Towards a Simpler Selection Process for Maintenance Strategies

  •  Kenneth Robson    
  •  John MacIntyre    
  •  Robert Trimble    


Recent research at four large manufacturing sites in the North East of England showed that maintenance
organisations were failing because they were locked in a cycle of quick fix and mend despite deploying extensive
planned maintenance policies. Consequently they were unable to plan and formulate strategies because they did
not have the time. Simple and quick tools were needed to select the best maintenance approach for the machines
and the plant. Two possible selection tools were developed. Firstly a truth table was produced based on the key
characteristics of each maintenance approach and these mapped against simplified failure mode combinations.
This offered a quick and easy selection method for machines, based on failure mode patterns. Secondly, the
macro level was addressed using a conceptual model employing a 2x2 matrix. This consisted of two axes, the
level of machine failures and the level of improvement activity. The resulting framework was used to predict
how maintenance organisations would progress from a state of reactive maintenance towards world class. Then
informed by the truth table it was possible to select an appropriate maintenance approach which was most
suitable for each stage. It is suggested that these two methods offer simple and quick approaches to guide vital
maintenance decision making at plants in difficulty. This of course does not preclude the need to develop
maintenance strategies but rather facilitates this process by freeing up time and resources.

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