Organizing your team’s work

Organizing work so it can be assigned to the right people at the right time is one of the more difficult challenges of achieving plant and facilities maintenance excellence.

Do your 100 team members have a clear idea of the work on their plate each day? Or when they show up for work, do they mill around, seek out supervisors, and search for required tools and protective clothing before they can even start work?

Organizing your team’s work effectively and efficiently involves three important ingredients:

  • Work priority/category
  • Dedicated resources
  • Schedule compliance

Work on the right things at the right time

If you don’t prioritize and categorize your work, you will not work on the right things at the right time.

Prioritizing isn’t enough; you must also put it in the context of the type of work. For example, a #1 priority for project type work may not be as important as a #1 priority for operations or preventative maintenance type work. Consider adding target dates to take this a step further towards defining when the work needs to be done.

Make sure priorities like 1, 2, 3, or 4 have definitions that are meaningful to the planning and scheduling process. Here’s an example:

  1. Emergencies – Must be done immediately or as soon as possible
  2. High – Serious adverse operational consequences (within 24 hrs)
  3. Medium – Must be addressed if resources are available (within 3-10 days)
  4. Low – Can be done whenever time or resources permit (within 3-5 weeks)

Get the resources you need

Dedicated resources are required to ensure that you can do the work you need to do.

Labor must be assigned and dedicated in order to effectively plan work.

Come up with a method for getting organizational commitment to dedicating available resources. Here’s an example:

Total # of people in department 100
# of sick/vacation/absent -20
Total # available for planned work 80
Project work -10
Routine maintenance -30
Preventative maintenance -25
Emergency, unplanned -5
Remaining for Planned Work 10

Calculating schedule compliance

You don’t know how you have done unless you measure what you have done.

Did you do what you planned to do when you said you were going to do it?

The ingredients discussed above provide the foundation for planning and scheduling your work. Also consider materials (what good does it do to send people out on a job without the materials they need to accomplish the work?).

Over-schedule work to accommodate work that may be finished earlier than expected or was not able to be started because of unforeseen circumstances.

You improve the things you measure, so develop metrics to measure performance.