Maintenance Planning 101

How to make the most of your time and resources

Congratulations! You are the new maintenance manager of Megamonolith Corporation. Although he is excited about the position, he realizes that he has a lot of work ahead of him. Megamonolith recently bought another company and you are assigned to the site. During the first six months, you perform a facility audit and discover that the previous maintenance program consisted of breakdown repairs only. (For information on facility audits, see my white paper “The Facility Audit” available through my website at

One of the first things you should do is establish a work coordination and management program that helps you and your staff identify, prioritize, plan, and track corrective actions. The same process should be used by everyone involved in maintenance and at each location. How can you do this?

The system we propose provides these important benefits:

1.Easy retrieval and dissemination of information.

2. Guarantees an immediate response to emergencies and security related problems.

3. Avoid wasting time.

4. Provides easy-to-follow guidelines and standards.

5. Use commercial software.

6. Establishes procedures.

7. Highly profitable.

The central point of a maintenance planning system is the Work Reception and Coordination Center, or WRCC. Depending on the size of your facility, this may be a group of staff or a single specialist who may even be an outsourced service provider. The WRCC is a single submission point for all job applications; prioritizes and coordinates all work requests and provides a current status of all work in progress. Through the use of database applications, the WRCC provides critical information including priority shops or contractors, leaders and attendees, and ensures that standardized forms and processes are used.

A word about priority. Regardless of the final form of your maintenance planning program, you must ensure that work requests are responded to appropriately. Here is a suggestion:

Priority 1: Threat to life, health, or safety. Requires an immediate response on site.

Priority 2: Harms working conditions, affects ADA/disabled access or code requirements, but does not meet Pri-1 criteria. Requires acknowledgment within 1 business day.

Priority 3: Highly desirable, will improve productivity, customer service, and/or working conditions.

Requires acknowledgment within 2 business days.
Priority 4: Desirable, routine work or improve community relations. Requires acknowledgment within 2 business days.

Some companies set another high-level priority for C-level staff job requests, which could be listed following Priority 2 or 3 in the matrix above.

Here is a flowchart for the work request:
1. Incoming work request –> Priority 1?

Yes, notify the facility manager and send the work order to the main shop immediately. The lead workshop begins work.

No, go to step 2.
2. Decision: Does the work meet the criteria for planning?

Yes, the request goes to the maintenance planner and then to the facility manager for approval. After installation

Manager approval, work order is sent to main shop or archived for later use when funds and

the resources are available.

No – If within the WRCC authority, the work order is generated and sent to the main shop for action. If the request is

Outside of WRCC authority, the work order goes to the facility manager for approval and scheduling.

The facility manager has the authority to reject and/or schedule all work orders.

Under normal conditions, the job application would be submitted by the manager of the department of origin. Priority 1 requests are the only ones that need to bypass this important step.

The WRCC decides if the work meets the planning criteria to ensure that labor, budget and equipment resources are available. Routine work that is within the scope of WRCC authority results in a work order being sent to the main shop. Other requests go to maintenance department personnel and then to the facility manager for final approval before being issued as work orders.