Top Metrics for Planning & Scheduling Effectiveness


Planning and scheduling are important activities in any repair and maintenance operation. Whether it’s dispatching technicians on a planned basis or responding to a breakdown event, planning and scheduling processes are critical in terms of improving operational and cost efficiencies. 


That’s why you’ll need to employ the right planning and scheduling measures as a way of evaluating and improving your overall end-to-end maintenance operations. These metrics drive a feedback loop for continual process improvements that can turn your reactive maintenance organization into one that can accomplish more planned preventive tasks.


From metrics like planning accuracy to schedule compliance, understanding these metrics and how they work will help you deploy technicians more efficiently and achieve overall maintenance effectiveness goals.



Understanding Planning & Scheduling Metrics


First, let’s dive into the key metrics for planning and scheduling separately. The art of planning involves identifying and documenting what needs to be done to complete a job. Meanwhile, scheduling is focused on identifying when jobs can be done based on human and material resources on hand.



Planning Accuracy


The primary planning metric is called planning accuracy or Planned vs. Actual (PvA). This is a measure of how long a maintenance task should take versus how long it actually takes. If your scheduling process deploys a tech to a job that takes twice the time allotted in his/her schedule, then something is off. The key is to continually evaluate the time each job takes in order to plan the same task more accurately in the future.


For this metric, you’ll need your technicians to capture the actual time it took for them to complete a task. Most people measure planning accuracy on a specific time period, like for the month. Compare the sum of all the estimated (planned) labor hours for a month divided by the sum of all of the actual labor hours charged to those jobs. At this point, you can evaluate the degree of accuracy. Results at first will likely be far-ranging – anywhere from 40% to 90% is common. If the percentage is over 100%, then you are overestimating some jobs and vice versa if the percentage is low. Seek to understand the outliers in the data to continually improve time estimates for planned tasks and deal with other root causes of the discrepancies. A good target is 90% planning accuracy.


This metric can be easily manipulated by either the planner – padding time in the task estimates or by the technician who knows the measure is being tracked. It is important to set a tone of trust that this is not a human performance metric, it is part of a process of improving the planning of maintenance tasks for greater operational efficiencies.



Schedule Compliance


The next set of metrics is all about measuring the quality of the schedule you’re setting and deploying. The primary metric in this respect is schedule compliance, or planned maintenance compliance (PM compliance). This is the percentage of scheduled jobs that technicians attend to within a set period of time.


The benchmark target is to achieve over 80% schedule compliance. You’re not necessarily pursuing perfection -- emergencies come up and you need the flexibility to respond -- but you do want to get a sense of whether or not you’re scheduling too many work orders to realistically complete.


Manufacturing organizations benefit the most from tracking schedule compliance. Scheduled maintenance typically means machine downtime which forces close communication and coordination between schedulers, operators, mechanics, and other plant personnel. Each piece of equipment is a profit center, and any extended amount of downtime could hurt company finances.


Then there's the work completion ratio, which is the percentage of jobs scheduled that were actually completed. Once again, a low work completion ratio means that technicians don’t have time to finish all their jobs, and therefore schedules are not being formulated and deployed in an optimal fashion.


“The primary purpose of schedule compliance should be to determine whether the plant is properly preparing the weekly schedule,” writes Doc Palmer. “But most plants incorrectly use it to see whether supervisors are honoring the schedule.” Similar to planning accuracy, schedule compliance is another measure of overall maintenance process effectiveness and should be used collaboratively for proactive improvement discussions.

Improvement Strategies

Improvement starts with analyzing results, analyzing trends, and identifying root causes of low compliance. This process needs to involve the maintenance managers, reliability engineers, planners/schedulers, and the supporting maintenance team. It is everyone’s responsibility to complete the right work, on the right assets, at the right time. Involving the organization in the results, empowers individuals to support the improvement processes whether it is how the technician captures his time or how the scheduler loads the weekly schedule.


In addition to establishing open and collaborative communication processes, technology is a critical aspect in how you can evaluate and improve results. If it takes hours to capture and sort the information to calculate these measures, then you aren’t likely to consistently track the metrics. Automation is needed to pull and organize the data for gaining insights into improvement opportunities.


Data quality, completeness and accuracy are also important. Bad data in is bad data out. Improving data starts with consistent processes and making it easy to capture good data. Providing a mobile solution to technicians can make it easy for them to record time by task or supply feedback that the time scheduled is under or over-estimated.


Planning and scheduling are the foundation of efficient maintenance operations. Metrics like planning accuracy and scheduling compliance play a key role in measuring how well you are optimizing time and resources. The key is to view planning & scheduling metrics within the overall context of your business processes and implement the right technology solutions to be able to gather and act on the insights.


Find the Right Solutions


Improve the structure of your data and processes with Sigga digital transformation solutions for Enterprise asset maintenance. Sigga has 20 years of experience with SAP PM and maintenance workflows plus a history of successful deployments across a wide range of industries. Consider the Sigga Planning & Scheduling solution, it is the most complete and flexible automation solution for SAP PM. The solution replaces routine process steps to check capacities, create schedules and track results.  Sigga also has an integrated Mobile EAM solution to streamline maintenance work while improving data capture with technicians.


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See how Sigga Solutions can help you optimize your planning & scheduling metrics.