Planning Using the M3 Planning Workbench

This document explains the process for planning using M3 Planning Workbench (M3 PWB).


Planning provides the opportunity to identify future constraints with labor, material and tools capacity and allows the organization to plan for these events by, for example, rescheduling maintenance work or bringing in additional labor or material resources. Planning is critical to allow the organization to prepare for these events, by, for example, employing additional engineers and providing them with the required level of education before the planning constraints occur.

Before you start

A correct planning configuration must be defined as described in this document: Establishing Basic Data Planning.

Follow these steps

  1. Scheduled Maintenance

    A scheduled service with critical operations, materials and maintenance limits is created in 'Service. Open' (MOS300). Ideally, these services should be configured with the 'Scheduled Service' parameter set to '1', this will allow the service requirement planning engine to generate every occurrence of the service as work requests for as far forwards into the future as the system planning horizon allows.

    This means for example, that a 12 weekly service would be generated as multiple work requests, each one with the release date set according to when it will be needed. Of course, when each record is created, the associated labor and material requirements etc. will also be created.

    By using this technique, the M3 Planning Workbench (M3 PWB) can provide an accurate view of the maintenance work into the future. If continuous net change is activated for the service or equipment (recommended), then when you exit (MOS300), the service will be created as a work request.

    Note, if your scheduling limits are based on non-calendar meters (running hours etc.) you should also have an operation forecast in 'Operation Plan. Open' (MOS380).

  2. Customer Demands

    Unplanned customer demands, such as breakdown or where an agreement or regular maintenance is not in place, can be created in a number of ways. They could, for example:

    • Be created as work requests in 'Work Request. Quick Entry' (MOS185). When this work request is released to become a work order, it could automatically create a Maintenance Customer Order.
    • Be created as Maintenance Customer Order first in 'Maint CO. Open' (COS100) and then the work request could be created from that function.
  3. Work Request Management

    In 'Work Request. Open' (MOS170), existing work requests can be reviewed and if necessary, updated. Work requests coming from scheduled services should need little further estimation as all of the necessary prerequisites should have been established when the service was created.

    Customer demands will almost certainly need some level of preparation to establish the activities required to complete the work (operations) and the necessary materials, tools, procurement demands and skills. Work requests can be packaged together using a 'work scope'; this allows a group of related jobs to be managed together.

    Prior to the work being started (usually identified by the release date), the work request will be released to become a work order. This process can be manual or automatic, based on the planning policy.

  4. Work Order Management

    Work orders identify work that is due to start shortly or already in progress. Work orders are very similar to work requests, but will be used to report back actual information such as time taken, text and error codes.

    From a planning point of view, work orders are not usually as important as work requests because they are due to take place soon and therefore do not offer the a great deal of flexibility for re-planning. Work orders are usually taken care of in the scheduling process.

  5. Macro Orders

    Macro orders are automatically created when a work request is generated and are then maintained by the system when situations such as the release of the work request occurs, deletion of records or re-planning of records takes place. Macro orders can have a one-to-one relationship with a work request or work order, but can also aggregate several requests or work orders together to simplify the planning process.

    Macro orders are necessary for the M3 Planning Workbench (M3 PWB) to operate. Macro orders can be viewed in 'Macro Order. Open' (RPS300). Macro order details such as macro order operations and materials are only generated when the records are imported into the M3 PWB for the first time. There is, however, an option in (RPS300) to generate them manually.

  6. M3 Planning Workbench

    M3 Planning Workbench imports work requests and work orders and then displays the future impact of that maintenance work on the organization. It can, for example, show the capacity of the various teams of engineers (work centers) within a depot and indicate how much load they would have on a weekly, monthly, 6 monthly etc. views. M3 PWB also takes into account the effect of maintenance work on the availability of critical spare parts and other materials as well.

    M3 PWB will show future customer work and indicate if that work is on schedule or delayed. Using the features of M3 PWB, planning issues can be resolved by, for example, work can be rescheduled in time, moved to a different work center or to a different depot. Information in the M3 Business Engine is only updated when the user chooses to download the changes from M3 PWB.

    Full details of the functionality and operation of the M3 PWB are found in the product documentation.

    The M3 Planning Workbench must be installed on the client PC and licensed. M3 PWB must also be configured to access the server and API port. These processes are described in the M3 PWB documentation.

  7. Planning Decisions

    After a planning session, the 'decisions' or changes made in the M3 PWB are returned to the M3 Business Engine. These decisions can be updated automatically within the Business Engine or can be frozen until approved or updated by the user. The setup is described above. You use 'Action Log. Open' (CMS050) to view, update and approve the decisions from the M3 Planning Workbench.

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