FIRSTLY, why call it work management? Why not ‘planning and scheduling’ as it’s always been known? I’m not usually one for ‘phrase of the week’ but in this case the title of ‘planning and scheduling’ often leads us down the path of ignoring three other equally important elements of work management. If we are to improve the way we operate we must start viewing the role as one of work management, encompassing all of the following five elements: 1. Job Identification and Authorisation 2. Planning 3. Scheduling 4. Execution 5. Close Out and Review The purpose of our work management system is to provide the standardisation and rules to follow in order to lessen, and in time eliminate, the disruptions to the function of maintenance. If our staff are not performing their roles and complying with that system then our process is crippled. As we can see, effective and efficient work management can be a force multiplier and has the potential to increase the effective working time (wrench time) of our maintainers from 35 percent of their day to 55 percent and beyond. Work management processes that are under control provide a foundation from which a strong asset management framework can be erected. Good work management delivers the following: • It defines how work is – identified and authorised; planned; scheduled; executed and closed out when completed. It defines how work is managed in a standard manner across an organisation. • It supports income generation through delivering reliable and consistently performing plant and equipment to operations. • It provides a systematic process through which stakeholders perform work management activities in a consistent manner. • It gives joint consideration and prioritisation to work asset specialists, both operators and maintainers in an effort to sustain the most suitable generation of throughput, today and into the future. To maximise the effectiveness of our assets and specialists we must move away from the current culture of allowing tradesmen to just drift in to the role of ‘planner’. We must recognise the roles of our work management staff and give them the full support they need to carry out their tasks effectively. The process is a living one, subject to continuous improvement. The system will require regular review and update and, most importantly, it will require ongoing training to ensure that all staff acquire the knowledge needed to implement and follow the work management process. The concepts of an effective planning and scheduling system have been around for years. In a world where only the strong survive, it’s imperative that we focus on the costs that are within our control. By expanding what we traditionally see as planning and scheduling into a fully functioning work management process we can help ensure that our organisations will continue to survive. Phil Hurford is manager of the Skills4Work Maintenance Excellence programme. Email email@example.com or phone 027 488 6446.