An analysis of effective maintenance planning at a steel manufacturer
Moshidi, Mphegolle Ephraim
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Problem statement: Manufacturing and production plants operate machines and equipment that deteriorate with usage and time thus requiring maintenance actions to restore them back to their original operational conditions. Approach: This study investigates the current standard of maintenance planning at a steel manufacturing facility in South Africa. The study begins with a thorough literature study to find good characteristics of planning which should be present at any facility that is optimally engaged in performing excellent maintenance planning effectively and efficiently. A number of key observations from the literature are made indicating that planning is a key component of maintenance and affects excellence in maintenance significantly. The literature recommends that planning should be set and based on key principles to allow for standardisation and efficiency. An empirical study in the form of a survey is then completed to benchmark the current maintenance-planning environment of the steel facility against the good characteristics of maintenance planning found in literature. Results: The results from the empirical study show that the current maintenance environment at the steel manufacturer is not optimal. The following issues are uncovered from the study: no schedulers employed to relieve the planners’ work overload, no guiding principles for planning and standardisation of work planning, no efficient shutdown planning and also no existent measures for tracking some of the key performance areas. Conclusion: Key recommendations to be considered for implementation for improving the status of the maintenance environment at the works include: introducing the scheduler position, standardising planning methodologies according to specific principles and rigorously focusing on overall maintenance improvement using standardised methodologies.