The aim of the research was to determine a viable mechanism of delivering effective maintenance of infrastructure assets in emerging markets. Infrastructure assets are one of the prerequisites to meet the economic and social growth aspirations in emerging economies. The upkeep of infrastructure assets to perform at their optimal levels is therefore paramount to achieving these growth objectives. The research emanated from a need to address the growing challenge of the deterioration of infrastructure due to a lack of maintenance. This phenomenon is hampering the growth in emerging economies, including South Africa. The author intends for the learnings of this report to be used by asset owners and practitioners to address this growing concern.
The research commenced to investigate the extent of the problem of deficiencies in maintenance of infrastructure assets across the African continent, and the impact this is having on those economies. The literature review also honed in on the state of infrastructure and maintenance in South Africa. It was found that there was a wide-spread problem of deteriorating strategic infrastructure due to a lack of maintenance. The literature attributed the lack of maintenance of infrastructure in South Africa due to a lack of funding, lack of reliable data on existing infrastructure stock, uncoordinated efforts by maintenance departments in government agencies, and a lack of life cycle costing at the procurement stage (South African Institution of Civil Engineers, 2011). The literature also attributed a lack of maintenance of infrastructure in emerging markets to a lack of funding due to inadequate billing and collection procedures, low purchase power by users, insufficient attention to operations and maintenance, a lack of experienced personnel to execute maintenance, and weak political will (Alm, 2013).
The case study method was adopted as a research methodology. Five cases were selected in total. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data. The questionnaire for the interviews was based on the themes and detailed findings from the literature review. Qualitative Content Analysis (QCA) was used to analyse the transcriptions developed from the semi-structured interviews. The single and multiple case study methods were utilised. The feedback from the cross-case analysis was used as a basis for the key findings to address the research questions.
The cross-case analysis revealed factors that lead to a lack of infrastructure maintenance, and determined potential viable mechanisms to deliver effective maintenance of infrastructure assets. The factors that were found to be the most influential in the delivery of effective maintenance of infrastructure were as follows:
1) Ensuring mechanisms are in place to make maintenance a core business function or activity
2) Use of a combination of maintenance techniques, including run-to-failure, preventative or planned maintenance, and condition based maintenance.
3) The use of strategic maintenance guidelines by the maintenance department.
4) Keeping most of the maintenance work in-house and limiting outsourcing to specialist equipment.
5) The use of MPIs to track the effectiveness and quality of maintenance, and its impact on the overall performance of infrastructure assets.
6) Use of technologies to supplement human personnel in the form of maintenance software solutions and automation for monitoring the performance of equipment and other related assets.
7) Continuous investment in training of maintenance personnel, including technicians and artisans.
8) Initiatives should be put in place to retain critical skills.
9) A culture of maintenance should be developed in the organisation, starting from top management structures.
10) An asset management division should be put in place to work closely with the maintenance department.
The study is concluded with recommendations for future research. The author believes that the key findings of the research will help advance further research in the field of infrastructure maintenance in emerging markets.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2017.