Managing Your Maintenance Schedule During Peak Holiday Season
No one wants to pick up an early-morning shift on Christmas day to fix broken down equipment when they could be spending time with their family. Likewise, manufacturers don’t want to worry about overworking a smaller staff or cutting out critical maintenance as they run up against the holidays. Avoiding these situations means thinking ahead. Now’s the time to start planning the holiday maintenance schedule, identifying and working around the barriers it presents.
Account for staffing expectations
Like retail and other commercial businesses, manufacturers are subject to staffing problems during the holidays. People take time off to spend with family, often traveling to see them. In the event of emergency maintenance or repairs, not everyone will have the availability or ability to come in. Moreover, budgeting may not always allow the double, triple, or even quadruple holiday pay staffing emergencies demand.
Combating holiday staffing means thinking ahead. How much can you plan to get done ahead of absences? What contingencies are available to deal with the unexpected?
To account for staffing interruptions, be proactive in planning maintenance and repairs. Move up tasks within an acceptable tolerance of their original schedule and finesse them into the workflow without creating artificial burdens. It’s also smart to dedicate a small portion of work to a reliable outsourced firm to ease the burden on staff before the holiday. This same firm also can step in to provide critical services if and when staff becomes restricted or unavailable due to time-off or budgeting constraints.
Stay cognizant of affective variables
Your schedule isn’t the only one that’s important. It’s also crucial to plan operations around suppliers, partners, and customers. Adjustments to their schedules will greatly impact your own.
You may have to order parts and components further in advance to get them before the holidays, or place specialty orders to account for proactive maintenance. For customers, higher production and early fulfillment may be necessary to meet end-of-year deadlines. Partner companies may see an influx of work during the holiday season, which means scheduling services further in advance.
Being mindful of these variables and factoring them into MRO operations well in advance is one of the best ways to avoid scheduling conflicts.
Avoid holiday pitfalls
Staffing and scheduling aren’t the only reasons to think ahead for the holidays. Factors like inclement weather, illness, and logistical setbacks are commonplace — each affecting your operations in different ways. These unpredictable variables are hard to plan for, which makes proactive MRO even more important this season.
Taking MRO into account and being proactive before the holiday season will protect you from the frustrations and costs associated with reactive maintenance. And while it’s nearly impossible to account for and predict problems, that shouldn’t stop manufacturers from addressing as many as possible upfront.
Proactive MRO can help maintenance workers enjoy the holidays with their families. Operationally, it can prevent malfunctions and mitigate the compounding costs of emergency repairs. It can even help keep operations on-time and in-tandem with supplier, customer, and partner schedules. In short, proactive MRO is the best gift you can give your factory this holiday season!