Three ways to add measurable value to a manufacturing organization

How using a maintenance planner can increase wrench time, scheduled compliance, and make the manufacturing floor a more safe and efficient work environment.


1. Maintenance planners can increase wrench time 

A typical maintenance worker's day can be filled with waste.  It is no fault of their own, but it's a plant manager's inability to plan and schedule that causes this waste to occur (See the graph).  Wrench time is defined as the time spent by maintenance personnel physically interacting with the equipment, such as making repairs, performing inspections, applying lubrication. For many organizations, wrench time accounts for just 35% of an employee's day. The remainder of the time goes to many non-value-added activities such as travel time or coordination delays. 

Wrench time is defined as the time spent by maintenance personnel physically interacting with the equipment, such as making repairs, performing inspections, applying lubrication. For many organizations, wrench time accounts for just 35% of an employee's day. Courtesy: ARG
Enter the maintenance planner. The planner's role is to shrink as many of these other factors as possible and add them back to the wrench-time component.  Research shows that we can achieve wrench-time values as high as 50% or 60% with a focused approach to scheduling and planning. 

2. Increase maintenance schedule compliance

Better-planned jobs yield better executed work. The more research and detail that goes into each job increases the accuracy of a plant manager's time estimates, which increases compliance with a schedule. The end result of schedule compliance is getting more of the most important work done in any given week.  This will reduce (or at least minimize) the impact of future failures.  The devils in the details here: greater efforts by the maintenance planner produce better time estimates, which enable superior execution.

3. Contributing to a safer, more efficient workplace

Sometimes the job of the maintenance planner can seem like a clerical nightmare where their job is to fill out the paperwork and account for parts and people’s time. But this is not an accurate portrayal. 

Here is what you add to the equation as a maintenance planner:

  • Safer execution through identifying the hazards in advance
  • Efficient execution through specifying the people, tools, and parts that will be needed.
  • Less busy work through collaborating with the workers on the best methods to be used when the work is executed.

Mike Gehloff has worked in the maintenance and reliability discipline for more than 20 years with a wide range of experience both as a practitioner and a consultant. Mike is the Discipline Leader for both the Work Execution Management and the Operator Care practices. He currently works with the Allied Reliability Group. (Link:

-Edited by Jessica DuBois-Maahs, associate content manager, CFE Media.  jdmaahs(a)

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