Communication: The maintenance planners’ best friend

Communication is a vital component in coordinating and executing planned maintenance. Maintenance planners and schedulers have frequent lines of communication with on-site superintendents and supervisors, other planners, and most frequently, suppliers.

Planners must keep a finger on the pulse of what is happening on-site, and this openness of communication must go both ways in order to achieve operational efficiency. Teams must be synergised and nimble to changes.

Research conducted into maintenance planning found that communication was the highest-ranked, most important planning and scheduling factor. Furthermore, planners communicate most frequently with their suppliers, highlighting the importance of the planner-supplier relationship and its correlation with effective maintenance.

Quality suppliers with strong, reliable communication skills that are available and mobile to address site requirements are what planners need to be successful.

Planners need to be able to execute effectively the first time. Deadlines are often tight, meaning fast, consistent communication with their suppliers, managers and teams on-site is essential to coordinating work orders and the associated scopes, plans and drawings. This efficiency leads to effective final implementation and execution.

Communication in practice

A maintenance planner who participated in the research outlined an incident when communication had broken down between the planner, site and the supplier.

A work order had been issued for a set of maintenance components but some of the information was incorrect or not supplied. There wasn’t enough communication between the teams to ensure the information was correct and complete, and the fabricated parts were fit for purpose. When the parts got to site, they didn’t fit, and the maintenance process had to start again to organise the correct parts that were required to keep producing.

Although the situation was rectified, this caused unnecessary delays and inefficiencies on-site. Had the teams clarified all the necessary information from the start, this would have been avoided.

If you want to learn more about the factors that lead to empowered planners and the results this can have on efficiency, productivity and the bottom line download Bend-tech’s free white paper Operational Efficiency: 4 Ways to Empower the Maintenance Planner.