Maintenance activities are related to the repair, replacement, and service of components or some identifiable group of components in a manufacturing plant so that it may continue to operate at a specified ‘availability for a specified period. Thus maintenance management is associated with the direction and organization of various resources so as to control the availability and performance of the industrial unit to some specified level. Thus maintenance management may be treated as a restorative function of production management which is entrusted with the task of keeping equipment/machines and plant services ever available in proper operating condition.
The minimization of machine breakdowns and downtime has been the main objective of maintenance but the strategies adopted by maintenance management to achieve this aim have undergone great changes in the past. Maintenance has been considered just to repair the faulty equipment and put them back in order in the minimum possible time.
In view of the utilization of most general-purpose/conventional machines with low production output, the demands on maintenance functions were not very high. But with fast developments in the design, development, and mechanisms of control such as electronic, NC, and CNC in machine tools the manufacturing scenario has changed a lot.
The stringent control of dimensional tolerances and surface finish of the product has increased the tendency to adopt standardization and interchangeability of parts/components of machines. In the current production setups, even a minor downtime leads to serious production problems both technological as well as economical. All this is due to tough competition in the industrial market. Under the present circumstances effective and objectively designed efforts to update maintenance, management has become a necessity.
Importance of Maintenance Management:
Maintenance management is responsible for the smooth and efficient working of the industrial plant and helps in improving productivity. It also helps in maintaining and improving the operational efficiency of the plant facilities and hence contributes towards revenue by decreasing the operating cost and improving the quality and quantity of the product being manufactured. As a service function, it is related to the incurrence of certain costs. The important component of such costs is – the employment of maintenance staff, other minor administrative expenses, investment in maintenance equipment, and inventory of repair components/parts and maintenance materials.
The absence of plant maintenance may lead to frequent machine breakdown and failure of certain productive centers/services which in turn would result in stoppages of production activities, idle man and machine time, dislocation of the subsequent operations, poor quality of production, failure to meet delivery dates of product supply, industrial accidents endangering the life of workers/ operators and allied costs, etc.