Maintenance Management: Importance, Objectives and Functions

After reading this article you will learn about Maintenance Management:- 1. The necessity of Maintenance Management 2. Importance of Maintenance Management 3. Objectives 4. Functions.

The necessity of Maintenance Management:

Maintenance activities are concerned with the repair, replacement, and servicing of individual components or groups of components in a manufacturing plant so that they can run at a certain 'availability' for a set length of time.

Thus, maintenance management is linked to the coordination and organization of diverse resources in order to maintain a certain level of availability and performance of the industrial unit.

As a result, maintenance management can be seen of as a restorative function of production management, tasked with keeping equipment/machines and plant services in good working order at all times.

The basic goal of maintenance has always been to reduce machine breakdowns and downtime, but the tactics used by maintenance management to achieve this goal have changed dramatically in the past.

Maintenance has traditionally been thought of as just repairing malfunctioning equipment and putting it back in working condition in the shortest amount of time possible.

The demands on the maintenance function were not very significant due to the use of largely general purpose/conventional machinery with limited manufacturing output. However, the industrial landscape has changed dramatically due to rapid advances in design, development, and control mechanisms such as electronic, NC, and CNC in machine tools.

The trend to adopt standardisation and interchangeability of machine parts/components has increased as dimensional tolerances and surface polish have become more demanding.

Even minimal downtime causes severe production challenges, both technologically and economically, in today's production setups. All of this is attributable to the industrial market's fierce rivalry. Effective and properly conceived attempts to modernise maintenance management have become a necessity in the current circumstances. 

Importance of Maintenance Management:

Maintenance management is in charge of ensuring that the industrial plant runs smoothly and efficiently, as well as assisting in the improvement of production.

It also aids in maintaining the machines'/equipment's optimal operating conditions. As a result, plant maintenance is a crucial and unavoidable service activity of a well-functioning manufacturing system.

It also aids in the maintenance and improvement of the plant's operational efficiency, which contributes to revenue by lowering operating costs and enhancing the quality and quantity of the product produced.

It is associated with the incurrence of certain charges as a service function. Employment of maintenance workers, other minor administrative expenses, investment in maintenance equipment, and inventory of repair components/parts and maintenance materials are all major components of such costs.

Lack of plant maintenance may result in frequent machine breakdown and failure of certain productive centers/services, resulting in production stoppages, idle man and machine time, dislocation of subsequent operations, poor quality of production, failure to meet product delivery dates, industrial accidents endangering the lives of workers/operators, and allied costs, among other things.

Plant maintenance, on the other hand, varies in importance depending on the type of plant and its output, but it plays an important part in production management because plant breakdown causes difficulties such as:

(i) Loss of production.

(ii) Rescheduling of production.

(iii) Materials wastage (due to sudden stoppage of process damages in process materials).

(iv) Need for overtimes,

(v) Need for work subcontracting.

(vi) For maximum manpower utilization workers may need alternative work due to temporary work shortages.

As a result, not having a planned maintenance service is more expensive. As a result, it should be provided based on a cost-benefit analysis. Plant maintenance should be supplied at the lowest feasible cost because it is a service function, yet it is extremely vital, as described above.

Objectives of Maintenance Management:

The goal of maintenance management is to improve the performance of an organization's productive facilities by ensuring that they operate frequently and efficiently. This can be accomplished through preventing as many failures or breakdowns as feasible, as well as minimising output losses caused by failures.

The main objectives of maintenance management are as follows:

(1) Minimizing the loss of productive time because of equipment failure to maximize the availability of plant, equipment and machinery for productive utilization through planned maintenance.

(2) To extend the useful life of the plant, machinery and other facilities by minimizing their wear and tear.

(3) Minimizing the loss due to production stoppages.

(4) To ensure operational readiness of all equipment’s needed for emergency purposes at all times such as fire-fighting equipment.

(5) Efficient use of maintenance equipment’s and personnel.

(6) To ensure safety of personnel through regular inspection and maintenance of facilities such as boilers, compressors and material handling equipment etc.

(7) To maximize efficiency and economy in production through optimum utilization of available facilities.

(8) To improve the quality of products and to improve the productivity of the plant.

(9) To minimize the total maintenance cost which may consist of cost of repairs, cost of preventive maintenance and inventory costs associated with spare parts/materials required for maintenance.

(10) To improve reliability, availability and maintainability.

Functions of Maintenance Management:

The important functions of maintenance can be summarized as follows:

(1) To develop maintenance policies, procedures and standards for the plant maintenance system.

(2) To schedule the maintenance work after due consultation with the concerned production departments.

(3) To carry out repairs and rectify or overhaul planned equipment/facilities for achieving the required level of availability and optimum operational efficiency.

(4) To ensure scheduled inspection, lubrication oil checking, and adjustment of plant machinery and equipment.

(5) To document and maintain record of each maintenance activity (i.e., repairs, replacement, overhauls, modifications and lubrication etc.).

(6) To maintain and carry out repairs of buildings, utilities, material handling equipment’s and other service facilities such as electrical installations, sewers, central stores and roadways etc.

(7) To carry out and facilitate periodic inspections of equipment and facilities to know their conditions related to their failure and stoppage of production.

(8) To prepare inventory list of spare parts and materials required for maintenance.

(9) To ensure cost effective maintenance.

(10) To forecast the maintenance expenditure and prepare a budget and to ensure that maintenance expenditure is as per planned budget.

(11) To recruit and train personnel to prepare the maintenance workforce for effective and efficient plant maintenance.

(12) To implement safety standards as required for the use of specific equipment or certain categories of equipment such as boilers, overhead cranes and chemical plants etc.

(13) To develop management information systems, to provide information to top management regarding the maintenance activities.

(14) To monitor the equipment condition at regular intervals.

(15) To ensure proper inventory control of spare parts and other materials required.

In terms of plants operations the functions of maintenance are:

(a) The plant must be available as and when required.

(b) The plant must not breakdown during actual operation state.

(c) The plant must operate in an efficient manner at required level of plant operation.

(d) The down time must not interfere with production runs.

(e) The down time due to breakdown should be a minimum.

To accomplish these conditions there must be complete cooperation and mutual understanding between maintenance and production departments. There must be an effective maintenance policy for planning, controlling and directing all maintenance activities.

The plant maintenance department must be effectively structured, suitably staffed, and large enough in number to do corrective and timely maintenance while attempting to minimise breakdowns.

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