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Process improvement for engineering and maintenance contractors

08 September 2011

PhD ceremony: Mr. J. Veldman, 16.15 uur, Aula Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Process improvement for engineering and maintenance contractors

Promotor(s): prof. G.J.C. Gaalman en prof. J.C. Wortmann

Faculty: Economics and Business


Many contractors who design, build and maintain complex assets face the question how they can improve their business processes. Whereas much research focuses on process improvement for mass producing companies, this thesis addresses many aspects that are particularly important for firms that control the entire asset lifecycle (so-called EPCM contractors). Based on case research and the development of a quantitative model, this thesis reports on 5 studies. Study 1 identifies the characteristics of EPCM-contractors, and shows that CMMI, a model which is developed in the software industry, can be a very useful instrument for process improvement of EPCM-contractors. Study 2 identifies the ways in which EPCM-contractors can deal with engineering changes; changes to designs that arise at certain stages in the asset lifecycle. Studies 3 and 4 concern in-depth studies of condition based maintenance, which is a maintenance technique with which decisions are made based on the measured state of the asset. The study identifies several factors that are important for the implementation of different types of condition based maintenance, such as the availability of different types of knowledge (such as knowledge of the assets and process knowledge) and the integration of these types of knowledge. Study 5 theoretically shows that firms that are in competition, stimulate each other to reward their managers for process improvement, but that this is done at the expense of firm profitability. The thesis shows how certain EPCM-contractors deal with different aspects of process improvement; knowledge which can be important for other EPCM-contractors.


Last modified:15 September 2017 3.40 p.m.

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