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SEMINAR ON “MAINTENANCE FOR PRODUCTIVITY”
An All India Seminar on “Maintenance for Productivity” was organized by IMME and a large number of delegates representing various industries held deliberations on the role and contribution of maintenance function to raise productivity.
General observations & recommendations brought out during the seminar are noted below for all those concerned with the improvement of maintenance functions in industry:
- We have paid lip service to maintenance productivity at one time or the other without adequate regard to raise it.
- Maintenance has often been considered as a low level of activity invariably resulting in downtime, interruptions, low morale, frustrations, reduced efficiency, high spares inventory and increased maintenance costs.
- Inadequate return due to the loss of production capacity on account of downtime is always a matter of great concern. It will therefore be much appropriate if the role of maintenance in industry could be viewed as the one converting the loss of capacity into productive capacity.
- Better maintenance leads to reduction in downtime, lesser production interruptions, lower consumption of energy and spare parts, etc. With improved maintenance management, competitiveness of the enterprises can be raised to a greater extent.
- Systems approach requires total assessment of all the aspects of entrepreneurial activity and calls for detailed knowledge and understanding of the system throughout its life cycle. Operation and maintenance of a system are interlinked, and together they constitute important phases in the system’s life cycle.
- Recognition of the role of maintenance as a management activity should help overcome some of the glaring deficiencies one notices in the upkeep of plant equipment and machinery. Adequate attention to maintenance by higher management pays dividends.
- It should be aimed to optimize yield from maintenance functions in terms of plant reliability and availability through the application of modern maintenance management techniques and practices.
- At the acquisition stage of the system, there is a need for judicious and well thought out procurement practices. Neglect to this aspect results in acquiring low grade systems, which coupled with poor operation and maintenance practices results in lower life expectancy and inadequate return on investment.
- In developing countries, the efforts should make things last longer with properly planned maintenance strategies and inputs.
- Maintenance activity in industry should be viewed and carried out with due consideration to investment in plant and machinery. Maintenance should not merely be considered as an engineering activity, devoted to fit & forget, but as a management activity to develop & grow, uplift productivity, reduce cost, raise performance standards and help generate profit and adequate return on investment for the company.
- Adequate maintenance organization and proper maintenance procedures and practices are much too imperative. Although the status of production versus maintenance is a sensitive issue, yet the interdepartmental unity is much essential for achieving the desired results.
- High level of spares stock may be dealt with proper inventory control procedures. By the application of ABC & VED classification and fixing proper assurance levels for different categories of spare parts inventory levels can be optimized.
- Maintenance should be considered as a complimentary function to production, much like right and left hands. Production at the expense of maintenance needs caution and so also maintenance for maintenance sake needs to be avoided at all cost. Human errors in maintenance work need to be eliminated altogether.
- Higher standardization should be considered necessary to exercise control on maintenance cost.
- Import substitution needs to be given adequate attention to reduce spares cost. However, the cost of import substitution can be high if the item is not consumed repetitively. As such, therefore, import substitution programme should be followed purely on economic grounds.
- Whether indigenous or imported, most appropriate policies need to be followed for the procurement of spares. Timely availability of spares is necessary for higher maintenance efficiency.
- Provision of adequate tools, fault finding & test equipments, spares, manuals, proper working instructions, skilled manpower, proper budgetary allocations, etc. are necessary elements for timely accomplishment of maintenance jobs.
- The role of maintenance engineer does not end soon after the repair of the machines is over. Competence in repair skills for various machines is though much important, yet this alone is not enough. Maintenance should not merely be viewed as an engineering activity, but also as an economical requirement. It has been found the world over that maintenance engineers are though good engineers, yet they often lack in managerial and economic competence. Besides being better engineers, therefore, maintenance engineers need to be better managers also.
- There is always a greater need of professional training programmes and courses for maintenance managers, engineers, technical executives, supervisors, technicians and workers based on various aspects of maintenance management functions to be organized by specialist organizations like Institute of Maintenance Management Education.