Establishment of a Maintenance Management System at Adexxa Tile Adhesive Factory, Naggalama
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Adexxa tile adhesive factory is owned by and produces tile adhesive and grout for Lukomu Uganda Limited. It was a small enterprise employing mostly casual labourers and with a production line consisting of both locally fabricated and imported machines. The factory operated on a just in time production system with very low inventory levels. This called for high reliability of the machines that they used at the factory to ensure that they would be operational any time that production was needed. The factory faced a problem of long and frequent unplanned downtime of machines at the factory due to common and avoidable faults occurring during the production time leading to consistent missing of production targets. This was coupled with high repair costs as repairs had to be done haphazardly increasing the factory expenses and reducing the profits from production. There was hence need to introduce a maintenance operations structure supported by a computerised tool to handle data that could be used to make data driven decisions. To solve the problem, a structured approach was followed. Firstly, an assessment of the current status of operations and the machines at the factory was done to establish the performance of the machines following the key performance indicators for maintenance. This showed how available and effective the machines were and also the common faults responsible for the most downtime. Secondly, based on the gaps that the assessment exposed, an organisational structure was developed to show how the maintenance function had to be organised to ensure tasks are carried out in a structured manner basing on a favourable maintenance strategy. Finally, a desktop application was developed to handle the information related to maintenance activities. The results of the above steps were as follows. The assessment exposed the key data streams that had to be monitored and how the data had to be collected. This then guided the selection of the maintenance strategy which turned out to be total productive maintenance that required all staff to take responsibility of the maintenance activities at the factory. A centralised organisation structure was developed that was organised by function detailing the roles of and reporting lines between the various positions that were to be introduced. Based on the roles that were to be established, a database was developed to handle the data and the relationships between the data. The database was then used to develop a menu-based desktop application that could be used by a user to capture, analyse and store data related to maintenance activities. To implement the developed solution, the company that owns the factory had to commit to the change of culture required by total productive maintenance. There was need to hire skilled labour that would train and supervise the operators so that autonomous maintenance would become part of the factory culture. The factory also had to introduce the required inventories of parts and tools that would drastically reduce dependence on outsourcing maintenance tasks. All data from maintenance activities had to be captured in the computerised maintenance management system in a way that would enable data driven decisions to be made. The factory had to ensure more collaboration between production and maintenance departments to enable proper decision making. Implementation of the system would drastically reduce downtime and would lead to low maintenance costs in the long run much as it would be quite costly in the short run.