Exploring the use of the Analytic Hierarchy Process for maintenance policy selection

Adriaan Goossens, Robertus Johannes Ida Basten, Leonardus Adriana Maria van Dongen

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Selecting the right maintenance policy for a capital asset proves to be difficult in practice. A maintenance policy defines which parameters—for example, elapsed time or amount of use—trigger maintenance actions. We have noticed in industry that a new policy does often not bring the desired results of, for example, low costs or high availability. Decisions on these policies are made by maintenance managers and maintenance engineers based on prescriptions by maintenance concepts, on hear-say and trends, and on what they understand of mathematical optimization models. This leads to several drawbacks: prescription leaves no room for customization; softer, qualitative criteria are not taken into account, or do not get the importance they deserve; and the choice of maintenance policy is not supported by all echelons of the company, because the process is not well understood. These drawbacks undermine practicality and feasibility, two factors that must not be overlooked if the chosen maintenance policy is to succeed in practice. We expect that the drawbacks can be overcome by using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), an established multiple criteria decision aid, in combination with a well chosen set of criteria. Reviewing the literature, the AHP proves to have several benefits that fit this decision problem, such as creating a thorough understanding and being able to handle qualitative data. Furthermore, the AHP has been applied in maintenance policy selection before, but only in specific case studies. This paper explores a more generic approach. Through interviews at the Royal Netherlands Navy and related organizations, and by reviewing the aforementioned case studies, we identify the criteria that are currently being used in practice and those that would be required. Finally, combining the AHP with the criteria leads to a conceptual hierarchy that can be used and tested in further research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSafety, Reliability and Risk Analysis: Beyond the Horizon
EditorsR.D.J.M. Steenbergen, P.H.A.J.M. van Gelder, S. Miraglia, A.C.W.M. Vrouwenvelder
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherCRC Press
ISBN (Print)9781138001237
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sep 2013
EventEuropean Safety and Reliability Conference, ESREL 2013 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 29 Sep 20132 Oct 2013

Publication series

PublisherCRC Press


ConferenceEuropean Safety and Reliability Conference, ESREL 2013
Abbreviated titleESREL


  • IR-90708
  • METIS-301370


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