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Maintenance strategies: Decision Making Grid vs Jack-Knife Diagram

Turuna Seecharan (University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota, USA)
Ashraf Labib (University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK)
Andrew Jardine (University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)

Journal of Quality in Maintenance Engineering

ISSN: 1355-2511

Article publication date: 12 March 2018




Maintenance management is a vital strategic task given the increasing demand on sustained availability of machines. Machine performance depends primarily on frequency and downtime; therefore, ranking critical machines based on these two criteria is important to determine the appropriate maintenance strategy. The purpose of this paper is to compare two methods, using case studies, to allocate maintenance strategies while prioritising performance based on frequency and downtime or Mean Time to Repair: the Decision Making Grid (DMG) and Jack-Knife Diagram (JKD).


The literature indicates the need for an approach able to integrate maintenance performance and strategy in order to adapt existing data on equipment failures and to routinely adjust preventive measures. Maintenance strategies are incomparable; one strategy should not be applied to all machines, nor all strategies to the same machine.


Compared to the Pareto histogram, the DMG and JKD provide visual representations of the performance of the worst machines with respect to frequency and downtime, thus allowing maintenance technicians to apply the appropriate maintenance strategy. Each method has its own merits.

Research limitations/implications

This work compares only two methods based on their original conceptualisation. This is due to their similarities in using same input data and their main features. However, there is a scope to compare to other methods or variations of these methods.

Practical implications

This paper highlights how the DMG and JKD can be incorporated in industrial applications to allocate appropriate maintenance strategy and track machine performance over time.


Neither DMG nor JKD have been compared in the literature. Currently, the JKD has been used to rank machines, and the DMG has been used to determine maintenance strategies.



Seecharan, T., Labib, A. and Jardine, A. (2018), "Maintenance strategies: Decision Making Grid vs Jack-Knife Diagram", Journal of Quality in Maintenance Engineering, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 61-78.



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