Proper planning and maintenance can significantly increase productivity if it is well done, but how can you improve the Maintenance Planning and Scheduling process in your company?
Below we provide a general overview and we explain the 6+6 key principles related to the Planning and Scheduling operations in order to achieve optimal results in the organization of maintenance operations.


When a sudden emergency occurs, the prefixed plans don’t often work in the hoped-for way. This is the reason why when you have to choose how to operate properly, you should explore all the possibilities applicable in that moment: this is only possible when basic planning knowledge is acquired.
The process of Planning and Scheduling has two different functions that, when implemented together, form the Maintenance Plan.

Maintenance Planning: process that identifies and addresses in advance any situation that may occur. In addition, it identifies and verifies the parts and tools necessary to carry out the intervention and in which way they have to be done. Planning is therefore useful to define “what”, “why” and “how” by specifying which jobs have to be done with which materials, tools and equipment, why a particular action has been chosen and how the work should be completed. Planning activities include:

  • – Managing faults and spare parts;
  • – Ordering the missing parts;
  • – Managing lists of suppliers.


Maintenance Scheduling: it refers to the timing of the planned work, “when” the work has to be performed and “who” is in charge to do it. Moreover, Scheduling also means:

  • – Planning the maximum amount of work with the available resources;
  • – Planning according to the work orders which have the highest priority;
  • – Minimizing the use of external resources by using the internal workforce effectively.


For these reasons, when these two operations are implemented together they can bring a lot of benefits in different departments of the company.


As mentioned above, the aim of maintenance planning is to define the correct maintenance activities and prepare them to be scheduled. To do this you need a Planner, who is in charge to develop a detailed work plan that the technicians have to follow in order to accomplish all the tasks. However, to adopt the right maintenance planning and programming techniques, you need to follow some basic principles to make your planning successful.

Summary of Planning&Scheduling Key Principles


  1. 1. Separate the Planner from the Maintenance Team. It is necessary to identify the Planner and divide him/her from the maintenance team so that he/she can exclusively concentrate on planning the future work.
  2. 2. Focus on future work. Provide the work programme to the maintenance department at least one week in advance, so that the activities are already planned and ready to be executed. If some problems occur during the work, after having solved them, it is necessary to inform the Planner who will take them into account for the future plans.
  3. 3. Sort file by single machine. It is advisable not to archive at system level, but rather at single component level with a subdivision based on equipment label numbers. This helps to use the equipment data obtained from previous jobs to prepare and improve the future work plans.
  4. 4. Use the experience gained. To define the estimated time to execute work orders, it is useful to rely on skills acquired and experiences gained to make an estimate of the job that can be actually achieved.
  5. 5. Identify the technicians skills. It’s essential to recognize the skills of technicians for developing a work plan. Assigning jobs to operators specialized in a specific task ensures a correct and efficient realization of the activity.
  6. 6. Measure performance according to your plan. The actual working time is the first measure to consider in order to evaluate the workforce efficiency and the Planning and Scheduling effectiveness.


Planning helps to complete the job in the best way. On the other hand, Scheduling increases efficiency thanks to the enhancement of tasks organization. It is based on these key principles:

  1. 1. Schedule an exhaustive Work Plan. The work plan should include all of the indispensable pieces of information, such as the number of technicians required, the minimum level of competence required and information on job duration.
  2. 2. Define a weekly schedule and its priorities. A weekly schedule helps to develop a program to enhance productivity, while defining priorities in advance assures that critical situations are solved first.
  3. 3. Design a program based on time and highest skills available. Preparing a plan, it is necessary to take into account the working hours required to accomplish the tasks, the technicians skills and the work plan activities in order to understand the amount of work that every day the group can complete.
  4. 4. Assign the work for every available hour. Scheduling according to the effectively working hours available avoids an over- or under-planning.
  5. 5. Make a team leader manage the field operations. He assigns the daily work to his workers according to their skills, work order requirements and he takes note of progress. In addition to this, he has to handle emergencies and to reschedule assignments if necessary.
  6. 6. Measure performance according to your schedule. Scheduling is successful when the weekly program has been followed and completed.


It is not always easy to follow these principles because to ensure a proper functioning of Maintenance Program skills such as communication, cooperation and essential expertise are required for its realization. At the same time, when all these aspects are properly combined and implemented the results you can achieve are: better coordination of maintenance activities, higher efficiency, a real performance optimization, increased plant reliability, control and reduction of maintenance costs.

In MIPU, we have a Planner that organizes and coordinates the activities of the maintenance team, assuring the maximum effectiveness even when our engineers are dislocated all over Italy. Moreover, we help our customers to actually start or improve the maintenance planning and scheduling plan (it is particularly useful to get everyone on board with a business game).

If you would like to discover which are the best practices to develop your Planning and Scheduling Maintenance Plan, Contact us!


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