How Coors Brewing Does Maintenance Planning and Scheduling

Mike Fognani, Coors Brewing Company

Many of you may ask, “Why the focus on planning and scheduling at Coors Brewing Company?” Why not Reliability-Centered Maintenance analysis or preventive maintenance or MRO or other best-in-class activities? The short answer is that “We are.”

Our current initiative is to develop an effective and efficient planning and scheduling process for CBC. To do this, the overall process of “perform routine maintenance” must be evaluated. Looking at only the planning and scheduling segment could result in a dysfunctional process.

At CBC, we have embarked on a path we call “World Class Operations”, or WCO for short. WCO focuses on “effective maintenance, autonomous maintenance, quality, set-up time reduction, visual performance measures, 5-S and other principles. These are the principles that will support moving CBC to “best in class.” Why best in class? With today’s competitive environment, companies need to become more efficient than ever before.

This is particularly true in the brewing industry where domestic beer production has been relatively flat over the past decade. New growth and profit opportunities are in the world markets. This is evident by the number of mergers and acquisitions over the past few years. CBC is no different.

WCO objectives emphasize continuous improvement, standardization, and improved cost and execution efficiency. Within WCO, our maintenance teams are focused on enterprise asset management (EAM) and, more specifically, Business-Centered Maintenance (BCM) principles.

These principles assess where we are today and drive goals and objectives to increase our level of performance for tomorrow. This is accomplished by assessing levels of proficiency within the organization and then setting goals for improvement, basically recognizing the principle of “we can’t improve what we don’t measure.”

Planning and scheduling routine maintenance work is a critical process needed to achieve WCO principles at CBC. Within the CBC operational area, we have very diverse business units. They include two brewery and packaging facilities, one of which is the single-largest brewery in the world. We currently have a packaging facility and state-of-the-art brewery in Shenandoah.

Add to this our joint venture business units operating our aluminum can and end manufacturing as well as bottle manufacturing. On top of this, we have Golden, Colo.-based malting operations (which supply malt for our Golden, Memphis and Shenandoah plants) and a very large utilities infrastructure to support all of the activities in Golden.


As you might expect, every group has a somewhat different approach to performing routine maintenance work, and our maintenance teams believe their approach is the “right” approach. Our objective is to develop and implement a “standard consistent” approach to planning and scheduling routine maintenance work which will optimize the reliability and availability of the equipment as well as achieve the lowest total cost of ownership during the useful life of the equipment.

This is a cradle-to-grave approach, but this article will focus on the planning and scheduling aspects. Effective and efficient planning and scheduling is the heart and soul of optimizing corrective maintenance work. Our goal is to achieve greater than 85 percent planned maintenance work.

Our challenges to “a standard and consistent process” are many:

  • Different levels of planning resources available within each group
  • Different levels of personnel performance and experience
  • Maintenance teams are operating in different modes (some in reactive)
  • Change in culture (reward planned work vs. reacting to breakdown work)
  • Possible organizational changes to align with the process
  • Resistance to change
  • Accountability for results
  • Data integrity and consistency (BOMs, master data, history)
  • And then, how does this process interface with SAP?

Suffice it to say that we have many opportunities!

What are the benefits? Developing a standard “perform routine maintenance” process has many benefits to CBC:

  • Consistent, defined process (including roles and responsibilities) for the maintenance teams throughout a diverse organization

  • Consistent standards are the foundation for continuous improvement and best practice environment

  • Over time, a standardized and consistent planning and scheduling process will result in more cost-effective planned work and less expensive reactive work

  • Ability to move maintenance team members from one business unit to the next with minimal onboarding and retraining time

  • Standardized key performance indicators to measure “planning effectiveness” and “schedule adherence”

  • Efficient and effective planning will increase equipment availability, reliability and result in a lower total cost of ownership

  • Spending can be directed to target critical equipment and highest priorities

  • And, of course, optimizing/minimizing maintenance cost per barrel of product produced

Where do we start? To gain agreement at a specific level of planning and scheduling detail at CBC, we have adopted a standard process approach that we call IPSECI, an acronym for Identify, Plan, Schedule, Execute, Control and Improve.

To gain agreement and consensus on a standard process, we convened a planning and scheduling summit a few years back where Asset Care representatives from each CBC operating unit were in attendance. This has been a difficult process given the challenges mentioned previously, but we are making progress!

A standard consistent process starts with defined terminology. We have spent significant time standardizing and defining common terminology – for example, defining what constitutes a “breakdown.” In order to standardize the process, we need to be speaking the same language and principles. This underlies the importance of our WCO and EAM philosophy.

Identifying and Planning

Planning is one of the two focus areas of the improvement initiative; scheduling is the other. As mentioned earlier, planning and scheduling are the critical processes to improve maintenance reliability and equipment availability at the current level of maturity with SAP and within our organization.

Once corrective action is identified on our SAP notification and approved to work order status, each work order must be planned. This includes identifying craft hours, materials, special equipment needs and identifying the preliminary maintenance window when the work will be completed.

Without a work order plan that includes quantities of labor hours, material dollars and other needed resources, progress toward achieving “planning effectiveness” and “schedule adherence” objectives cannot be measured. All of the planning is for naught if quantities are not entered on the SAP work order and tracked during the course of the work progress.

The next step is to create a work plan for a specific block of time. This work plan is then negotiated with a number of stakeholders to identify the maintenance window to complete the work. A work plan is a collection of work orders assembled for a specific piece of equipment or line to be completed in a specified time frame. The work plan is the basis for our scheduling opportunity.

Currently, our most significant challenge is in the area of entering resource quantities (hours and dollars) and dates on the work order. This will require discipline and accountability on the part of our planners, and in some cases significant cultural changes in how they perform their role within the organization. The focus of our KPIs will be to measure “planning effectiveness”, which will be defined in the improvement discussion.

As a starting point in the change process, all planners will be required to enter “one line” operations on the work order. The entry will include total labor hours for a work order (mechanics, electricians, instrumentation techs and others). As our organization matures, we will progress to multiple operations on the work order to improve planning effectiveness. Without minimal information on the work order, measurements to improve performance are not possible.


If you are using SAP in your business, you will know that SAP is not a very friendly system to scheduling maintenance work orders in an effective way. Our teams have tried to use the SAP capacity planning table to schedule work with mixed results. Work orders must be “dispatched” and, when not completed, “un-dispatched”, requiring significant keyboard time.

If the maintenance organization is relatively small, this tool can be of some benefit; however, if you have a significant degree of complexity with many functional locations requesting “capacity” from few work centers, resource visibility becomes a significant issue. Because of the dynamic nature of the SAP capacity planning table, “locking” in a schedule the Friday before the work week is not possible.

This lack of a schedule “snapshot” does not accommodate our WCO principle to measure “schedule adherence” at the end of the following work week. All measurements become a manual exercise requiring a significant amount of resources to create information each week and month.

With the help of outside consulting resources, CBC is planning to “turn-on” the scheduling capabilities in the Project System (PS) module within SAP. We believe the PS module will provide our maintenance teams with a more effective tool to schedule planned maintenance work using WBS (work breakdown structure) and network (schedule) elements. This functionality and the flexibility resides in our SAP system today.

The advantages:

  • A Friday schedule version can be “locked” in and then measured at the end of the planned work week or window.

  • When a maintenance window changes, work orders can be rescheduled in minutes rather than hours.

  • Work orders can be planned to the week or the day.

  • Planned cost vs. actual costs can be measured.

  • Cost and schedule reports can be created easily.

Execute and Control

At CBC, our craft are very good at executing work once they have been tasked with the work orders. I will not spend much time discussing work execution since it is not the primary focus of this initiative. Our challenge in executing work is to develop the craft discipline, accountability and computer skills to enter information into SAP on a shift basis.

Without data entry every shift, work control and schedule adherence becomes very difficult and ineffective. Finding out about unfinished work at the end of the week can have significant impacts on equipment availability and reliability. Unfinished work can result in lost production opportunity and increased maintenance and operations cost.

Closing notifications and work orders are essential parts of creating equipment history and supports our WCO principles of “effective maintenance.” Again, this requires craft discipline, accountability and computer skills to enter data on a shift basis and once the work order is completed. Information entered on the notification and work order is essential to controlling and measuring “planning effectiveness” and “schedule adherence.”

Information entered on the SAP documents supports ongoing reliability engineering efforts to identify repeat failures, bad actors, cause analysis, and supports reducing MTBF and MTTR.


An area that can deliver significant rewards is the continuous improvement process. Organizations often do not institutionalize this opportunity within their work process and lose the benefit of improving task lists, BOMs, quick fix routines and master data. I have a philosophy that once you have caught the mouse in your pantry, why would you turn him loose again?

Our IPSECI process will have the continuous improvement segment built into the process. This will be an agenda item and a focused discussion between craft, planners, schedulers and other stakeholders. Identify and make the improvements when you have the mouse in the trap.

KPIs are to be used as an improvement tool and go hand in hand with the continuous improvement process. Too often, organizations use KPIs as a hammer forcing people to develop “work-arounds” to look good and meet expectations. KPIs should be used as tools to improve performance over time. We started out with the following KPIs:

Schedule Adherence = the number of scheduled work orders completed divided by the number of work orders scheduled

Break-in Work = the number of unscheduled work orders completed divided by the total number of work orders completed

Maintenance Effectiveness = the dollars spent on scheduled work orders divided by the total dollars spent on all work orders completed

Planning Effectiveness = the total hours expended on planned work orders completed divided by the total hours planned for planned work orders completed

In addition to the current planning and scheduling initiative, we are defining business warehouse solutions to support measuring KPIs and reporting results.

Closing Thoughts

How are we going to pull this off and deliver results? Change management and training are the keys to success and represent the lion’s share of the work to be done. Buy-in from the top down and bottom up is essential to a successful roll-out. Integration of the process into the maintenance organizations will require cultural changes, possible realignment of organizations and modification of job roles.

To assure a successful roll-out, a communications plan is being developed and will include one-on-one meetings with senior and middle management. Without their buy-in, the priority to implement the process will be lost. We also are planning larger meetings with the plant technical leads (Asset Care team managers) and planners to communicate the changes in the process and identify potential impacts to the organizations involved.

Training is the next most significant aspect of the roll-out. We are planning two days of training. The first day is the classroom training on the IPSECI process and the SAP Project System tools. The second day of training is the “test drive” of the process and tools using real data for each area.

To drive home the process and cultural changes, planners and schedulers will be asked to use the process and system tools immediately upon leaving the training sessions. KPIs will be reported on a CBC period basis (four-week time interval) to monitor progress and provide opportunity for follow-up training as needed.

The easiest aspect of the process change is configuring SAP to utilize the new tool to schedule maintenance work orders. The toughest hurdle will be managing the cultural change!

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