The impact of operations and maintenance practices on power plant performance
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of operations and maintenance (O&M) practices, individually and collectively, on power plant performance. Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected from more than 100 power plants in Australia and Malaysia. The reliability and validity (content, construct, and criterion) of the practice and performance measures were evaluated. Findings – Committed leadership and maintenance-oriented practices as part of a total productive maintenance (TPM) philosophy were found to be the main differentiators between high and low performing plants. Research limitations/implications – The research is cross-sectional in nature, therefore, it does not permit us to account for the lag between implementation and performance. Second, the performance measures are subjective and may be subject to response bias. Practical implications – The implication of the research findings for plant managers is that they need to allocate more “softer” resources to the O&M function if they expect high plant availability. Social implications – Apart from capacity and fuel cost, operating costs are an important source of differentiation for power plants. The implication is that reduction in operating costs is directly related to the reduction of consumer power bills. Originality/value – The reader will learn from this paper that committed leadership and maintenance-oriented practices have greater explanatory power in the regression models than employee involvement, customer focus, strategic planning, and knowledge management. This knowledge is important because it emphasises that in addition to quality management practices, which are focussed on the development of the people aspects of the organization, the plant equipment and physical assets should also be given equal emphasis, in order to improve operational performance of power plants.
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