Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Saffa, A, Using Fundamentals to Break the Breakdown Maintenance Cycle, in Aziz, N (ed), Coal 1998: Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 1998, 91-102.


During 1991 -1993 the author interviewed approximately thirty senior managers of varying responsibilities in either the engineering, construction or operation of a heavy industrial facility. The purpose of the exercise was to determine the factors driving a deterioration of the working relationship between the engineering and the operating company following practical completion of a major project. From the research a number of conclusions have been drawn as to the root cause of the deteriorating relationship. For this paper we are drawing on this initial research and our ongoing experience of solving problems of this nature to present some fundamentals that can be used to break the breakdown maintenance cycle. Our research showed that approximately eighty percent of all new heavy industrial plants and manufacturing facilities fall into a one to two year revenue generation slump shortly after practical completion. When hundreds of millions of dollars are invested in new heavy industrial plant or manufacturing facilities the principals rightfully expect a reasonable return on the investment once the operation has started production. The reasons for the slump in revenue generation are numerous and varied and this paper is aimed at addressing some of the factors that can be easily corrected with today's understanding of the forces involved.