Many companies rely on the machines that make their products, and it is up to a Maintenance Planner (MP) to ensure that all equipment in industrial and manufacturing settings is running properly. Essentially they create maintenance schedules, maintain parts inventory and work closely with maintenance staff, contractors and outside vendors.
MP's typically work in manufacturing plants. As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected employment growth rate for general maintenance and repair workers, including MP's, is expected to be 6 percent through 2024. A continued resurgence in this type of occupation is expected and is the primary reason for this job growth projection.
Duties and Responsibilities
One main responsibility is to oversee various tasks to successfully ensure that all plant equipment is in good working condition. We analyzed several job listings and other resources and found the following to be core MP duties and responsibilities.
Generating Work Orders and Creating Schedules
Keeping a schedule of required maintenance and completed work is one of the main responsibilities of a MP. They must maintain records of the work history of each piece of equipment and work with plant managers and other personnel to schedule regular maintenance on all machines.
Obtaining Necessary Tools and Supplies
They must be knowledgeable about all types of machines and understand the various tools that are specific to each machine to perform maintenance tasks. They must order and keep an inventory of tools, supplies and parts needed for various types of equipment.
Creating Procedural Manuals
A MP is usually in charge of training for all personnel who conduct maintenance on industrial machines. They will develop manuals covering training, maintenance and reporting procedures.
Strong communication, mathematical, organizational and problem solving skills are among the most important attributes for this position. They should have good eye-hand coordination and possess a strong understanding of mechanical and engineering concepts. A MP should be a detail-oriented individual with the ability to meet deadlines and organize and oversee teams. In addition to these important abilities, employers seek people with the following skills.
Based on job listings and other sources we looked at, employers want individuals with these core skills. If you want to work in this position, focus on the following.
- Creating maintenance schedules for all plant equipment
- Determining the tools and supplies needed for each different type of machine
- Ordering and keeping spare parts for various machines, as needed
- Developing maintenance and training manuals
- Estimating costs of parts and labor for any equipment
While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your skills toolbox and broaden your career options.
- Understanding of basic financial concepts, such as estimating and budgeting
- Advanced knowledge of Microsoft applications, such as Excel
Q & A
Emphasizing the importance of communication skills and technical knowledge, Dan Roberge, president of Maintenance Care, spoke with us about a career as a MP. Our question-and-answer session with Roberge appears below:
What are some of the core duties performed by a Maintenance Planner?
Some of the core duties performed by a MP would include improving the productivity and quality of the work being completed at a facility. One should also have the ability to coordinate multiple levels of labor, including general staff, maintenance team and outside specialized contractors. Materials and equipment management would also be a key component ensuring that all equipment is in working order and following standard compliance regulatory factors.
What challenges do they face?
Challenges would include working with the varied skill level of staff members, language barriers, technology knowledge, and lack of accountability.
What skills are used most?
Skills most often used are solid knowledge of computerized technology, technical and practical knowledge of machinery/equipment, time management, facility management, and good communication skills.
What should someone consider before becoming a Maintenance Planner?
Consideration should be give to the job requirements as well as education level, trade skill level, additional required certifications or courses, and communication skills.
What type of person is successful in this job?
A person who would be successful in this job would be someone who is of a technically based background. A good prospect would enjoy applying both manual and practical skills while being safety conscious. Someone who is a problem solver, detailed, methodical, and good at communicating with others.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a Maintenance Planner?
The most rewarding thing about being a MP would be seeing the tangible results of your work. Knowing that with your expert planning skills, costs will be reduced and equipment will continue to be in optimal working condition.
We have provided a list of additional resources below that can help you research a career as a MP more thoroughly. This list offers professional insights into what it means to be a MP.
On the Web
Michigan Quality Industrial Services Blog – MP's can find helpful tips and information about equipment maintenance using this blog hosted by an industrial cleaning company.
MAPCON Blog – The Maintenance Management blog hosted by MAPCON, a computerized maintenance management company, covers technologies relevant to MPs and other professionals in this field.
Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation Magazine – An online publication with a maintenance section providing articles about strategies, best practices, troubleshooting methods and other topics of interest to technicians and MPs.
American Planning Association (APA) – A professional organization for MPs that offers certification information, conferences and meetings, advocacy activities, publications and online learning opportunities.
Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE) – Formed in 1915, AFE provides such professional development opportunities as webinars and review courses in addition to newsletters and an online journal covering all aspects of maintenance planning and similar responsibilities.
Maintenance Planning & Scheduling Handbook 3rd Edition – Written by a professional MP, this book offers an extensive look at such topics as planning principles, advanced scheduling methods, supervisory practices and planning control.
Reliability-Centered Maintenance 2nd Edition – MPs, technicians and engineers will find useful information regarding maintenance performance, risk management, function and failure analysis and more.
Industrial Machinery Repair: Best Maintenance Practices Pocket Guide (Plant Engineering) 1st Edition – A comprehensive look at installation and maintenance skills, cost management methods and daily duties needed to keep industrial machines of any kind running smoothly.
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The BLS states that the median annual salary for general maintenance and repair workers, such as MPs, is $36,630 in the U.S. The lowest 10 percent in this salary range earn $21,700 and the highest 10 percent earn $60,060. Workers in this field who are employed in Alaska realize the highest annual median wage in the U.S. at $49,710, followed by the District of Columbia ($45,870) and Wyoming ($45,080).