Development of Maintenance Management System for a Natural Gas Processing Plant in Tanzania
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Industrial plants that need a proper maintenance management in Tanzania are many inspite of the huge amount invested by the Government especially in oil and gas sector. In fact, there is a problem in the way maintenance activities within natural gas processing plants are being managed. Considering Maintenance Management System at Madimba natural gas processing plant in Mtwara,Tanzania. Firstly, the plant has low demand of a gas and the insufficient is because of few customers existing recently. This led to the under utilization of the plant equipment since the production is not achieved in its full capacity. Secondly, most of the plant units and skids are incorporated with standby equipment. This misled the maintenance team that even without proper planning and scheduling things can be done. For instance during breakdowns shifting from malfunctioned equipment to it s standby unit is normal at the plant. Such significance reasons prompt the complacent of the existing system which is not reliable for the sustainability of the plant. Hence, the purpose of this study is to develop Maintenance Management System for the improvement of natural gas processing plants performance in Tanzania.In addition, three research questions were formulated to enhance the accomplishement of the general and specific objectives. These questions were;1) What is the current Maintenance Management System used at Madimba plant to deliver maintenance and operation activities?2) What are the challenges/problems existing within the current Maintenance Management System at Madimba plant? and3) In what way can Maintenance Management System be developed to improve performance of Madimba plant?The study was based on the qualitative approach and semi structured interview was the main iiimethodology, whereby 20 respondents from different section in the plant were interviewed. Prior to the semi structured interview, the formulation of the guided questions based on the management, supervisors, procurement and store, operation and technician s perspective were done. Moreover, the direct observation approach was used to supplement the collection of data. NVIVO software was used to transcribe and coding the interview data while tools like pareto chart, force field diagram and flow chart were used in the analysis of the findings from interviews.The study involved literature review of the maintenance management concepts and computerized maintenance management development. It also scrutinized the maintenance management in oil and gas sector. The need of the computerized maintenance management in natural gas plant was determined and the challenges were provided.Furthermore, this study identified several problems and challenges existing in the manual maintenance management system of the natural gas processing plant in Tanzania such as lack of proper planning and scheduling, insufficient work order management, too much paper work, insufficient manpower, shortage of personnel training and improper spare part management. Eventually, proposed the general computerized maintenance management system framework that comprises the specific requirements and needs of the business process and maintenance personnel. The framework aims at assisting and supporting the plant management to have an easier, faster and an efficient implementation process supposing there happens to shift from current system to the new system of maintenance. The framework takes into account the response from interviews and ideas from the existing literature in the aspects of computerized maintenance management system.The study suggested seven attributes to be engaged in the proposed framework. It also describes the important items to be considered for fully implementation of the computerized maintenance management system at the plant. These attributes are; Assessment of existing system, preparation of the terms of reference, purchasing procedures, database and preventive plan preparation, Implementation, involvement and training of the personnel, support from management.Moreover, the framework provided the functional specifications or requirements based on the response from the interviews and suggested the necessary modules for the anticipated computerizedsystem. These modules are; work order and work requisition, preventive maintenance, equipment information, calibration, resource planning, reporting, costing and accounts, inventory, health, safety and environment. Framework development advanced from its potential to undertake the involvement of maintenance personnel in the entire process to the implementation of the new system. Framework described in this study has provided clear guidelines for the implementationof the computerized maintenance management system at the plant and flexibility to the customization and interfacing with other plant systems like SCADA.Also, framework pinpointed the importance of hiring project manager and consultant, implementation plan, continuous personnel trainings and adherence to the public procurement regulatory authority procedures of Tanzania to be among of the necessary aspects for the implementation phase. Hence, the framework overseen necessary aspects to the development of improved Maintenance Management System at Madimba. The study identified Computerized Maintenance Management System as an essential way to solve major challenges to the existing system. It also highlightedthe fact that decision making process may be more analytical and efficient with the new system. However, other challenges like shortage of manpower can be solved by recruiting more competent people to cover the vacant positions.It was concluded that Madimba should shift to the new computerized maintenance management system to improve the current operation and maintenance activities. As a recommendation top management support, involvement and continuous training programs, recruitment of planner and additional of more authorized local dealers are the important aspects to consider for an efficient management of maintenance at Madimba.Definitely, the proposed frame work can contribute to the accomplishment of national development vision of Tanzania to be in a middle economy regime by 2025, through proper utilization of the natural gas resources and others.