In a Good Maintenance Planning Process what does a Maintenance Planner do During the Day?

Maintenance Planning is done by a Maintenance Planner to ensure work is of high quality, with jobs performed safely, quickly and uninterrupted. A Maintenance Planner is totally involved in delivering those outcomes—the duty of a Maintenance Planner is to make future maintenance work successful.



Hi Mike.

Please can you list for me the daily activities of the Maintenance Planner. Assuming he works an 8 hour day.



Hello Friend,

The context of the situation in your operation will influence the answer. However there are some basic issues that always apply.

First let me define ‘maintenance planner’, as this will specify the role and set boundaries. Many people also expect the planner to schedule maintenance. That can be done if the planning task is small, but they cannot also schedule if the requirements to plan jobs are large.

I will give you my definition of a maintenance planner. There are many ideas around as to what a maintenance planner should be doing, but for me there is really only one key function.

A maintenance planner’s roll is to prepare the work for the maintenance tradesmen in order to maximise ‘tool time’ and get the maximum amount of work done. The planner’s job is to get EVERYTHING ready at the job site for the tradesmen to just get on with the job. If the tradesmen lose a minute on a job because they have to look for information or parts to do the work, then the planning was not done well enough.

The maintenance planner’s day revolves around gathering together accurate engineering information, ordering the right parts and materials, providing component assembly details, specifying assembly tolerances, specifying necessary skill levels and abilities the repairer must have, determining any special tools required, developing detailed work instructions and job procedures so the work is done right first time by the tradesmen, getting all the parts together and making sure they are right, compiling the job information together in a format that helps tradesmen understand what is necessary to get the job done fast, right and rebuilt perfectly.

The maintenance planner as a person needs to know their language well, be able to explain themselves well, be able to type and construct sense from words and pictures, they must know their trade well, know their engineering well, know their equipment well, know the maintenance tasks (how to do the job to a top-class level) well, know the organisations’ business processes well.

Scheduling the job is totally different. That involves getting operations to handover equipment on-time, getting cranes and parts there before they are needed … being prepared ‘just-in-time’ … no later and no sooner so the tradesmen can finish one job and immediately move to the next, and so maximise ‘tool time’ while minimising downtime.

A Maintenance Planner’s job is to make the future successful and that means they must focus on planning and preparing for the maintenance work yet to come. A Maintenance Scheduler instead has the job of making sure that today’s work runs to plan and is on-schedule. The Maintenance Scheduler organises, coordinates and monitors today’s work and helps to make today’s maintenance jobs successful. A Maintenance Scheduler will be hard-pressed to also be a Maintenance Planner because the urgent issues of the day will take-up their time—there will never be enough time left in a day to do the maintenance planning as well as it must be done.

I hope that the above comments help you.


My best regards to you,

Mike Sondalini
Managing Director
Lifetime Reliability Solutions HQ


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