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A tale of two schedules

We see many customers who already have a CMMS/EAM in-place, and as expected, these applications provide some form of scheduling. What we also see, more often than not, is only one schedule being used.

Why is this problem?

I'm glad you asked.

A competent CMMS/EAM will automatically produce an asset maintenance schedule based on odometer/hour readings or last serviced date data. Each asset record is updated as each pre-start/inspection/time sheet/job is completed, so presenting this kind of information is a no-brainer. The maintenance manager can see at a glance those assets coming up for service. Hopefully, there are not too many that are overdue!

The operations/production manager, however, is focussed on a different goal. He wants to know what assets are available for the upcoming production work. He is using a work/production schedule to ensure there is no extra demand he cannot handle, or too many gaps which indicate ineffective use of the assets. 
He is quite happy to miss a little scheduled maintenance in order to keep his production running smoothly. After all, his output is what earns the company its income.

Often, the maintenance manager cannot see what the operations/production manager's demand is and vice versa. They are using separate schedules.

A competent CMMS/EAM will provide an production/job schedule and a maintenance schedule, and a combined schedule, so managers can easily identify where the conflicts and bottlenecks are occurring.

Given warning, any professional maintenance team can re-schedule the service of a particular asset. The same applies for the production guys. If there is enough lead time provided, alternative scheduling and/or assets can be introduced to cover the production required. We find, in these kinds of scenarios, where maintenance and production/operations have worked together with sufficient lead time, that the alternative solution often brings an insight into other models of operation that have historically been hidden from management. These "new" models often illuminate capacities that improve the bottom line.

There will always be a need for schedules that concentrate on just one process. They provide a focussed view of the goals and allow each team to be clear-eyed about their objectives. The combined schedule provides a global view of all the theatres of operation, thus highlighting any disharmony that may exist between competing interests. 

The combined scheduling process is not something to be avoided. It should be embraced.

Posted by Mark Chimes
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