A Beginners Guide to Effective KPIs for Maintenance Planning and Scheduling

Posted by Matt Midas on February 25, 2020


In this series of blogs, we will be discussing performance management, metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) related to different aspects of work execution, reliability and overall asset management. Today’s topic is: Planning and Scheduling.

What is Performance Management?

In the purest sense, Performance Management is an objective-driven process used by high performing organizations that focuses on the health and management of key business processes to ensure organizational alignment and effectiveness in achieving business objectives. Think of any objective you may have within your organization, site or department, and then tell me what the processes you have in place are to meet that objective. If the process is not identified and defined, meeting the objective will be difficult at best and trying to show where you are against that objective will be a fun exercise in data gathering and manipulation.  I have been there in the past, and it is a place I prefer not to revisit.  If your processes are well defined but the data does not fully support the KPIs and metrics, you will be right back to data gathering and manipulation.

Having the Right Data

What you need to consider is the amount of time you spend gathering and manipulating data to be able to produce the Metrics and KPIs you need.   Does this data come from one system or multiple systems?  Do you need to clean up or align the data between the systems?  How trustworthy is the data?  If you are spending time gathering or manipulating data, exporting to excel and running pivot tables, you may be spending time that could be considered wasted time.  If you consider the limited hours in a day and the amount of time spent working, it only makes sense to eliminate the wasted time giving you more time that results in improvements.  Isn’t that what planning and scheduling is all about anyway?

Planning v. Scheduling

So, let’s get started.  Planning and Scheduling are both part of work execution management.  They are two different functions, but typically combined.  They fit together nicely but are separate in that planning is the art of planning the work - identifying and documenting what needs to be done to complete the job, who needs to do it and what materials are needed as a minimum.  It can also include safety related components such as Lock out Tag out, permits, specialty materials and shared tools, which if not available may delay the job. 

Scheduling on the other hand is the art of identifying when the job can be done as a result of various factors such as resource availability, plant conditions, material availability and specialty tool availability.  Doc Palmer has some excellent definitions and descriptions of the differences in his book “Maintenance Planning and Scheduling Handbook”.

Understanding this difference helps us understand that there are different data elements to measure and analyze in order to ensure our processes are accurate and being followed.  It also helps us visualize any discrepancies in our planning and scheduling efforts.

A few other things to consider related to planning and scheduling are based on averages across all industries;

  • Average “wrench time” (maintenance efficiency) is 25 - 35%. Leading practice is more than 60%.
  • Maintenance Overtime – average in the US: over 14%. Leading practice is below 4%)
  • Reactive maintenance results in higher maintenance cost.
  • Planned work versus unplanned work has a cost ratio of 1:5 – that is, unplanned work is 5x the cost of planned work.
  • All work has the potential for delays and will benefit from historical analysis and planning.
  • It is a Best Practice to have over 80% of all maintenance work planned.

I think everyone would agree that if we can increase the “wrench time” we can see significant savings across the board.  There is a wealth of information available on what those savings are and how they can be achieved, but are we looking at the right metrics and KPIs to help us align our efforts and visualize our results so we can take the necessary action at the right time?

The following image shows an example of what goes into managing our assets and what drives work execution, and in turn what we could look at when developing metrics and KPIs.


Metrics v. KPIs

One more thing to understand is the difference between a metric and a KPI.  A metric is simply a number or a data point that does not give us enough information to act.  As an example, we completed 285 work orders this week.  Great, let’s have a party and celebrate…… but what does it mean compared to last week?  How about the number of hours worked, or the overall cost of the work?  Or the breakdown of PMs to CMs to PdMs or the change week over week.  That’s what a KPI can tell us.  KPIs are management tools intended to drive action.  In addition to the metric or measure, a KPI must be clearly associated with a specific strategic goal or objective, must identify a timeframe in which a target level of performance is expected or committed and must have ownership and responsibility clearly identified.  A KPI applies meaning to the metric that allows us to make fact-based decisions.  While we completed 285 work orders, it was only 73% of work orders scheduled for the week, which compared to last week is down from 85%.  Why?  What happened?  See the difference?

KPIs for Planning and Scheduling

Let’s look at some KPIs we could be tracking related to Planning and Scheduling.  Note that your organization’s individual objectives will drive what KPIs should be tracked and the objectives should be aligned with your strategy and goals.

Planning & Scheduling Metrics

  • Schedule Coverage
  • Scheduled Labor Percent
  • Scope Stability
  • Scope Identification to Scope Freeze Stability
  • Schedule Readiness
    • Material Readiness
    • Walkdowns Complete
  • Emergent Work
  • Schedule Adherence/Schedule Compliance
    • Work order completion (timing)
    • Jobs completed vs. jobs scheduled
    • hours completed vs. hours scheduled
  • Break-In Work
  • Deferred Work
  • Carry Over Work
  • Late Completed Work
  • Percent Planned Work
    • work orders processed thru planning over total work
    • Planned work vs. Unplanned corrective work
    • By work type
    • Percentage of work order hours by work type
    • Percentage of work order hours by asset class
    • Percentage of hours captured on Work Orders
  • Percent Scheduled Work
    • Work order labor hours scheduled vs. total labor hours available
  • Backlog
    • Work Orders with Hours
    • Number of Work Orders
  • Planning Efficiency (Estimation Accuracy) based on activity
    • Labor Hours – actuals vs estimates
    • Downtime
    • Mean Time To Repair
    • Parts & Materials – actuals vs estimates
  • Maintenance Productivity
    • Wrench Time
    • Labor Utilization
  • Percent Work in Progress/Scheduled (Status)
    • Past schedule date
    • # hours
    • # jobs
  • Scheduling Efficiency
    • Schedule Compliance X % Scheduled Work

The goal of performance management is to ensure our objectives are aligned with our processes, people and data so that our metrics and KPIs are meaningful and actionable.  The bottom line is – if you don’t or can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. 

“Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.” W. Edwards Deming

Cohesive Solutions helps organizations optimize and continuously improve their asset management programs. Join us on Thursday as we continue our performance management webinar series with the first of 5 steps to begin your data driven performance management journey. 

Learn more about how we help organizations turn trustworthy data into actionable insights.

Topics: enterprise resource planning, planning and scheduling

Written by Matt Midas

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