Time to make the daily schedule

Jan. 23, 2018
Doc Palmer explores why daily scheduling during the week is the supervisors’ task, and how to do it right.

The fifth principle of scheduling is having the crew supervisor create daily schedules as the week unfolds. There is too much churn in the daily execution of maintenance to create the daily schedules a week ahead of time. The first-line supervisors should create the daily schedules, assign names, coordinate lockout/tagout (LOTO), and deal with new urgent work that cannot wait.

This latter approach of letting the crews develop their own daily schedules from a batch of work does not admit failure for dealing with the churn of daily maintenance. Instead, it recognizes the churn. Plants that take the former approach and dictate precise daily schedules a week in advance do not solve the churn. They essentially lead their maintenance crews to focus on resolving operations’ immediate concerns and otherwise just keeping everyone “busy” on what they can do on the schedule. As long as items left uncompleted are rescheduled for the next day, everyone is happy.

Letting supervisors create daily schedules as the week unfolds also means letting them assign individual names for work orders. This can’t be done a week in advance because it is uncertain exactly when individual jobs will start and finish and who will be available when. Supervisors continually make the best assignments possible as the week unfolds based on criteria that cannot be presupposed by any weekly scheduler. These include such considerations as who works well together, which individuals work better by themselves, who is the best pump person available now, and who needs pump experience. Schedules that usurp supervisor authority to make assignments are bound to create dissent.

Finally, supervisors must be empowered to break the weekly schedule without seeking excessive approvals. The whole idea of productive maintenance is to work toward a goal of completing work for the week while understanding that it is necessary to attack emergency and urgent work quickly. Allow supervisors to break the schedule and the supervisors will try to meet the schedule.

About the Author

Doc Palmer | PE, MBA, CMRP

Doc Palmer, PE, MBA, CMRP is the author of McGraw-Hill’s Maintenance Planning and Scheduling Handbook and as managing partner of Richard Palmer and Associates helps companies worldwide with planning and scheduling success. For more information including online help and currently scheduled public workshops, visit www.palmerplanning.com or email Doc at [email protected]. Also visit and subscribe to www.YouTube.com/@docpalmerplanning.

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