Design of The Operation/Maintenance Interface in Highly Mechanized Flows
In pace with an increasing awareness of the negative effects, both in terms of productivity and social aspects, of taking the division of work and specialization too far, the question concerning transfer of maintenance work from the maintenance unit to the operators has increasingly been focused. In this paper, which is based on case studies of three highly mechanized production units (two producing disposable napkins and two vehicle components) within two Swedish companies, the factors are discussed that exert an influence on the design of the interface between operation and maintenance as well as the implications of different design alternatives, in terms of different aspects of productivity and job satisfaction. Moreover, the study shows how a so called breakdown analysis can be used as an instrument and a tool in the design of this interface. It also demonstrates that creating well- defined areas of responsibility, placing overall responsibility for maintenance in the hands of one individual and establishing direct contacts between operators and repairmen are measures that exert a positive influence on productivity. In addition, the study shows the necessity of linking the design of the maintenance work to the operator’s overall work situation and competence level, and that operator competence is an important factor for attaining productivity and work satisfaction.
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