In pace with an increasing awareness of the negative effects, both in terms of productivity and social aspects, of taking the division of work and specialization too far, the question concerning transfer of maintenance work from the maintenance unit to the operators has increasingly been focused. Discusses the factors that exert an influence on the design of the interface between operation and maintenance as well as the implications of different design alternatives, in terms of different aspects of productivity and job satisfaction in three highly mechanized production units (one producing disposable napkins and two vehicle components) within two Swedish companies. The case studies demonstrate that creating well‐defined areas of responsibility, placing overall responsibility for maintenance in the hands of one individual and establishing direct contacts between operators and repairmen are measures that exert a positive influence on productivity. In addition, the case studies show the necessity of linking the design of the maintenance work to the operator′s overall work situation and competence level, and that operator competence is an important factor for attaining productivity and job satisfaction.
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