Industrial Maintenance has evolved rapidly to become an important factor in any national economy.
In this study Maintenance is looked upon as an administrative problem rather than a technical one. Therefore, it is not the technical department that should be studied in the first place, but the whole integral or overall control of the maintenance process in the factory, in which several departments are involved at the same time.
The purpose of the study is then to find an answer to the question, whether there can he designed an effective system or basic pattern of administration, and, if so, under which conditions or circumstances, that can cover the overall control of the maintenance process in a factory.
Up to 1970, Maintenance seemed to he regarded in the Netherlands and other industrialised countries as mainly the problem of the technical department, and the well-functioning of this department was to depend on the existence of an appropriate system of specialisation and efficiency. In practice however, it created red-tape and low quality performance of maintenance work. So, after 1970 the above mentioned idea was gradually abandonned, and the discussions then increasingly focused on the problem of co-ordination or co-operation between the technical department and the other relevant departments.
Therefore, since the beginning of the eventies the growing attention in the industrialised countries was towards integral concepts concerning the control of machinery and buildings. In this context the most important concept seems to be the Terotechnology idea, which is integratedly concerned with the installation, the efficient operation, and the maintenance of equipment and machinery. The need for good management then becomes obvious, and increasingly management is regarded and recognised everywhere as the crucial factor for maintenance control.
Decentralisation or delegation of authority bound to clear-cut well-defined policies down from the top of the organisation are seen as ways to improve management for maintenance control. Matrixorganisation and job enlargement, together with computerised information systems, are increasingly becoming very important.
Numerous books and writings on maintenance management are mentioning at different places 'tailor-made' organising, but no guiding principles for its practical application can be found to solve maintenance management problems in practice.
Nothing important can be said about the development of a Maintenance Theory as such up to the present, while the need for appropriate maintenance technology is apparant as the basis for effective decisions concerning the controlling and optimising of maintenance in general.
In this study, a special approach to organisations has been used in the analysis and research of the maintenance problem.
The thoughts on organisation theory as have been laid down by Kampfraath in the sixties, focus on the aspect of administrative processes and their results, rather than on organisational structures. In this context, administrative results are kept in so-called'four basic administrative concerns', namely: the strategic, the conditioning, the effectuating, and the operational concern. It is obvious however, that in practice continuous attention should he paid toward each of thew concerns. The performance of the administrative tasks is indirectly influenced by so-called 'administrative conditions'. Four categories of administrative conditions am to be taken into consideration: the administrative personnel, the organisational rules and arrangements, the provision of information, and the administrative means (computers, methods, models).
One basic point of view should he born in mind however, namely the fact that there is not one single 'best way of administration' that can be designed which is universally applicable. Every problem, every case or object of concern needs some kind of 'tailor-made' solution. In this matter, the concept of 'level of perfection' can be formulated as to provide for the measurement of administrative processes.
Based on the above-mentioned 'administrative concerns', the administration of maintenance can be confined to the following six fields of attention, i.e. (1) maintenance and business strategy, (2) determination of maintenance needs, (3) maintenance strategy, (4) control of the technical department, (5) work preparation and study, and (6) work flow control.
Every 'field of attention' as mentioned above has been made measurable according to 'levels of perfection' (using rates 0-100). Besides, the most important quantifiable elements of each of the four categories of 'administrative conditions' are grouped and scaled for the purpose of their rating. To determine the most appropriate pattern of administration, several factors of influence are to be recognized, such as: administrative-technical factors, some elements of the business situation directly affecting the company, the maintenance policy, and cost-benefit analysis results of the maintenance.
This study is ultimately meant as in attempt to find an answer to the question about wich factors are essential to the choice of a way or pattern of administration, and particularly to arrive at the most appropriate system of administration for maintenance management in a given situation.
For this purpose, some 149 big industrial films in the Netherlands have been studied from 1973 to 1977. The investigations have been conducted primarily through the questionnaire method, using forms with a multiple choice to several possible answers. The questionnaire used had first been tested in a specific firm, then applied to five branches of industry, namely: the graphical industry, the chemical, the food processing, the metal works, and the electrical industry, but in addition, also a group of firms working in paper, textiles, tobacco, and building materials.
The processing and analysis of the data collected are performed along a standard procedure.
High as well as low 'levels of perfection' have been found in practice during the study, depending on certain specific elements in the business situation (particularly concerning the maintenance, being intensive or extensive), and on the maintenance policy. The study revealed that the average 'level of perfection' among the above-mentioned 149 firms was 46 (at the scale of 0 to 100) at a rate or extent of maintenance of about 50 man/years.
The study has also found some indicators to determine the desirable or proper level of perfection for each of the six fields of attention, relating to costs and benefits of maintenance. It is surprising, however, to find that in some firms a rather low level of perfection proved to be an appropriate system of administration. In general, it can be said that there should be some kind of balance or constancy in the levels of perfection within each of the six fields of attention. Particular policies on maintenance may lead, however, to deviations. Therefore about ten typical 'perfection patterns' could he identified.
The higher the levels of perfection, the more conditions or provisions are required in terms of organisational rules and arrangements, of information, and of administrative means. In the case of administrative personnel as one of the four administrative conditions, for instance, a change of qualitative requirements may occur.
The conclusion may be drawn form the study that the organisation of maintenance administration required some kind of tailor-made solutions, which, as the study has inter alia shown, can be found and formulated properly.
However, special attention should be given and mention should be made to the fact that the results of this research or study project depend rather largely on: the personality of the researcher, the specific way of looking at organisations, and the methods of study used.
The approach toward organisations used in this study can he called 'decision making oriented', in which administrative behaviour is central. The explicit orientation towards 'administrative result' in terms of so-called 'administrative concerns' is the essential difference with any other approaches.
As far as the methods of investigation is concerned, they can be stated in terms of inductive, descriptive and problem-oriented, with a rather high level of quantification. The study-project can be characterised as scientific research, and an attempt to provide answers to realistic questions of practical life in firms, so that the result of the investigations may be applicable in many ways.
It can be noticed that the most important remarkable developments in maintenance and its related problems are due to the increasingly growing complexity in production machinery set-ups, in the increasing involvement of so many disciplines, in the increasing costs of breakdowns of machinery as one of the hazards of automation, in the growing concern about condition-based maintenance, and finally in the problematic necessity for decentralisation of decision making. These developments naturally lead to changes in the nature or pattern of administrative processes concerned.
On the one hand higher levels of perfection are required or necessary in the fields of maintenance related to business policy, and the determination of maintenance needs. On the other hand, however, lower levels of perfection are likely to occur more often in the fields of work preparation and work-flow control. Next more attention should be paid to maintenance studies and analyses.
In this matter a number of conditions will especially contribute to the required or desired changes in the administrative processes, of which the most important tendencies arc: management development, co-operation design, decentralisation of authority, goal- or objectiveoriented information systems, and automated or computerised information processing. Specific solutions however should be adapted to the requirements of the specific situation, as made measurable by means of the research findings.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Award date||22 Jun 1984|
|Place of Publication||Wageningen|
|Publication status||Published - 1984|
- decision making
- operations research
- work flow
- linear programming