Development of a multi-criteria hierarchical framework for maintenance performance measurement : concepts, issues and challenges

Abstract: Effective management of maintenance process is critical for economic viability and a long term survival of many industries. In fact, an effective and efficient maintenance process is a must for most of industries to assure asset performance often measured in in terms of high asset availability, high level of safety and good quality, besides value addition. With this recognition, the measurement of maintenance performance has become an essential element of strategic thinking of asset owners and asset managers. The area of maintenance performance measurement is new and emerging. This is even truer for heavy and capital intensive industries. However, measuring maintenance performance is a complex issue and in practice more difficult than measuring the performance of the business or organisation in terms of total out put due to involvement of many intangibles and difficulty in tracing back the business results to investments and other input to maintenance process. It is important that factors influencing the performance of maintenance process should be identified; and measured, so that they can be monitored and controlled for improvement. There are various concepts proposed by researchers for measuring maintenance performance. Some of the concepts used in defining maintenance metrics are unclear of what to measure, how to communicate maintenance performance towards organizational targets, aligning maintenance performance with business goals and strategies. Such ambiguities of maintenance performance are mainly due to not considering complexities involved in breaking down the corporate objectives into measurable targets at the shop floor level; and similarly, aggregation of the measured maintenance performance from shop floor level to the corporate objectives. There is a need to identify factors influencing maintenance performance and analyse various related issues and to develop a framework, which can systematically address these critical issues. Such framework needs to incorporate interrelationship between various factors influencing performance, include desired performance indicators and if possible show their aggregation into key performance indicators (KPIs) at higher level, etc. across strategic, tactical and operational hierarchical levels of the organization. The scope of this research is to study and analyze different concepts, proposed by researchers in this field and as also followed by the industries. To understand and get a clear picture of performance measurement and especially maintenance performance measurement, an extensive literature study is undertaken. Unfortunately, not much literature is available for maintenance performance measurement. Furthermore, an attempt has been made to define various terms and metrics useful for maintenance performance measurements. Using the theoretical frame of reference the interrelationship between influencing factors are studied at various level in an organisation and a general multi-criteria hierarchical framework for maintenance performance measurement is proposed. The proposed framework considers stakeholders’ need, business environment and other relevant factors influential to maintenance effectiveness of the organization. Current practices of two organisations, one in the process industry and the other one in the utility (service) industries are studied in detail and compared against the framework developed in this research. Maintenance performance indicators for nuclear power, oil and gas and railway industries from published literature are also studied and discussed. This research shows that a multi-criterion hierarchical framework for maintenance performance measurement is useful in deciding maintenance policies, procedures and working instructions to monitor and control maintenance effectiveness across various plants and across the industry. Tailor made approaches in developing indicators to address specific stakeholders concern and inform the management of future approaches are recommended. Managing information is key to managing the performance of maintenance effectively. Therefore, application of new and emerging technology such as ICT and implementation of e-Maintenance concept is suggested. The contributions of this study can be summarized are: ' Terms and concepts useful for maintenance performance management, performance measurement, indicators and metrics are discussed and defined. ' An analysis of factors influencing maintenance performance in industrial environment is presented. ' Issues and challenges associated with the maintenance performance measurement are identified, discussed and suggestions are made to deal with them. ' Identified relevant maintenance performance indicators for measuring performance at strategic and operational level. ' A general multi-criteria hierarchical framework for maintenance performance measurement applicable to a wide range of industries is developed.