Book Review

Maintenance Planning and Scheduling Handbook
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Maintenance Planning and Scheduling Handbook

By: Richard D. (Doc) Palmer

Hardcover - 544 pages
Published by: McGraw Hill
Publication Date: March 29, 1999
Dimensions (in inches): 1.78 x 9.33 x 6.31
ISBN: 0071457666


  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 - Planning is Just One Tool: What Other Tools are Needed
  • Chapter 2 - Planning Principles
  • Chapter 3 - Scheduling Principles
  • Chapter 4 - What Makes the Difference and Pulls It All Together
  • Chapter 5 - Basic Planning
  • Chapter 6 - Basic Scheduling
  • Chapter 7 - Forms and Resources Overview
  • Chapter 8 - The Computer in Maintenance
  • Chapter 9 - Consideration of Preventive Maintenance, Predictive Maintenance and Project Work
  • Chapter 10 - Control
  • Chapter 11 - Conclusion: Start Planning
  • Appendix A - Concise Text of Missions, Principles and Guidelines
  • Appendix B - Forms
  • Appendix C - What to Buy and Where
  • Appendix D - Sample Work Orders
  • Appendix E - Step by Step Overview of Planner Duties
  • Appendix F - Step by Step Overviews of Others' Duties
  • Appendix G - Sample Work Sampling (Wrench Time) Study - Ministudy
  • Appendix H - Sample Work Sampling (Wrench Time) Study - Full Blown Study
  • Appendix I - The Actual Dynamics of Scheduling
  • Appendix J - Work Order System and Codes
  • Appendix K - Equipment Schematics and Tagging
  • Appendix L - Computerized Maintenance Management Systems
  • Appendix M - Setting Up a Planning Group
  • Appendix N - Example Formal Job Description for Maintenance Planners
  • Appendix O - Example Training Tests
  • Appendix P - Questions for Managers to Ask to Improve Maintenance Planning

Our Review

The Foreword to this book (by Robert Baldwin, Editor of Maintenance Technology Magazine) sums up this book nicely when he says that "Most articles and conference papers on planning and scheduling stress its strategic importance, but they do not delve into the practical details because of limitations imposed by article length or conference programming. Doc has leapt over this hurdle with this Maintenance Planning and Scheduling Handbook. There is now a ready reference to take the action-oriented maintenance practitioner to the level of understanding needed to install a planning and scheduling function and make it work". Full of practical observations and tips, this book should be on every Maintenance practioners bookshelf - from those who are just starting to establish Maintenance Scheduling processes and practices at their workplace, to those who are looking to fine-tune their existing processes.

This is a hefty tome - weighing in at 544 pages of fairly dense type, with about 40% of this being in very detailed, and useful, appendices. The book starts by putting Planning and Scheduling into perspective - how does it integrate with the overall Maintenance process (and the needs of the business), and the other maintenance tools that most organisations use. It discusses what planning is, and what it is not, and deals with a few common misconceptions in doing so. It then discusses basic, but key Maintenance Planning and Scheduling principles that Doc has found to work, when implementing Planning and Scheduling processes. Among these principles are

  • that planners should be organized into a separate department from the craft maintenance crews
  • that planners focus on future work - work that has not yet been started. Crew supervisors handle the current day's work and problems
  • that planners maintain records based on equipment tag numbers
  • that planners use personal experience and file records to develop work plans to avoid anticipated work delays and quality or safety problems
  • that planners recognise craft skills - the planner focuses on "what" - the craft technician on "how"
  • that "wrench time" is the primary measure of work force efficiency, and of planning and scheduling effectiveness
  • that job plans detailing the quantity and skills of labour required to perform a job are necessary for advance scheduling
  • that weekly and daily schedules must be adhered to as closely as possible
  • that weekly schedules are developed based on a forecast of highest skills available during that period
  • that the weekly schedule assigns work for every available work hour
  • that the crew supervisor develops a daily schedule one day in advance
  • that schedule compliance is the primary measure of adherence to effective planning and scheduling

While more experienced practitioners may disagree with some of these principles, they are supported by a lot of common sense and detailed discussion, backed up by practical examples.

The book then moves on to discuss Basic Planning - in the form of "A Day in the Life of a Maintenance Planner"It discusses Work Order systems, Equipment Records, Scoping and Estimating, Obtaining Parts, Safety and many other aspects in a very practical, "how to" manner. The next Chapter is on Basic Scheduling - how to create a Weekly Schedule, Staging Parts and Tools, Daily Scheduling and others - again in the same, practical and instructive manner. Further chapters deal with the use of Forms, CMMS systems (although this chapter is necessarily brief, given the breadth of packages available on the market today, and the continuing rapid development of technology in this area), and Controlling Maintenance.

The ample Appendices cover such aspects as:

  • Guidelines for deciding if work is proactive or reactive
  • Guidelines for deciding whether to stage parts
  • Numerous sample forms - covering inspection checklists, labour availability worksheets and many, many more
  • Where to buy office supplies relating to Maintenance Planning - such as tags, labels, files etc.
  • Sample Work Orders
  • Step-by-Step Overview of Planners Duties
  • Step-by-Step Overview of Others Duties
  • Sample Work Sampling (Wrench Time) Studies
  • Work Order System and Codes
  • Guidelines for Setting Up a Planning Group
  • ..and much more

In summary, this is a highly detailed, highly practical guidebook, that all Maintenance practitioners should own. A 5-star recommendation. It is excellent value for money.

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