Maintenance shops around the world operate day in and day out, fighting the never ending battle with Operations for equipment control. When the equipment is available, how much of that time is used for maintenance? How much is wasted on a lack of pre-planning?

While this war seems unending, sound practices can be implemented to leverage the precious time Maintenance departments have equipment available for maintenance. Planning and scheduling are routine terms used to describe the process in which the tasks and jobs are performed through an organized and thought out process.

Planning for maintenance is much more than just allotting a technician’s time to perform the work. Good planning practices will prevent instances of a technician making multiple trips between the tools and parts crib and the job site. Thoughtful planning involves ensuring that when a technician goes to perform work, the tools, materials, and procedures are available. When a technician receives a work package, instead of just a work order, the technician can spend more time working on the equipment and less time researching and performing administrative tasks. The time not lost on trips back to the parts crib or finding a special tool will enable wrench time metrics to improve.

For a Maintenance department struggling with low wrench time, the implementation of a planning process will yield results. It is not uncommon for a Maintenance department with little or no planning practices to experience wrench times as low as 25%. This means that in these Maintenance departments, the technicians spend as much as 75% of their time not working on equipment. While total elimination of non-value added technician time is impossible, proper planning can enable departments to bring wrench time well above the 50% mark. Doubling the amount of time technicians spend working on maintenance tasks is well worth the effort.