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Reliability and Maintenance Management Current Best Practices Part 2

by Christer Idhammar

In my June 2001 article on current best practices (CBPs), I suggested that CBPs are structured in key processes, sub-processes, and elements. Key processes could include leadership, support facilities, preventive maintenance, planning and scheduling, materials management, technical database, skills development, etc.

 To give an example of what could be included in a key process, I would like to describe how Part One of the Planning and Scheduling CBP is structured. The complete Planning and Scheduling CBP includes:

  1. Work request
  2. Prioritization
  3. Back log management
  4. Planning
  5. Scheduling
  6. Execution
  7. Recording
  8. CMMS tool
  9. Contractor management

Together, these sub-processes comprise about 100 elements.


The following is an example for Part One of the Planning and Scheduling CBP, which is the work request. The minimum requirement for a work request includes:

  1. Work request is submitted in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) and has a work request ID number.
  2. An accurate requested priority is assigned according to the existing guidelines for priorities.
  3. Equipment number, originator, description, and/or location is assigned and verified.
  4. A good work description and/or observed symptoms are recorded.
  5. Preliminary work order type should be defined as either corrective maintenance or system improvement (expense or capital work).
  6. How the work affects the process is identified according to the recognized maintenance opportunities.
  7. Work request is validated.
  8. Workflow process is followed.
  9. Known safety requirements are identified.
  10. Work request can be entered by anyone in the plant.
  11. Work requests are filtered and collected at a central point.

Use the aforementioned elements to evaluate your own practice in this initial part of planning and scheduling. Make sure you focus on how well the above is actually executed and not just on how you had intended to execute it. Let me know if you score yourself better than 75 on a scale of 100. To score at least 75, you must be able to answer "yes" to all of the following questions:

  1. Documentation of process exists. It is communicated to all involved in the process.
  2. Process awareness is evident at hourly workforce level and among all requestors.
  3. Process is understood and viewed as value added at all levels of the organization.
  4. True execution of the process is occurring.

Planning and Scheduling Sub-processes

It is common to find that very little of the above is documented in a work request. It is more common to find "pump not working" followed by "fix immediately" as the only verbal or written information.

It is also important to note that the beginning of a maintenance job is called a work request - not a work order. Such a designation suggests that there is no guarantee the work will be done just because someone initiated it. This is an obviously necessary procedure if you want to control costs and prioritize work in the best way. The chart to the left shows an example of scores for all planning and scheduling sub-processes.

Read (part 1)