A smarter approach to scheduling? Yes, please!

By | 3 minute read | November 20, 2017

Today, even advanced businesses are using the wrong tools for the job when it comes to scheduling their maintenance and service workers. Planning and scheduling often still takes place on post-it notes, and complex projects are often managed in Excel spreadsheets – with work divided up by supervisors based on gut feel.

Without proper planning and scheduling, maintenance is at best haphazard and at worst costly and ineffective. For example, a properly scheduled worker will complete 30% more work per day than one who is not.

Critical factors like missing parts, skills and even severe weather slow down projects and lead to canceled commitments daily. And yet these factors remain key inhibitors to meeting customer expectations for work completion. Maintenance scheduling and service work that doesn’t consider these factors will often result in unscheduled interruptions, cost overruns, dissatisfied customers and continued erosion of equipment reliability.

How to get the ‘worker-skills-task-time’ equation right

Every project or site manager wants to ensure the right workers with the right skills, are working on the right tasks at the right time. Smarter scheduling practices can help businesses recover as much as 8 hours per worker per week.

Using IBM Maximo Scheduler Plus, an end-to-end work management solution built upon Maximo Scheduler, businesses can optimize their maintenance and service scheduling practices. Not only can they leverage the tools provided to manage large projects but also combining real-time weather and asset data with powerful analytics to drive better insights and decision making. Intelligent, data-driven scheduling within Maximo can have a significant impact across your organization.

“Scheduler Plus contains important new features for municipalities and utilities. We are often forced to delay or reschedule work because of forecasted snow, ice or high winds. Having weather data integrated with Watson IoT streamlines this process for us, while also letting us better manage appointments with residents and technician schedules for greater flexibility and efficiency.”

David Peplinski, City of Cambridge (Canada)


The benefit of these capabilities increases in value as each person in the value chain utilizes them. For example:

  • A planner’s role is to model work steps in job plans. With Scheduler Plus, planners can pull all work into a schedule and graphically link the relationship between various tasks to minimize downtime and maximize productivity.
  • A scheduler assesses resource levels and create rolling work schedules. With Scheduler Plus, he or she can get a better understanding of constraints, and eliminate unexpected surprises with all project details modeled in a single view.
  • Supervisors and dispatchers assign work orders and monitor daily crew work in the field. Scheduler Plus enables staff to minimize wasted work hours, leading to more available crew time.
  • Technicians receive assignments and report on progress and completion. With Scheduler Plus, you can experience faster job performance using clear work instructions that ensure the right parts and the right tools are in the right hands.
  • Customer Service Representatives ensure an organization meets customer expectations. With Scheduler Plus, this team can schedule or reschedule appointments with a clear view in contextual information such as weather, location, and certified technician availability.

“The key new features identified in Scheduler Plus are aligned with our Maximo development path and we see value in what is being proposed and we would implement a high percentage of these features. Of interest would be the dependencies between work orders and tasks, planning buckets and the percentage complete.”

– a large Oil and Gas Company


Four ways Maximo Scheduler Plus can help optimize your maintenance and service scheduling

  1. Appointment booking: Use real-time information to match up technicians and customers based on location, availability and technician’s skillset. Customer notifications can simplify scheduling, cancellation and rescheduling.
  1. Weather Integration: Schedule customer appointments and maintenance tasks based on up-to-date weather data. Planners and dispatchers can see and react to weather alerts, allowing them to schedule or reschedule work accordingly.
  1. Dynamic dispatching: Tap into travel time and severe weather data in the field to rearrange worker schedules and daily priorities. Automatic refresh of the dispatch view shows the latest progress and work details as they are posted.
  1. Tools for managing complex projects: Model and manage complex network dependencies in a single graphical view. Identify and track the critical activities which, if delayed, could impact the project completion timeline.

Learn More

To learn more about how Maximo Asset Management can help you manage your enterprise assets more effectively, contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit http://ibm.com/internet-of-things/iot-solutions/asset-management.