Monday, October 3, 2011

Is Your Work Planned or Scheduled... or Neither?

As I  have traveled from site to site and country to county and there are two words that seems to be universally confusing in the maintenance community no matter what language or culture you are a part of. Those words are planned and scheduled. In more than a few "less than best practice" sites I have ask what their percentage planned work was and have heard answers like 90 or 95% then as you ask follow up questions like "How many planners do you have?" you discover that what they really meant was that they schedule 90%. These two words get blended together and as you start to bench mark your site the definitions become both important and telling. So lets clarify these two terms a bit.

I always like to go to Merriam-Webster first and see what they have to say on the matter. They provided the following tidbit of knowledge: 

Definition of PLAN 

transitive verb

1: to arrange the parts of : design <plan a new layout>
2: to devise or project the realization or achievement of <planned their escape>
3: to have in mind : intend <plans to leave soon>
intransitive verb
1: to make plans <plan ahead>
2: to have a specified intention —used with on <plans on going>

This tidbit did not really clear up the matter for me so I then reached out to the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP) for the definition in their metrics compendium. In the glossary I found the following: "Planned work is work that has gone through a formal planning process to identify labor, materials, tools, and safety requirements."
Perfect! Now let's understand this word schedule. We will go back to Merriam-Webster for the definition:

Definition of SCHEDULE

transitive verb
1: to appoint, assign, or designate for a fixed time
2 a : to place in a schedule b : to make a schedule of

Now I believe we have all we need to wrap this up.
So if you are talking about planned work, percentage planned work, planned job count or most any other maintenance metric with plan in the title then we are focusing on driving the completion of job packages which contain labor required, parts needed, tools needed and any permits, forms, drawings, or documentation.
If we see the metric "percent scheduled work" or any others that may have scheduled in the title then we are talking about time and how well we were able to stay on the time line for the week's work. 
Later this week I will talk about the relationship between these two words in the maintenance and reliability world. 

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