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What is Maintenance Scheduling? Examples, Benefits, and Process

Maintenance Scheduling

Can you imagine performing your maintenance tasks without a well-structured schedule? No maintenance tasks would be performed properly and timely. If more than 20 percent of your work orders are consistently completed late, it indicates you need to improve your scheduling practices. 

That’s why maintenance scheduling is considered important for all organizations as it helps you plan, organize, and coordinate your maintenance activities so you can perform them correctly and on time.

In a facility setting, maintenance teams are responsible for bringing together all the essential resources to ensure tasks are completed accurately and within the allocated time. This process is known as maintenance scheduling.

With the right maintenance schedule in place, you can boost your facility’s efficiency, improve accuracy, and reduce costs.

But, how can you create the best maintenance schedule?

Every facility strives for top-notch quality while attempting to reduce expenses, downtime, and potential issues. Coupled with maintenance planning, maintenance scheduling helps you strategically map out the best ways to achieve this goal.

In this blog post, let us explain maintenance scheduling, how it differs from maintenance planning, its benefits, its process, some common scheduling challenges, and how to improve maintenance scheduling.

What is maintenance scheduling?

Maintenance scheduling is the process in which the maintenance department plans, organizes, and coordinates all maintenance activities that need to be completed to ensure equipment is working in optimal condition.

As per maintenance experts, the primary reasons behind unscheduled equipment downtime include aging equipment (34%), mechanical failure (20%), operator error (11%), lack of time for maintenance (9%), and poor equipment design (8%). (Source: Plant Engineering, 2020)

Maintenance scheduling helps reduce unscheduled downtime by proactively planning and allocating resources required for maintenance tasks, solving issues before they turn into major breakdowns. Moreover, it helps increase equipment lifespan and enhance overall operational efficiency.

Some common examples of maintenance scheduling include planning, organizing, and coordinating quarterly inspections for HVAC systems or scheduling regular oil changes for a fleet of vehicles every 3000 miles.

What is the difference between maintenance scheduling and maintenance planning?

Maintenance scheduling and maintenance planning are two distinct processes and have different roles in maintenance management.

As mentioned before, maintenance scheduling is a process that entails all the planned work performed by the maintenance team to ensure equipment is working in good condition.

On the other hand, maintenance planning is a strategic process that involves identifying and solving potential issues before they escalate.

An example of maintenance planning would be creating a schedule for regular checks and repairs on a machine to prevent unexpected downtime and ensure optimal efficiency.

maintenance scheduling statistic

What are the benefits of scheduled maintenance?

According to a 2018 Plant Engineering survey, scheduled maintenance takes about 19 hours a week, with 31% reporting more than 30 hours a week and 14% spending between 20 and 29 hours.  

Even though effective maintenance scheduling and planning may have distinct roles, they are usually interconnected. When both are utilized accurately and to their maximum potential, maintenance scheduling can offer various benefits, such as:

Enhanced productivity

With maintenance scheduling, you can ensure maintenance tasks are systematically organized so that they can lead to maximum output.

Increased efficiency

A well-planned maintenance schedule optimizes resource allocation, leading to more efficient operations.

Reduced spare part consumption

With a proper maintenance schedule set in place for inventory management, you can minimize the need for excessive spare parts.

Streamlined workflows

Maintenance scheduling helps align maintenance activities with available resources and streamlines processes for smoother operations.

Minimized injuries and stress

A well-organized maintenance schedule helps prevent rush jobs, reducing the probability of accidents and reducing stress levels.

Decreased downtime

Maintenance scheduling helps minimize unexpected breakdowns, decreasing downtime and improving overall equipment performance. 

Reduced resource relocations

Effective maintenance scheduling ensures accurate and adequate resource allocation, minimizing redundant movements.

 Lower costs

Efficient maintenance scheduling optimizes the usage of resources, ultimately leading to cost savings across the entire maintenance process.

Also Read: What is Scheduled Maintenance? Examples, Benefits, and More 

What is the maintenance scheduling process?

Maintenance scheduling is generally performed by:

  • Maintenance supervisors
  • Maintenance planners

Maintenance supervisors are an integral part of maintenance teams as they are responsible for managing and overseeing all maintenance activities. On the other hand, maintenance planners are specialists who map out maintenance operations.

In large operations with complex maintenance requirements, dedicated and specialized schedulers are often necessary. On the contrary, in smaller setups, this responsibility may fall upon individual supervisors or even the planners themselves.

When scheduling and planning maintenance operations, it is imperative for maintenance teams to take various factors into consideration.

To ensure everything is included, make sure to follow all the steps outlined in the maintenance scheduling process below.

1. Review work orders

Examine the work order, which contains details about the maintenance activity. The maintenance supervisor teams up with the maintenance planner to ensure a clear understanding of the job’s requirements, including the nature of the maintenance task, tools required, safety protocols, and expected results.

2. Procurement of resources

As soon as the work order details are explained, the maintenance supervisor begins the process of gathering all necessary resources, including tools, skilled workers, essential supplies, spare parts, and safety equipment. With proper resource allocation, maintenance tasks can be performed efficiently and on time.

3. Asset accessibility and preparation

Before beginning the maintenance task, it is essential to check whether the asset or equipment scheduled for maintenance is readily accessible and prepared for the task. At the same time, it is crucial to ensure the equipment is in a safe and suitable condition for maintenance operations, so it leads to a smoother and more efficient process.  

4. Allocation of tasks

Once the asset is prepared and all the necessary resources are in place, the maintenance supervisor assigns the maintenance task to an expert technician or maintenance team member. This step ensures that the right individual with the necessary skillset is responsible for performing the task.

5. Monitor progress and implement enhancements

After the maintenance task is assigned, the maintenance supervisor continues to supervise the progress of the task. Monitoring progress ensures the task aligns with the established schedule and quality standards. Moreover, any unexpected issues or roadblocks are timely addressed to prevent delays.   

By following all the steps of the maintenance scheduling process, organizations can plan and execute tasks to optimize maintenance operations, increase asset reliability, and reduce equipment downtime.  

Maintenance Scheduling Process

What are the common scheduling challenges?

The maintenance scheduling process may seem quite simple and straightforward but it is often affected by challenges that can interrupt workflows and reduce schedule compliance. Some of the common scheduling challenges include:

  • Ineffective Maintenance, Repairs, and Operations (MRO) inventory management
  • Lack of communication with operations teams
  • Insufficient in-house training for specialized tasks
  • Problems with suppliers
  • Misunderstandings with contractors

Typically, these challenges arise from the difficulty of working with multiple parties simultaneously. As a result, maintenance supervisors should have strong communication skills, and in some cases, a resolute determination, to ensure all maintenance tasks are performed on time.  


Maintenance scheduling is crucial as it helps you ensure all planned maintenance activities are performed correctly and on time. Organizations can overcome challenges by improving scheduling practices.

This involves several important considerations, such as employing CMMS software to effectively log data from work orders and assets, assigning schedules to full capacity without accounting for potential emergency tasks, and conducting Root Cause Analysis (RCA) to detect and address any inefficiencies within the workflows.

Remember, the primary objective for scheduling maintenance work is to ensure equipment is properly maintained and is working in optimal condition.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is the purpose of maintenance scheduling?

Maintenance scheduling is a process to organize all maintenance tasks to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and prevent issues.

What are the principles of maintenance scheduling?

The six principles of maintenance scheduling are as follows:

  1. Develop a comprehensive work plan
  2. Prioritize and create a weekly schedule
  3. Design a program based on available time and highest skills
  4.  Allocate work for every available hour
  5. Employ a team leader to manage field operations
  6. Evaluate performance as per your schedule

What is the meaning of scheduling?

Scheduling is the process of arranging, managing, and optimizing tasks and workloads within a manufacturing or production process. It is used to allocate resources and maintenance personnel, schedule production processes, and purchase essential supplies.