility is regularly running full force, and your organization can be as productive as possible, saving you from lost earnings.

Start optimizing scheduled maintenance in your facility

Another great thing about scheduled maintenance is that it has relatively low barriers to entry, meaning it’s easy (and inexpensive) to start optimizing scheduled maintenance in your facility today!

What sets a facility apart when it comes to scheduled maintenance is the ability to consider several variables at once. To start doing this, create a scheduling master document that can act as a quick reference with all necessary data in one place. Include information like your team’s work hours, any special skills or background knowledge of specific team members, your facility’s prioritization table, and any other information that is relevant to your facility.

Over time, considering all of these moving parts will become second nature when scheduling maintenance. But when you’re just getting started, having a hard copy of this information can be incredibly helpful.

If you’ve implemented pen and paper methods of optimizing scheduled maintenance already and you’re looking for the next step, computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software could be a great solution. CMMS software is a system that enables your organization to manage maintenance activities in the most optimized way possible. The software is able to track equipment usage and past maintenance history to prompt maintenance at key moments. If you’re ready to upgrade your scheduled maintenance process, CMMS software is the perfect next step.

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