An evaluation of a plant maintenance management function : the case of a lubricants blending plant in Durban.
Mkhize, Cedrick Muziwandile.
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This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of maintenance management function in a Lubricants Manufacturing Plant (LMP), a manufacturing business unit owned Total South Africa (TSA), located in Durban. The highly automated manufacturing machinery, reliable production machines and stringent health and safety legislation have hoisted the significance of the maintenance function within the manufacturing plants into the higher trajectory. Research data was solicited by conducting a survey of LMP employees who were directly and indirectly impacted by the maintenance function. A sample of 95 employees, from all hierarchical levels at LMP, participated and responded to the questionnaire, in October 2013. Statistical analysis using descriptive and inferential statistics were conducted. The empirical research done in this study supplemented the theory of maintenance management pertaining to the strategic role of the maintenance function within manufacturing plants. The findings of this study revealed that, the maintenance function at LMP is perceived to be an important business management function which contributes positively towards the company’s overall objectives and profitability. The study also revealed that, perceived shortcomings of the maintenance function make LMP’s maintenance function ineffective. The study also revealed LMP is a closed system manufacturing firm with a cost centre view towards the maintenance management function. The study also confirmed the positive support towards the implementation of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) as the panacea for improvement of maintenance effectiveness. The study recommends that TPM is a maintenance strategy which must be implemented in order to improve maintenance effectiveness and manufacturing operational performance, at LMP. The recommendations with regards to the study findings and the means to ensure expeditious execution to improve the effectiveness of the maintenance function were developed and stated.