Year

2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Mechanical, Materials and Mechatronic Engineering

Abstract

Engineering Asset Management (AM) in capital intensive industries is argued part of an organisation‘s management system with a role in competitive strategy development and implementation. While the AM system has an influential impact on the asset life cycle, little has been done in literature on its formation or link to organisational strategy. This thesis aims at further understanding the strategic role of the AM system. It begins by reviewing literature on the nature of this system and the compatible research methodologies associated with such a discipline. The AM system is socio-technical and interdisciplinary by nature so a retroductive case study methodology was adopted because its use of a hypothesised framework allows the development of the understanding of complex relationships. Next, a review of AM models or frameworks, and links to its organisational strategy was carried out and possible existing AM system activities, mechanisms and relationships were also explored.

This thesis proposes a holistic framework for the AM system so that managers in capital intensive organisations can better understand how to manage asset lifecycles and deal with its stages in practice. The framework highlights the role of an AM system during organisational strategy making. The framework adapts and integrates existing frameworks or models used for AM. The approach covers philosophical discussions and comparative studies of others' work and thinking. It covers the main contributors to the development of a framework, explores their different views, and develops a holistic framework that identifies AM system activities, relationships, and mechanisms.

This work establishes a systematic process flow for investigating the strategic role of an AM system within an organisation‘s management system. Further use of this process will lead to a stronger body of AM knowledge through better contributions from further research. Asset managers in capital intensive organisations can use the proposed framework to examine the applicability of this holistic approach in service and production organisations, and to guide any improvements.

The hypothesised framework has been used to postulate the existence or absence of AM system activities, mechanisms, and relationships, and then the research context and collaboration which focused on the production industry and involved embedded case studies from the steel industry evidence built from an industrial case study was used to establish the existence or absence of an AM system as proposed by the hypothesised framework. Existence of elements of the hypothesised framework has been shown to be related to the successful implementation of an organisation‘s strategy. In contrast, some elements‘ absence or inadequacy results in an inappropriate or insufficient asset performance that does not allow organisational strategy to succeed. The work shows that using the proposed hypothesized framework as a reference can enable organisations to develop organisational structures that facilitate the capture of the intended benefits of their strategy. Finally a holistic view of the AM system in relation to organisational asset-related activities, and strategies is put forward which until now has been missing from the literature.

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