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Maintenance strategy selection: a comprehensive review of current paradigms and solution approaches

Amitkumar Patil (Mechanical Engineering, Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur, India)
Gunjan Soni (Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur, India)
Anuj Prakash (Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, Bangalore, India)
Kritika Karwasra (Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur, India)

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management

ISSN: 0265-671X

Article publication date: 30 December 2021

Issue publication date: 22 February 2022




In today's competitive industries, the selection of best suitable maintenance strategy is dependent on large number of quantitative and qualitative factors, and it becomes an extensively difficult problem for maintenance engineers. Over the years, a diverse range of solution methodologies have been developed for solving this multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) problem. In this paper, the authors have presented a comprehensive review of latest maintenance strategy paradigms and solution approaches proposed for the selection of an appropriate strategy in various industries. It would provide a systematic mapping of developments in this field and identify some research gaps to explore further studies.


A systematic state-of-the-art comprehensive literature review on maintenance strategy paradigms and selection approaches is presented in this study. In this study, 87 research articles published in peer-reviewed journals, since year 2012, are reviewed.


For the selection of a suitable maintenance strategy, a variety of criteria are considered to better evaluate the alternatives. In this study, contemporary strategies are discussed, and their applications in different industries are also depicted. Moreover, through the analysis of extant literature, critical criteria are selected and classified in six major categories (namely, economic, technical, safety, environmental, feasibility and social) and further sub-categorized in quantitative and qualitative classes. These clusters of criteria can be helpful as an initial set of criteria for survey and then case- or industry-specific criteria can be shortlisted for further alternative evaluation.

Practical implications

From the perspective of maintenance managers, maintenance management can be a very difficult task, considering the numerous factors affecting the decision-making process. In order to help in the decision-making process, this study presents the contemporary maintenance strategies in a systematic manner. In a previous study (Kothamasu et al., 2006), these strategies were classified into repair and prevent classes only. With the developments of autonomous maintenance and design out maintenance (DOM), it was fair to include continuous improvement class. It will help managers and practitioners to identify, according to organization policy, appropriate maintenance strategy alternatives for the asset. A benchmark set of state-of-the-art maintenance strategies are laid out with their applications. The industrial case studies discussed in this study summarizes the optimal maintenance strategies for respective industries. Also, most critical criteria are identified from the existing studies for various industries that can help maintenance practitioners in acknowledging the critical factors and making appropriate decisions. Evaluation parameters for the maintenance strategy selection (MSS) generally conflict with each other, and considering the difficulty of quantifying the qualitative measures, it is a challenging task to determine the optimal trade-off. In order to overcome these challenges, popular MCDM approaches, demonstrating effective results across different industries are discussed with their limitations and applications. Decision-makers can refer this study to identify best suitable decision-making technique for the MSS problem in the industry of their choice. Maintenance managers and engineers can refer the case studies illustrated in Tables 1 and 2 to analyse the MSS techniques proposed by previous studies with industry-specific applications.

Social implications

This study is an attempt to provide a reference point for research scholars interested in the field of maintenance management and/or development of maintenance strategy framework. This study provides a critical state-of-the-art review of efforts made in the field of MSS. The prominent maintenance strategies being implemented in contemporary industries are discussed with respective case studies. Interested researchers and academicians can familiarize themselves with these strategies and their distinct features in this study. In order to guide future studies and provide a reference point for academicians, MSS critical criteria used in extant literature are identified and classified into a comprehensive benchmark framework. Moreover, the industrial case studies are discussed with the most critical criteria of MSS for different industries and which strategy is most suitable for the respective industries based on these criteria. Table 1 presents different MCDM techniques and their hybrid applications for solving MSS problem that can help researchers in identifying research gaps. Future research can be directed at addressing the limitation of MCDM approach employed in existing studies and comparing the differences in results obtained by the proposed approach. Different industrial case studies with considered maintenance strategy alternatives are presented in Table 2, which can help researchers in identifying the industries that have not been studied yet. Moreover, not all of the existing studies are carried out by considering all the presented benchmark strategies, which can be addressed in future studies by interested researchers. More detailed discussion on research gaps is presented in the following section.


From the analysis of the extant literature, the authors could observe that the decision-making process adopted in numerous studies was limited to the classical maintenance strategies and not inclusive of aggressive maintenance strategy alternatives. To overcome these limitations and help maintenance managers in the decision-making, this study depicts the contemporary maintenance strategies, critical evaluation criteria and MCDM frameworks (employed to solve the MSS problem with industrial case studies) in a structured manner.



Patil, A., Soni, G., Prakash, A. and Karwasra, K. (2022), "Maintenance strategy selection: a comprehensive review of current paradigms and solution approaches", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 39 No. 3, pp. 675-703.



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