Sockeye Blog

The Life of a Maintenance Scheduler

Christine Banham Sep 17, 2018

You are responsible for taking a maintenance plan and bringing together all the resources needed to complete it and make it look easy. Your scheduling role involves assembling and coordinating the information, people, materials, and equipment, along with all the other necessary resources to get the job done. You are the one who will make it happen!

Work with Different Teams!

It all starts by putting together an effective PM program with cross-functional communication – so everyone is in the loop. As a scheduler you need to have a solid relationship within the Maintenance department along with many other teams both within the organization and externally:

  • Maintenance Teams – As a scheduler you may need to actively hit the floor to follow-up on your current schedule and see what teams might be struggling or how they are succeeding. Ask questions about any wants or concerns and about equipment that should be added to the following weeks schedule. Some of us are less forthright so a little detective work is sometimes required. Having the teams input on some of these items will help strengthen your team environment.
  • Operations Team – Coordinate with operations to ensure equipment is or can be available for an agreed time period. Review feedback from pre-shift inspections and safety topics and add items to the schedule if applicable. This goes along ways!
  • Supply Chain/Purchasing – Work with purchasing groups on the status of parts, deliveries, rental equipment that might be required among any special or uncommon parts that may need to be looked into further along with warrantees and returns.
  • Warehouse Team – Confirming “Kits” are ready to go and completed kits are staged along with providing part/materials request changes and or updates that might occur. Give notice when PM’s might be swapped around or changed; this way they can pull the correct kit.
  • Contractors / Suppliers – Following up with status of agreed delivery dates, warranties, confirmation of trades personal and or ensuring site inductions and tools required are in place. Any rentals that need to be on site along with specific information/details about the job. If in doubt, follow up to ensure there is an understanding of the scope of the job.

Sell Your Schedule!

You will find yourself in a challenging position as you are asking a number of people and groups to commit to a task when they may not perceive benefit. Diplomacy and finesse are required.

  • Give supervisors and trades an opportunity to have some input on the schedule – they see this equipment regularly and identify items needing attention; you will also find like individuals; each team has their strengths and weaknesses. Use them to your advantage! They won’t struggle through a weekly schedule if there are tasks that meet their strengths and they enjoy doing.
  • Talk to your Maintenance team at the start of the day. Let them know where they are at with this week’s schedule. What we need to do to move forward. It’s remarkable when everyone talks about it and it becomes a part of the day to day habit.
  • Follow up! Sometimes things happen, and it falls apart or better, yet it was a great week! Talk about it ask questions and if there are comments that were made on the job package follow up or look into it further.

Track it and learn from it

It never hurts to go review your schedule at the end of the week or daily. It will give a solid understanding of how you and your team did this week. A part number wasn’t correct, or the problem was bigger than originally scoped. Supervisors and trades personal will start to see these corrections even the small ones!

Pick two or three scheduling metrics to track and review as a team or personally. Help your team measure themselves and improve practices in the future. These details can help expand team development and practices along with offering opportunities to improve and grow!

Some metrics you might track are:

  • Schedule Compliance
  • Available Hours Used
  • Reactive Work
  • Planned Work
  • Unplanned Work

Conclusion

A scheduler role is diverse and challenging in a fast pace environment! The satisfaction of seeing a schedule implemented and come together is always rewarding. Personal challenges are finding solid ways to positively work with people who are under pressure and support each other to get the work done. Be friendly but firm. When things go wrong, work through the problems and get things back on track as soon as possible. Most importantly be proactive and help make the path ahead easy!