The Impact of Maintenance on the Production Process - Achieving High Performance
Abstract: The dissertation is about management of equipment maintenance in manufacturing firms. The overall research objective is to describe how maintenance interacts with manufacturing and explain how it contributes to high performance of organisations. It reports findings from eight papers, each dealing with parts of the overall objective. The empirical data is collected from two surveys to Swedish manufacturing firms and from case studies conducted in four manufacturing plants. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are used in the analyses. The results imply that long-term planned and company-wide integrated maintenance strengthen the competitive situation for manufacturing firms, but that the level of contribution differs between contexts. They also show that preventive and company-wide integrated maintenance is important for companies seeking process control and flexibility, and critical for high performance in high-tech companies. Based on empirical analysis it is hypothesised that for highest performance, companies should simultaneously emphasise soft and hard issues of maintenance, and preventive maintenance. Another finding is that maintenance does not only contribute to competitive strength and performance when carried out in the operational stage of a system’s life cycle. A case study shows that several internal strengths are fixed in the early design phase. Proactive and integrated maintenance should, therefore, be considered in this pre-operational stage. A general finding of the dissertation is that integrating maintenance into manufacturing, for example integrating long-term visions, plans and goals for maintenance, and maintenance activities into manufacturing, seems to be important for overall success. Integration of maintenance knowledge into cross-functional design teams, the OEE measure into the overall manufacturing performance measurement system and maintenance planning into manufacturing planning and control systems are other aspects that most likely lead to improved performance in the average company. However, the studies indicate that many individual maintenance management variables and policies are not characterised by prevention and integration. They are instead under-developed in the average manufacturing firm and could be improved. Two maintenance classifications are developed to improve the understanding of maintenance management within operations strategy. The first distinguishes companies according to their long-term maintenance plans, goals and visions, and their company-wide integration of maintenance. The second is based on preventive maintenance policies, soft maintenance integration and hard maintenance integration.
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