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What every maintenance planner needs to know about their changing role

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

Work life is changing for those in heavy industry. For most, this change is being driven by digital adoption and acceleration. For people in the field, this is unnerving, a little stressful, and makes for uncertain times. When you type into Google, “digital transformation”, the definition is not clear. There are countless articles written on this phenomenon, dictionary definitions, videos and more, but there might not be a clear answer for your organization and your role within it.


Let’s take a quick step back and look at the current state of technology and how it is impacting a day in the life of maintenance planners across the world.


Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) in the daily life of a maintenance planner


What is the Jobs-to-be-Done (JBTD) framework?

JTBD provides a framework for categorizing, defining, capturing, and organizing the daily tasks undertaken by a role. For maintenance planners, JBTD are extensive and time-consuming. A non-exhaustive list of 15 common JBTD undertaken by maintenance planners include:

  1. Being physically present on site for site inspections and to validate, audit, and check as-built information

  2. Taking photographs of the as-built information and including those visuals in work packages

  3. Gathering the scope for a planned task from several sources, both internally or externally

  4. Gathering priorities that are decided by a team from operations, maintenance, and reliability and maintaining those priorities

  5. Sourcing task steps from original equipment manufacturer (OEM) suppliers, specialists and operations

  6. Coordinating with quality if an inspection test or bump test is required

  7. Gathering historical data of legacy assets available for planned maintenance

  8. Managing closing activities

  9. Producing constraint free maintenance plans, increasing time on tools, and reducing safety exposure on site

  10. Coordinating crews with access to information of limits of workers in the area, and expected productivity rates that contractors rely on in order to bid for work

  11. Coordinating labor, parts, materials, and access

  12. Participating in simultaneous operations (SIMOPS) management workshop sessions involving multi-disciplined teams of management, safety specialists, engineers, and operations and maintenance representatives

  13. Identifying conflicts and developing and/or accessing work packages

  14. Improving workforce productivity

  15. Anticipating and eliminating potential delays through planning and reacting

These jobs-to-be-done are traditionally very time-consuming:

  1. Communication is stilted and piecemeal

  2. Collaboration is difficult

  3. Information is siloed across multiple systems, and is often not available within the maintenance planners network

  4. Tracking information down is tedious

  5. Trusting that the information received is in fact accurate and up-to-date is always a concern

  6. Lack of as-built information frequently requires travel to site to understand the current status of the asset

  7. Spatial awareness of the asset is required as is up-to-date, as-built asset information and procedures that, when available, are themselves located in different siloed systems that are not easily searchable

  8. Accessing up-to-date, real-time information to ensure cost efficiencies are achieved is a constant challenge

  9. Excessive time is spent in meetings investigating and coordinating different schedules, priorities and safeguards to mitigate risks with respect to personnel safety, environment and asset damage, and business interruption while managing SIMOPS

  10. Data and business unit siloes increase the risks of tracking complex conflicts through from identification to resolution, and the challenge is exacerbated when installation work packages cannot be completed due to quality, material or resource constraints

For maintenance planners, this traditional method of completing JBTD takes a significant amount of time that could be used far more productively.


How technology is giving back time

Digital twins are revolutionizing maintenance planning by providing immersive 3D visualizations of sites and assets at a component level, and on a global scale. These digital twins are virtual representations of an asset that span its lifecycle, use simulation and machine learning to help decision making, and are updated from real-time data enabling sustainable asset integrity.


Digital twins allow users to easily search, find all the asset’s historic and current computer-aided design (CAD), geospatial, document management, internet of things (IoT), and operational systems data in a single interface. Users are able to understand and view the data in 2D, 3D, and zoomable 360° panoramic reality. SIMOPS can be managed in a single environment, including work orders, clash detection and existing site conditions. Users can have conversations in a 3D context within the application. Digital twins are especially valuable when they are vendor agnostic, meaning that the application can ingest data from any vendor, aggregate, verify, and contextualize it at an object level.


Along with remote visualization, digital twin software also enable collaboration, labeling, and analysis to the entire asset team, including sub-contractors.


Benefits and outcomes include:

  • Increased productivity

  • Reduced costs

  • Improved safety

  • Reduce site exposure

  • Reduced travel time

  • Enabled collaboration and time efficiencies in meetings, workshops, and communication

  • Reduced risk of field clashes

  • Improved workflow productivity

  • Holistic access to all available historic and current asset data

  • Real time remote site condition analysis

  • Remote emergency training

  • Time efficiency in tracking down data and supplier information with a single source of truth

If you found this to be of interest, here’s more detailed information on how VEERUM specifically optimizes all phases of maintenance management, or download the full white paper on Visualizing the Future of Operations, Maintenance and Reliability.

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