New researchstudy on upkeep driving sustainability in making

With sustainability endingupbeing main to methods and efficiency objectives for producers, upkeep, as a secret function for muchbetter property and resources utilisation, preservation, and helpful life extension, would be anticipated to be a main location of query in sustainability efforts. However, this is not typically the case, and lotsof elements of upkeep contribution to sustainability stay untouched and untapped. Thus, inspiring this researchstudy work.

This work took the effort to examine the practice, effect, and contribution of 9 upkeep functions from numerous makers throughout sectors to a triple-bottom-line pointofview of sustainability. The findings exposed that advanced practice in upkeep, i.e., well-managed and well-performed upkeep, contributes to the sustainability as well as the business’ objectives and tactical concerns from numerous fronts.

Environmental sustainability

Maintenance has a manifold impact on ecological elements of production procedures, properties, and centers. Performing upkeep interventions immediately, keeping equipment in optimum working conditions, and following a methodical intervention procedure can decrease scrap generation and resources and energies intake, prevent revamp and squandering input products, and can likewise have a favorable effect on land, biodiversity, and natural environment preservation when interventions are carriedout outdoors.

Moreover, including upkeep along the entire lifecycle of production properties and other plant centers to utilize appropriate upkeep info and understanding can guarantee their conservation, stability, and lifetime extension, e.g. lookingfor chances for reuse and healing of parts and developing a swimmingpool for intra-organisational sharing of devices.

All observed upkeep functions link with energy management in their production plants with various levels of strength and combination. They were 4 types of relations varying from casual cooperations to direct combination of both operates, explained briefly herein.


  • Maintenance with no official duties on energy management however engaging in discussion and partnership with energy management, e.g., by supplying concepts for energy costsavings and supporting energy management choices;
  • Maintenance acting as a assistance function for energy management, e.g., by tracking energy intake and ineffectiveness and steppingin to avoid or proper energy losses;
  • Maintenance with direct duties for energy management, as a secondary activity, consistingof energy analysis of centers, specifying restorative and enhancement strategies, supplying operator training, and utilizing failure analysis strategies for energy ineffectiveness;
  • Maintenance with direct obligations for energy management, as a main activity. In these cases, the upkeep supervisors are acting as energy supervisors for the production plant, one of them pointing out that “Here, maintenance-energy is a reinforced and inherent synergy”.

Economic sustainability

The upkeep function favorably affected the monetary health and success of these producers through expense decrease, efficiency enhancements, greater property, and procedure dependability (leading to enhanced quality and shipment punctuality) and particular contributions to item competitiveness in a coupleof circumstances. The latter reveals an uncommon link inbetween upkeep and the last item efficiency in the market that we have not observed inotherplaces.

While most makers are experiencing problems in measuring the concealed financial worth of upkeep, e.g., real expense of upkeep interventions vs efficiency losses, one of them made development to provide greater exposure to the worth of upkeep. This specific maker have effectively executed a system to categorise upkeep spendingplan entries based on the result gotten from the intervention, e.g., security enhancement, resource costsavings, item quality. This is a great practice that might be duplicated by others.

In some of these makers, we likewise observed a greater status of the upkeep function within the plant organisational hierarchy, e.g., the upkeep supervisor being part of the plant top management group, which offers them greater autonomy and duty in handling a committed budgetplan making financialinvestment choices relatingto upkeep resources.

Social sustainability

The findings associated to the social measurement issue the collective environment in which upkeep runs in most of these producers, characterised by circumstances of great relation and joint works with other plant functions, e.g., HR, R&D, quality, production, and technical workplace. We inaddition discovered circumstances of upkeep interacting and favorably contributing to compliance and expectations from external stakeholders of the company, e.g., excellent understanding and engagement with accreditation bodies, devices and extra parts providers, and the regional neighborhood.

Initiatives with direct advantages for upkeep personnel consistof profession advancement chances, investing in unique resources to assistance greater work precision, improving the inspiration of upkeep personnel, and training on brand-new plant innovations. This collective environment leads to more proficient interaction throughout operates, having a consensual understanding of upkeep schedules, timelines, and significance, which in return decreases pressure in the working environment particularly for the upkeep personnel.

Recommendations for action

These findings bring crucial ramifications for makers interested in leveraging upkeep abilities in their services to boost their sustainability efficiency. Particularly, the results aid  reinterpreting their method to upkeep interventions and find methods to attain greater worth through preventive and enhancement upkeep to a broad variety of service locations. We recommend the following actions to assistance such an effort:

  1. To determine the secret locations in which upkeep function affects the numerous sustainability elements of the production system;
  2. To kind a cross-functional group with the addition of upkeep personnel for specifying possible services and enhancements in the locations determined in the veryfirst action;
  3. To embrace a proactive method to upkeep interventions based on preventive and enhancement upkeep approaches and strategies;
  4. To takeadvantageof upkeep information, insights, and understanding that can assistance the application of those sustainability-oriented services and enhancements determined in the 2nd action;
  5. To develop a collective working environment that focuses on recognizing more holistic options rather than each plant function dealingwith concerns in seclusion.

Building on the above-mentioned actions and recognized efforts and actions, makers can bring their upkeep functions onboard and provide them a more main function in dealingwith sustainability and attaining their efficiency objectives.

If you are interested in understanding more, please contact Dr Maria Holgado.

More information about this work are offered in this journal post: Holgado, M., Macchi, M., & Evans, S. (2020). Exploring the effects and contributions of upkeep function for sustainable production. International Journal of Production Research58(23), 7292-7310. Available here.

About the author

Maria Holgado picture

Dr Maria Holgado is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at the University of Sussex and course director of the MSc Global Supply Chain and Logistics Management. Her researchstudy issues developments in production operations, supply chains, and company designs that goal at establishing services for more sustainable, resistant and muchbetter carryingout procedures, equipment, items and services.

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