Complexity of maintenance

Capital-intensive infrastructural assets consist of various, complex systems and components manufactured by different Original Equipments Manufacturers (OEMs) and vendors. Since the operating conditions of each piece of equipments are diverse, and change overtime, deterioration due to usage and operating will be different. As a result, maintenance intervals of each system may differ. On top of that, when there are strict regulations on safety, the respective maintenance requirements are even tighter. How often and what type of activities must be performed is determined during the design stage. It is undesirable to stop normal operation for maintenance. Adding on to the complexity, the maintenance function requires support of other resources such as facilities, equipment, human resources and spare parts. Not performing or postponing maintenance jeopardizes the overall asset’s safety, reliability and operational risk. The maintenance of infrastructural assets is a complex problem and a meaningful approach to optimize maintenance decisions aligning with enterprise objectives is needed. Another important issue is the growth in cost of maintenance. Like many other countries the Netherlands experiences severe infrastructure needs, owing to ageing assets. Managing the maintenance function till now has primarily focused on costs related to technical and operational issues (Amadi-Echendu, 2004; Hoskins et al, 1999). Maintenance is a labor-intensive and therefore cost-intensive and relies heavily on human interaction or activities; there is little or no growth in productivity over time. Since the Baumol effect, a phenomenon described by (Baumol & Bowen, 1965), there is a rise of salaries in maintenance jobs without an increase of productivity, in response to rising salaries in other technical jobs.

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