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Constructing an Effective Maintenance Plan
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Dave Porrill 
Tags: maintenance and reliability, planning and scheduling, reliability-centered maintenance, preventive maintenance, CMMS and EAM
Creating a maintenance plan is generally not difficult to do. But creating a comprehensive maintenance program that is effective poses some interesting challenges. It would bedifficult to appreciate the subtleties of what makes a maintenance plan effective without understanding how the plan forms part of the total maintenance environment.
This article explains what makes the difference between an ordinary maintenance plan and a good, effective maintenance program.
Defining the terms
Maintenance practitioners across industry use many maintenance terms to mean differentthings. So to level the playing field, it is necessary to explain the way in which a few of these terms have been utilized throughout this document to ensure common understanding by all who read it. It must be emphasized, however, that this is the author’s preferred interpretation of these terms, and should not necessarily be taken as gospel truth.
In sporting parlance, the maintenance policydefines the “rules of the game”, whereas the maintenance strategy defines the “game plan” for that game or season.
• Maintenance policy – Highest-level document, typically applies to the entire site.
• Maintenance strategy – Next level down, typically reviewed and updated every 1 to 2 years.
• Maintenance program – Applies to an equipment system or work center, describes the totalpackage of all maintenance requirements to care for that system.
• Maintenance checklist – List of maintenance tasks (preventive or predictive) typically derived through some form of analysis, generated automatically as work orders at a predetermined frequency.
• Short-term maintenance plan (sometimes called a “schedule of work”) – Selection of checklists and other ad-hoc work orders groupedtogether to be issued to a workshop team for completion during a defined maintenance period, typically spanning one week or one shift.
The Maintenance Information Loop
Figure 1 below describes the flow of maintenance information and how the various aspects fit together.
Figure 1 – Maintenance Information Loop
The large square block indicates the steps that take place within thecomputerized maintenance management system, or CMMS.
It is good practice to conduct some form of analysis to identify the appropriate maintenance tasks to care for your equipment. RCM2 is probably the most celebrated methodology, but there are many variations.
The analysis will result in a list of tasks that need to be sorted and grouped into sensible chunks, which each form the content of a checklist.Sometimes it may be necessary to do some smoothing and streamlining of these groups of tasks in an iterative manner.
The most obvious next step is to schedule the work orders generated by the system into a plan of work for the workshop teams.
Less common, however, is to use this checklist data to create a long-range plan of forecasted maintenance work. This plan serves two purposes:
The resultscan be used to determine future labour requirements, and
They feed into the production plan.
The schedule of planned jobs is issued to the workshop and the work is completed. Feedback from these work orders, together with details of any equipment failures, is captured in the CMMS for historical reporting purposes.
A logical response to this shop floor feedback is that the content of thechecklists should be refined to improve the quality of the preventive maintenance, especially to prevent the recurrence of failures.
A common mistake however, is to jump straight from the work order feedback and immediately change the words on the checklists. When this happens, the integrity of the preventive maintenance programme is immediately compromised because the revised words on the checklist...
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