Facility Managers — 3 Step Guide to Maintenance Scheduling

How Enterprise Asset Management streamlines workflows and keeps facility managers in complete control.

Small companies find it relatively easy to stay in control of workflows and keep on top of things. Believe it or not, some even schedule jobs using hand-written messages on sticky notes stuck on a locker.

As the business grows however, the scheduled maintenance process becomes more complex, and it is exponentially harder to:

  1. Achieve maximum productivity whilst
  2. Containing operational and maintenance costs and
  3. Having clear, concise reporting of maintenance activities.

With an ever-growing list of scheduled maintenance tasks to perform, and more and more reactive maintenance jobs coming in, it can become increasingly difficult to keep all the balls in the air, and plates confidently spinning.

Even experienced facility managers sometimes struggle to prioritise problems that invariably arise, such as maintenance schedules, labour resources and use of equipment.

  • Have I got the inventory to complete the job?
  • Will issues have a flow-on effect through the organisation?
  • Does this satisfy statutory compliance?

As long as you have the answers to these, and other accumulative questions that can arise at any given moment, you’ll be OK.

If not, then your job will be even harder than it already is.

With this in mind, here are the 3 basic steps to scheduling a job that will make your working life so much easier AND help you get the best ROI from your assets.

Maintenance Scheduling Step One: Step back and look at the Big Picture.

Before you schedule a maintenance job, enterprise asset management best practice strongly recommends you conduct a thorough Criticality Assessment.

If you do not perform a criticality assessment to identify your most critical assets, you will base your decisions on perception rather than risk.

This may result in wasted time and money.  In some cases, lots of wasted time and BIG money.

For example, if a production line stops, due to something relatively small that could have been avoided, then the downstream impacts of production, deadlines and deliverables can become significant.

The key is to look further than the actual equipment itself, and ask yourself: What is depending on that equipment?

Getting your priorities right.

All businesses have their own terminology/criteria to rank priorities; some use a colour system, such as Red, Amber and Green, others a numerical system in which a ranking of “10” is deemed to be Highly Critical.

Basically, it comes down to this:

  • Is it critical?
  • Urgent?
  • Normal?
  • Low?

In a perfect world, everything would be low-to-normal…but unless you’re super-efficient (or very lucky) that is rarely the case.

Once you have conducted your criticality assessment, and determined priorities, it is then a matter of working out how to track all of these issues so you can handle work requests with confidence.

Rather than struggle with spreadsheets (or sticky notes!) you need a proven asset management system to keep you up to speed with every stage of every job.

As MC Global’s CEO, Steve Martin says:

“If this type of activity isn’t systemised, then the risk to the business is very high. Information in people’s heads can so easily be lost.”

The other consideration when setting priorities, is to make sure that non-urgent, yet time sensitive maintenance work is not pushed to the back.

For example, if the air conditioning is due to be serviced within a fixed period, failure to do so will infringe Code compliance. This will therefore need to be slotted into your priorities list in a timely manner.

On that subject, this is where having automatic alerts in your asset management system can take a load of your mind. It means that these important, time-sensitive maintenance tasks won’t be overlooked.

Maintenance Scheduling Step Two: Assign your Procedures

After looking at the maintenance work that needs to be done and determining its criticality, your next step is to assign your procedures list.

In this step, you assign who does what – with unambiguous information about how it needs to proceed, when it needs to be done and who to pass the ball to once each process is carried out.

It is here that you can attach documents such as:

  • Standing Operating Procedures (SOP)
  • Safety instructions
  • Photos (if necessary/available)
  • and anything else that may relate to the job.

This documentation is particularly important because it ensures that everyone is on the same page and that ALL procedures are covered off.

For example, are there safety factors to consider such as if and when the power needs to be turned off during a maintenance job. And turned back on again.

Your procedures list will also provide you with valuable intel, such as:

  • If the correct parts are being ordered,
  • Are there any site induction requirements,
  • Do risk assessments need to be undertaken,
  • And so forth.

Ideally, to avoid double handling, this would all be carried out on a ‘click and done’ basis, with EAM software that seamlessly integrates with your operations.

With the right enterprise asset management system in place, you’ll know instantly when things should happen.

The bottom line is that, while lists are fine, to avoid potential problems:

  • you and other stakeholders must be totally clear on “what’s next”
  • the right people must have access to information as they need it, and
  • approvals/checkpoints must take place before the next step is taken.

Maintenance Scheduling Step Three: Implementation

Provided you’ve followed the first two steps involved in scheduling a maintenance job, this final step should be a simple to implement…especially if you have a EAM system to co-ordinate everything.

It involves checking job calendars to see what other work is happening concurrently; depending on the workload, this may dictate the date of assignment and/or the labour chosen to complete the task.

If you DO have an enterprise asset management system in place, it will immediately show you which people with the right skills are available.

Furthermore, it will then automatically send out notifications to:

  • The people doing the job
  • The Requester
  • And other stakeholders

In summary…

No matter what sector you’re involved in, from healthcare to hospitality and from manufacturing to retail, following these three steps will be a giant step towards improving your operating efficiencies.

Armed with a proven enterprise asset management system – such as the bespoke EAM systems offered by MC Global – you’ll see at a glance who is doing what work now AND what is scheduled in the upcoming months.

You’ll have a total asset register, a failsafe inventory system, access to accurate recordings, and enjoy measurable results from a EAM software system with utmost functionality.

For more information about enterprise asset management systems – or advice on specific problems and challenges you are facing – please feel free to call MC Global on (07) 3303 0177

Or simply click here to contact us.