Picking the perfect planner

April 9, 2018
Doc Palmer explores the skill sets necessary for success in the maintenance planning role.

Companies must take care when selecting planners if they want to achieve the enormous benefit of a successful maintenance planning program. Selecting the right persons to be planners is practically the most important thing a company can do to ensure a program’s success (or failure). Planners require certain skills, just as all crafts require certain skills for their trades. Understanding the skills required will help a company create the perfect position for picking the perfect planner.

Creating the position itself is also a factor in getting the right planners. This extremely valuable position is worth its weight in gold. A plant would like to have all of its respected, top craftspersons apply so that the plant can pick the ones with great data and communication skills. But these top craftspersons sometime earn a lot of overtime pay – especially those who have earned a lot of respect over the years. If the plant simply offers a lateral transfer paywise, these top persons would take a serious pay cut. And so the plant ends up having a limited number of persons apply.

Many plants may not get an applicant pool sufficiently large to allow for picking the best persons as planners. And even if they do, the position will not be attractive enough in the future to sustain a proper program. Consequently, a good planning program should make the position at least equivalent to a first-line supervisor (organizationally and pay-wise) so that the respect the position commands might outweigh a sacrifice of overtime pay for the individual who accepts the role. Designating the planner position as supervisor-level also signifies that the company considers the position to be a promotion for a craftsperson; this gives the planning program itself some respect.

Choose your planners carefully. Picking the right persons, taking into account their craft, data, and communication skills, is critical for success. A lot of company profit is at stake, so don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Establish the planner position to be desirable enough to attract and keep the best persons as planners to make a great maintenance planning program a reality.

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