M-Tech has been heavily involved in maintenance auditing over the past 10 years. The first audit instrument was developed in 1991 and was expounded at M-Tech’s third annual one day Maintenance Forum in 1992 (Sandton Holiday Inn on 11 September 1992) in a paper titled ‘Maintenance Audits as a means to improving Maintenance Quality’). This instrument is included in the text book Maintenance(chapter 12) by Jasper L. Coetzee. Further research work in this area includes a paper delivered at the 1998 ICOMS conference in Adelaide, Australia, entitled ‘A structured approach to Maintenance Auditing’, an audit instrument developed for Ingwe Coal, one of the operating divisions of Billiton in 2001, and an audit instrument developed for Richards Bay Minerals in 2003 – the present audit instrument used by M-Tech is based on an enhanced version of the RBM instrument.
There are several approaches to Maintenance Auditing. M-Tech prefers a systems approach, which has as basis that a properly systemised maintenance business will produce the required results. However, because systems are not necessarily effective, the audit includes both physical and systems components. The aim is to assist the client organisation to identify the areas of improvement to become a maintenance operation with World Class standing.
Whenever one works in the area of the effectiveness of a maintenance organisation, you are always confronted with the complexity and variety of functions and disciplines that are involved and that have to be seamlessly and effectively integrated to produce a proper result. This complexity is touched on in an article headed A holistic approach to the Maintenance ‘Problem’, which was published in the Journal of Quality in Maintenance Engineering, vol 5 no 3, 1999. This paper introduces the Maintenance Strategy Triangle, which is shown below.
The message of the maintenance strategy triangle is fairly simple. A maintenance organisation is an interdependent organism of which all the parts must function in total unity to achieve success. This can only be achieved if the direction from the top is fully developed and spelt out in terms of a formal maintenance policy and the management procedures that flows from such policy. Refer to the textbook, Maintenance by Jasper L. Coetzee, chapter 10 for a description of the development of such structured systems’ material.
Also refer to M-Tech’s general consulting approach regarding the maintenance strategy triangle.