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South African Journal of Industrial Engineering

On-line version ISSN 2224-7890
Print version ISSN 1012-277X


SUMMERS, D.J.  and  VISSER, J.K.. Factors that influence the decision to outsource maintenance in the processing industry. S. Afr. J. Ind. Eng. [online]. 2021, vol.32, n.1, pp.24-36. ISSN 2224-7890.

The success rate of outsourcing in South Africa is fairly low. Companies that make the incorrect decision to outsource maintenance place themselves at risk of poor maintenance performance, a high operational cost of maintenance, and substantial costs to redevelop internal maintenance capabilities. The identification of the factors applicable to the decision to outsource maintenance can form the basis of a decision framework or model, and has the potential to improve the quality of decision-making in maintenance management. This paper discusses the results of a survey that was carried out to determine the main decision factors that maintenance and asset managers could use when they consider outsourcing some maintenance work. Most of the 62 respondents were from the oil and energy sector or the chemicals sector of South African industry. The main decision factors were identified as contractor experience, the availability of a suitable contractor, and the scarcity of skills or employees. The findings of this survey are useful for maintenance and asset managers to decide whether or not to outsource an activity, and to rank potential contractors.

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