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Q3. Explain briefly how the principles of scheduling, when followed, will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the maintenance management?


Answer:
Maintenance Scheduling Principles
The principles involved in scheduling the maintenance activities. Scheduling follows the vision, the principles, the paradigms, and the fact that an effective scheduling will come through effective planning process. The principles used in scheduling are the ones that enable us to achieve the objectives of forecasted skill levels for each task. This can be attained by working with job priorities and allowing the crew to handle day to day jobs and then measure the compliances.

Routine maintenance needs the use of these laid out principles, as they create a framework for successful scheduling of planned work. Each principle sets the guidelines on how the maintenance should handle different scheduling processes.
Six principles that have greatly contributed to the overall success of scheduling are:
1. Scheduler or the planners plan the jobs for lowest required skill levels, to the extent possible.
2. The entire production unit should honour and respect the importance of schedules and the given job priorities.
3. The crew, inclusive of the supervisors forecasts the available work hours of the highest skills, at least a week ahead and indicate to scheduler.
4. Schedule assigns the planned task to cover available forecasted work hours.
5. Crew supervisor matches personnel skills and tasks while allocating the work as scheduled.
6. Schedule compliance of wrench time provides the measure of scheduling effectiveness and hence must be followed by all concerned.

Principle 1
Scheduler or the planners plan the jobs for lowest required skill levels, to the extent possible. Principle 1 specifies  that the job planners should, as far as possible, be able to identify the lowest skill necessary to complete the scheduled work. The conflict here is that the supervisor, who is supervising the task, has the higher skill capability and expertise  needed to guide the lowest skills while executing the job effectively.

If required the supervisor can change the skill level, based on its availability while allocating the job as scheduled. In case this change is made, the same should be recorded for future reference by supervisor, as well as, the planner or the scheduler.
Job plans should provide information about the number of persons required, lowest craft skill level, work hours or wrench time per level, and the job duration of the scheduled task. While evolving these, previous data available will be referred too.
Additional support required, if any, is also specified. Questions like-Does the job require mechanics or machinists? Does the job require three helpers to assist a certified electrician, when some urgent priorities are specified?

Principle 2
The entire production unit should respect the importance of schedules and job priorities. Schedules prepared by the scheduler may be weekly,
monthly or for the full year. These schedules when released must be adhered to by the maintenance crew members without any deviations. They should also work as per the priorities mentioned in the work orders and as far as possible, should prevent undue interruption in schedules. They should know that the priority for the work is fixed by either the planner or the scheduler and is based on certain decisions taken at higher levels and as per the established plant guidelines
The scheduler may review the schedule periodically and adjust, but of course this is done in coordination with crew members, planners, and the plant manager. Plant priority should be given importance while the schedule for work and all involved should treat the priority fixed as the primary consideration.

Advance scheduling of enough work for the entire week may set the goal for maximum utilisation of the available craft hours. Through this, they can achieve effectiveness in their scheduled work. This type of scheduling will also ensure that sufficient and right work is assigned to the crew.
Inefficiency of the entire task force peeps in if there are any interruptions by lower priority jobs coming in the way of urgent jobs that are in progress. This swapping of a running job and taking an urgent one should be resorted to, only when a true emergency arises. This swapping of the job and taking a new lower priority job must have agreement from the scheduler. In such cases, it is found that it may be better to delay the identified job in full rather than completing half.
Principle 3
Develop a week’s schedule for each crew and craft hours required. First two principles form the base for working on principle 3. Most of the production divisions prefer the scheduler to work on weekly schedules, so that the maintenance crew could be fully occupied and the continuous work on maintenance activities goes ahead. Accordingly, the scheduler develops a week’s schedule for each crew based on the available craft hours against the actual hours required. They also forecast the highest skill required, firms up job priorities, and give details of the information available for such job plans.
Scheduler selects among the works in the waiting list and analyses the backlogs if any, before firming up the week’s schedule. This exercise is done to ensure that he selects the most optimum work of that week’s worth by combining both fresh and backlog works.
The scheduler also needs to forecast the minimum and maximum capabilities of the present crew members and thus allocate them accordingly for the day or week or monthly work allocations. In this process they will also get to know whether work force from outside is warranted or not. Fixing up priorities also gives an indication whether simultaneous attack of the maintenance work is required and if so how many wrench hours the department has to borrow either from outside or within by booking overtime work.

Scheduling and preparing a plan is to ensure that the crew will perform all the works available and those assigned in the total system. This may require proactive approach and hence supervisors should safeguard the work progress in a systematic way.
Certain equipment and machineries require multiple tasks to be done simultaneously, within the lead time available for completion. In such cases, the thinking and processing will change and thus, will require a process of precedence of activities and thereby determining a critical path.
This type of work is often taken up as a project to complete the work where lead time and slack time are calculated and accordingly work is progressed.
Here, both proactive and reactive approach is required by the supervisor and the crew members.
Principle 4
A week’s schedule will assign work for all the available work hour.
Principle 4 tries to bring all the previous three principle together in order to achieve 100% of the total wrench time available in the department. All the works on hand are first prioritised and rated as per the emergency, urgency, periodical, day to day work, some special variety of work, and so on.
A week’s schedule that is prepared and work assigned will cover the total available wrench hours of the department and caters to all types of priorities mentioned above. The tasks being accomplished will consume the total available hours. Accomplishing this will reflect upon the effectiveness and thus, the efficiency of the entire department.
For practicing the above type of 100% scheduling, there must be enough work load, in other words, it is possible if more and more equipments or machineries come under the gamut of maintenance.
The scheduler also prepares and assigns work plans for the following week. This helps the crew to plan their work in a systematic way by not duplicating the activities. But however, the crew will give preference in completing the higher priority work by utilising whatever skills available, than working on lower priority work. Over assigning and under assigning of work is common in industries. It is better that scheduler avoids such cases as these may cause unique problems.
Principle 5
The crew supervisor matches personnel skills and tasks. Any schedule evolved by the scheduler must be issued with all authorisations at least few days earlier to the commencement of the work. This is because; the work order released must be studied by the supervisor and crew members. Also, they have to draw the required materials, tools, and other requirements to start the work as scheduled.
In case the scheduler is not given enough time to evolve the schedule as the work coming is of utmost priority, then a meeting is conducted. This meeting involves the presence of the scheduler with the maintenance chief and the crew men to adjust the emergency work, without disturbing the ongoing works.
It is the job of the scheduler and the crew supervisor to assign the tasks after matching the personnel skills that are available for use. This will help the supervisor in handling the current day's work and any other problems that may arise due to emergency. The crew supervisor needs to ensure that each technician receives assignments totalling to a full day’s work. It is the job of the crew supervisor to balance the variances between the planned and actual times, if any, in the day’s work. Of course such variations are expected to prop up in such activities. If there is a wide variation, then crew supervisor should consult the scheduler before adjustments are made. Although individual jobs show a wide variance between planned and actual times, it gets relatively balanced by the week end.
Principle 6
Wrench time is the primary measure of Planning efficiency and effective Scheduling.
The concept of wrench time is used for measuring the effectiveness of both the planning and the performance of the crew men with respect to the planned hours for each task. In other words, the wrench time is the measure of workforce efficiency and effectiveness of planning and scheduling.
Since this wrench time measurement for each of the maintenance task is important, it is essential that schedules have good compliance by the crew and thus, achieve the results as planned. It is the job of the crew supervisor to track this compliance.
In order to ensure compliance of wrench time continuously, it is advisable for the crew supervisor to keep records of all the measures and tasks date wise.
Planning individual jobs will reduce the time delays such as waiting for parts and tools. As compared to planning, scheduling tries to reduce the delays and hence, adhering to and complying with both becomes priority to all concerned with the job.
When the task is being accomplished, the work sampling of the actual wrench time in between maintenance activities will show the present status and the completion time.

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