with the collaboration of Iranian Society of Mechanical Engineers (ISME)

Document Type : Research Article


Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


Introduction: With the advent of new automation and mechanized technologies in the production and processing of agricultural products in Iran to accelerate the process of food supply, benefit from appropriate management models in the field of maintenance is unavoidable to maintain and improve the operational reliability of agricultural machinery, tools, and equipment. Furthermore, proper management of the operation and maintenance of various physical assets in the agricultural industry is one of the most important requirements due to the importance of their readiness / high availability in the seasons of planting, holding, and harvesting of agricultural products compared to other continuous production processes.

Materials and Methods: To achieve an efficient model in the field of maintenance, the following steps have been contemplated: a) Review and identify the most important criteria and sub-criteria driving the maintenance management, based on the previous literature and the experts’ opinion, b) Evaluate and prioritize the main criteria and interactions between their sub-criteria using the Best-Worst Method (BWM) and finally, c) Provide the improvement solutions in maintenance management for Iranian agro-industries. We decided to employ BWM because in, compared to similar methods, it (i) provides more reliable pairwise comparisons, (ii) reduces possible anchoring bias that may occur during the weighting process by respondents, (iii) is the most data-efficient method, and (vi) provides multiple optimal solutions, which increases the flexibility when it comes to accessing the best point of weight. The process of weighting by BWM is summarized in five steps, as follows: 1) Determine a set of evaluation criteria by the experts/decision-makers, 2) Identify the most important (Best) and the least important (Worst) criteria by the experts/decision-makers, each of whom might have their own Best and Worst, 3) Determine the preference of the Best over all the other criteria with a number from 1 to 9 (where 1 represents equally important and 9 represents extremely more important), 4) Determine the preference of all the decision criteria over the Worst, and 5) Compute the optimal weights

Results and Discussion: According to preliminary surveys, the most important criteria in the excellence maintenance model were “organizational management”, “human-related factors”, and “organizational aspects”, respectively. The results of the BWM revealed that the sub-criteria such as "top management support," "fund allocation and inventory resource management," and "appropriate maintenance strategies" have the greatest impact on maintenance management in agro-industries with the global weights of 0.108, 0.075, and 0.067, respectively. Furthermore, the findings of this study were compared to previous research in the field of agricultural and production system maintenance models.

Conclusions: The study's findings could assist managers in revising and developing their maintenance management models in the agro-industries. To increase the accuracy of weighing criteria, future studies could calculate the interaction among criteria that were omitted in this study for the sake of simplifying the evaluation process, by the combination of DEMATEL and structural equations modeling.


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