Schedule Compliance

Everything you ever needed to know about schedule compliance.

(Free) Maintenance Acronyms Guide

What is schedule compliance?

Schedule compliance is an important KPI for measuring the effectiveness of a maintenance program. It tracks how many scheduled maintenance tasks have been completed on time compared to the number scheduled. 

Low schedule compliance means you may be missing tasks or pushing them back due to breakdowns or other maintenance distractions, flagging that you might be in fire-fighting mode. Fire-fighting occurs when you can’t get to the tasks needed to improve equipment reliability because the reliability is so poor – a vicious circle of ever-decreasing reliability.

Most organizations operate in a schedule compliance band between 40% and 90%, with best-in-class maintenance programs producing schedule compliance figures in the low 90%. 

A 100% schedule compliance is unrealistic, suggesting a non-optimized maintenance program, data issues, or excessive maintenance. Drop below 40%, and your operation is in reactive mode.

Schedule compliance formula and calculation

Measuring schedule compliance requires using the following simple formula to give you a percentage:

Here’s a couple of examples.

Example #1

A match factory maintenance scheduler has scheduled 110 planned maintenance tasks for the week. At the end of the week, the maintenance team returned 60 completed tasks.

Schedule compliance = (60/110) x 100

Schedule compliance = 55% 

So the team achieved a 55% schedule compliance. However, the scheduling process calculation is never that simple. Let’s look at an alternative scenario.

Example #2

The maintenance scheduler has scheduled 110 planned maintenance tasks for the week, and the maintenance team cleared 45 of those, plus 45 remaining from the previous week. What do you measure, the 90 completed tasks or the 45? 

Schedule compliance = (45/110) x 100

Schedule compliance = 41%

The team only achieved 41%, as the calculation must focus solely on the tasks scheduled for the week versus the number cleared within that same period. It doesn’t count overdue work from the last period or anticipated work for the next. Neither does it count breakdown, reactive tasks, or work arising due to defects found during scheduled maintenance.

However, these examples are quite theoretical, as we all know that the world doesn’t always function on a predetermined timetable. Sometimes tasks do slip due to circumstances beyond our control, even though the maintenance program is working well and equipment reliability is good. 

To cope with those times – but maintain the integrity of the maintenance program and the KPIthere is a schedule slippage allowance you can use.

Checklist for Creating a Preventive Maintenance Plan

Following a consistent Preventive Maintenance Plan can make life easier. Use this checklist to create your own!

Acceptable schedule slippage

When creating a maintenance package, schedulers plan for the necessary staff, spare parts, and tooling to be available and serviceable. They also trust that production will meet their commitment to handing the equipment over to the maintenance team. 

However, things don’t always go as planned. As Mike Tyson eloquently puts it: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

You will run into production priorities that will require the machine to continue operating, someone on the maintenance team will call in sick, a tool will break, or you will need a spare that has already been used elsewhere. 

Maintenance programs usually have a ten percent rule to account for unexpected events that can derail even the most detailed plans. The ten percent rule states that completing the scheduled task within plus or minus ten percent of the task maintenance interval still meets schedule compliance. 

Let’s assume our match factory maintenance scheduler plans asset management tasks for the week, and two tasks with a frequency of 90 days are left uncompleted by the week’s end. We can apply the ten percent rule in the following way. 

If the tasks occur every 90 days, the ten percent rule states that as long as task completion occurs on or after day 81 and on or before day 99, they have met schedule compliance. Therefore, if the team includes those tasks in next week’s maintenance plan and acquits them, they have met the schedule.

If teams use the rule constantly, with the completion date always after the due date but just within the ten percent boundary, it indicates a maintenance program under stress. You should perform an internal audit to figure out the root cause of why that is happening.

Scheduling a small percentage of tasks early and others late indicates the rule works as intended, allowing the scheduler to flex the preventive maintenance plan to accommodate resource issues, machine availability, or part delays while meeting the intent of the maintenance program.

Preventing the abuse of the “10% rule”

Poor maintenance teams see the ten percent rule as a get-out-of-jail card and try to game the system.

Hypothetically, a maintenance planner might use the ten percent rule on a 30-day task to allow acquittal on day 33. Then they plan the next period for day 63 but call the ten percent rule again, completing the task on day 66, and so on for each period. The task has now become a 33-day task, and the equipment receives one less inspection a year than the manufacturer has recommended.

Maintenance planning for critical equipment always includes a caveat to the ten percent rule to prevent abuse. In our hypothetical case, if you call a 30-day task at day 33, you must call the next period at day 60, retaining the intent of the maintenance frequency. 

A good example is the airline industry, which implemented strict regulatory guidelines to control exactly this situation.

Ways to improve schedule compliance

Organizations trying to get out of the vicious downward spiral of reactive maintenance can break the cycle and gain time to acquit planned tasks and improve schedule compliance. However, it requires a coordinated, widely understood, and agreed-on strategy.

1) Purge unnecessary planned maintenance tasks

When you’re battling to find enough hours in the day to do what’s needed, you don’t want to waste resources on unnecessary tasks. Audit your maintenance program to find duplicates, nice-to-haves, and tasks that add debatable long-term value with no immediate benefits. 

Remove what you can and consolidate the work orders that make your operation more efficient. Agree to pause and revisit tasks which are not a priority but are draining important resources that are currently used better elsewhere. 

2) Phase maintenance tasks to level workloads

Review your maintenance program 12 to 24 months out and model the resource and downtime requirement to identify peaks and troughs. Try to level the playing field: 

  • Pull some tasks sooner (on a one-time basis) so you can perform them in less busy maintenance periods.
  • Try to schedule shorter, less critical tasks during short production stoppages.
  • Have operators complete less technically demanding tasks as part of their startup, shutdown, or handover procedures.

3) Use a risk-based approach to focus your efforts

Use criticality analysis to understand the greatest risks to production from equipment failures, rank these by importance, and focus your reliability efforts on the top three of that list. This process ensures you expend your resources on the areas most likely to improve equipment reliability.


4) Re-baseline your equipment through a planned stoppage

If you struggle to get ahead of equipment reliability, drastic action might be necessary. Agreeing to a planned stoppage of reasonable length allows you to catch up on the backlog of tasks you don’t manage to get to normally. You can modify, upgrade, and replace components where necessary to address a systemic weakness. 

This planned shutdown provides a circuit breaker by re-baselining critical tasks, resetting the scheduled work that’s falling behind, and improving equipment condition. 

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Use a CMMS to improve schedule compliance

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) supports and enhances equipment reliability while monitoring schedule compliance. It is the primary tool by which engineers, planners, and schedulers gain insight and understanding of the maintenance program’s performance through its powerful data collection and analysis capabilities.

The CMMS captures in-service experience to allow data mining that identifies assets with low mean time between failures, trending issues, or poor schedule compliance. The knowledge gained from such analysis informs reliability or rectification initiatives to reduce the volume of reactive maintenance.

The collected data becomes the centralized truth for all key performance indicators and asset performance measures, giving department and senior managers access via dashboards, scorecards, and reports. It provides empirical and irrefutable evidence to assist maintenance improvement initiatives, equipment modification decisions, and requests for capital expenditure. 

At an operational level, the CMMS tracks schedule compliance at the task level, scheduling the tasks to meet in-house or regulatory scheduling requirements, monitoring compliance, and raising alerts on overdue items. 

Creating an upward spiral of reliability

Establishing a best-in-class maintenance program requires an ongoing effort. Be transparent and honest in your inter-company communications, use a CMMS like Limble for timely and accurate information, and work hard on refining your maintenance plan. 

It takes effort and decisive action, but focusing on schedule compliance will create an upward spiral of reliability that increases uptime and saves money.


Why use CMMS software to track maintenance metrics?

Using CMMS software simplifies tracking complex maintenance metrics, fosters data-driven decisions, enhancing efficiency, reducing downtime, and aiding in regulatory compliance all in one.

Is Limble Mobile CMMS app user friendly?

Limble is consistently rated Easiest-to-Use CMMS on review sites like G2, Capterra, and Software Advice. And our customers agree. With our mobile CMMS app, teams experience 30%+ better productivity, on average, requiring little to no training or ramp-up time. Our CMMS app can travel with your team, no matter where they go! Visit our App Store or Google Play for more information.

Can I connect to other systems?

Limble provides seamless, pre-built CMMS Integrations with the most widely used software systems. That means no help from a developer or your IT team is required. Learn more about our integrations.

How secure is the Limble CMMS platform?

At Limble, our world-class data security practices ensure your account information is safe. We use state-of-the-art technologies and industry best practices to maintain a secure infrastructure, including SOC-II Type II certification, regular penetration testing, and continuous security training for our staff.

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