Maintenance strategy development within SMEs: the development of an integrated approach
Maintenance can play a key role in the long-term profitability of a company in the manufacturing sector, where it can have major impact on delivery, quality and cost. The importance of maintenance has increased, as high productivity and quality can be achieved by means of well-developed and organized maintenance strategies. However, this assumes that maintenance is controlled in such a way that equipment is stopped for maintenance via a systematic schedule. With the recent advances in technology many methodologies, tools, techniques and strategies have been developed and tested. The primary methodologies are Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) and Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM), with variations being developed to suit individual organisations. In general, there can be considerable benefits, but these are usually demonstrated in large organisations. Unfortunately, the majority of organisations are constrained by certain barriers, with the resulting loss of major benefits. These are usually the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). The paper identifies the barriers to the implementation of TPM within SMEs. Based upon our analysis a new maintenance methodology, the Advanced Integrated Maintenance Management System (AIMMS) is developed. AIMMS succeeds through focusing on specific maintenance tasks that will maximise gains based upon the inherent barriers within SMEs. To enable implementation, monitoring and evaluation of AIMMS, a computerized system Maintenance Management (MainMan) was developed and implemented within several of case study companies. The paper examines the implementation process in one of these companies. The results indicate that AIMMS supports strategic maintenance decisions, and helps increase equipment effectiveness by prioritizing equipment criticality and focusing on specific resources that will maximise gains based upon a return on investment.
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