A maintenance planner is an individual who is generally employed in industrial settings to keep machinery in prime condition. This job usually requires technical skills and knowledge of or the ability to learn about industrial equipment. Duties include determining the types of service that need to be done on various types of machines and outlining relevant details for those tasks, such as the parts and tools needed for completion.
When operating an industrial facility, there are two basic options with regard to servicing equipment. It can be done as a preventative measure or as a corrective measure. A maintenance planner is an individual employed by a business that recognizes the value in preventative measures.
Maintenance planning tends to be highly recommended. This process generally involves outlining plans to service the equipment in a plant to help prevent unexpected break downs. Doing so is widely believed to help boost production and profits because broken equipment can result in problems such as interrupted work flow, canceled orders, and overtime.
A maintenance planner is a professional who normally studies and is highly knowledgeable about the machinery in the facility where he works. He uses this knowledge to determine the details and resources needed to keep the equipment operating optimally. He usually works closely with the maintenance scheduler, an individual who decides when work should be done and the parties who should be selected to do it.
The maintenance planner will generally determine what type of work needs to be done to equipment. A piece of equipment may not need the same type of maintenance each time it is worked on, and some types of work may need to occur much more often than others. For instance, the maintenance planner may determine that the motor that operates a conveyor belt needs service annually. He may also determine that to keep the machine operating properly, the grease dispenser that lubricates the conveyor belt needs cleaning quarterly.
His job does not stop with arriving at those conclusions. He then needs to determine the parts and materials that are needed for these tasks. He will likely have the responsibility of obtaining these items, but in some instances he may only have to provide the maintenance scheduler with detailed information about obtaining them.
It is also generally the duty of the maintenance planner to obtain the necessary permits for work that needs to be done. Although he is not the individual who should actually set the appointments, he should inform the maintenance scheduler of the types of skills that will make an individual qualified to do the work. Generally, unless a facility has more than one maintenance planner, he bears these responsibilities for all of a plant's equipment.
The role of a maintenance planner may sound specific, but in many instances employers have broad expectations of these individuals. A problem that has been noted with maintenance planners and employers' treatment of them is that they are often given special projects or assigned tasks that are not related to the work that they were hired to do. Many are also given the responsibilities that should belong to maintenance schedulers. When this happens, there are substantial risks that these individuals will not be as productive or effective in their primary duties as they could be and their employers will not reap the full benefits of having a preventative staff member on board.