Exploring Dynamic Complexity in the Symbiosis of Operations and Maintenance Functions : A Simulation-Based Optimisation Study

University essay from Högskolan i Skövde/Institutionen för ingenjörsvetenskap

Abstract: Maintenance, the process of preserving the condition of the equipment and performance in a production facility, stands for a considerable large cost in the budget of manufacturing organisations and is strongly affected by short-term philosophy. Therefore, both the long-term and short-term consequences of maintenance strategies need to be examined and analysed. The aim with this research is to investigate the dynamic complexity between the requirements from operations on the performance of maintenance, to illustrate the challenge of trading long-term and short-term requirements and benefits. These aspects have been studied through system dynamics (SD) modelling, simulation-based optimisation (SBO) and multi-objective optimisation (MOO). In order to illustrate the analysed problems, a state-of-the-art literature review has been created and two different scenarios have been evaluated. The scenarios are to investigate both the effects of more or less planned maintenance and the implication of a stock-and-flow structure for hiring and retirements of maintenance resources. A conceptual base model, created in previous research, has been applied and developed in order to meet the objectives. From the performed experiments, it can be confirmed that with the use of SD simulation trends and consequences over longer periods of time are truly visualised. In the first scenario, the results indicate that a short-term maintenance management strategy is unprofitable over time. The simulation also reveals that improvement strategies and proactive work can revolutionise capability and profit over time, even if these strategies initially generate a higher cost. In the second scenario, where the effects of a major retirement are visualised, the results confirm that the company needs to act proactively in order to avoid great financial losses. Employee and average skill losses cause long-term negative effects on the capability and availability. The optimisation that has been performed, with the hiring rate as the main variable and the objectives of maximising availability, minimising the direct cost and minimising the indirect cost, has generated feasible solutions on the Pareto front. In conclusion, the results from the experiments identify the behaviours and causal relationships in a maintenance system in symbiosis with operations. With the long-term goal of generating less reactive workload on the maintenance function, there are many benefits to obtain. The charted delays and causal relationships in the system indicate multi-level consequences, where a management approach should benefit financially from emphasising the importance of acting proactively and directing resources to improvement strategy work.

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