Changes in the socioeconomic environment or the industry’s technological environment necessitate either a change in the firm’s goals or an addition/alteration to its technology, this will provoke an imbalance in the firm’s internal fit. Fit will be regained by adjusting technology or/and structure to suit the task demands of strategy (top-down approach). In the context of maintenance, fit is regained by adjusting the maintenance strategy to suit the new competencies and constraints of the new technology (bottom-up approach). This is consistent with Porter’s (1988) reasoning and Abernathy, Clark, and Kantrow (1983). Fit among technology, strategy, and structure is also conceptualized in the contingency theory literature (Schoonhoven, 1981; Venkatraman, 1989).
A maintenance strategy is therefore a systematic approach to upkeep assets with its environment and varies from system to system. It involves identification, researching and execution of repair, replace and inspect decisions (maintenance mix) and is concerned with formulating the best life plan for each separate part of an asset, in coordination with other business functions concerned (Kelly, 1997). It describes what events (e.g. failure, passing of time, condition) trigger what type of maintenance interventions (inspection, repair or replacement).
Selecting the best maintenance strategy depends on several factors such as the goals to achieve, the nature of the facility or the equipment to be maintained, work flow patterns (process focus, product focus) and the work environment (Gallimore and Penlesky, 1988; Pintelon and Gelders, 1992). Maintenance strategy consists of mix of maintenance policies and maintenance techniques which vary from asset to asset (Dekker, 1996). A maintenance concept can be defined as the set of policies such as CM, PM and CBM, etc.