Maintenance, or more specifically – reactive maintenance, is something that has existed since the dawn of time.
If something broke, someone would fix it.
If fixing it cost too much or was too timely – it would get replaced, with the broken item being thrown out or perhaps stripped for reusable parts.
I like to think back to the advent of the wheel.
Yes, I’m sure everyone can picture that primitive man rolling a misshapen disc with his hand or stick. Right around the time man discovered fire.
And while I can’t certify it, I do believe that if and when that wheel broke down, it would be fixed and thus the first act of reactive maintenance would have been completed.
You see, reactive maintenance has been around since there have been items (assets) worth repairing and it is still being used today, sometimes even as the primary source of maintenance.
For advanced organizations to still be relying on reactive maintenance as their primary maintenance method some thousands of years after it was first used might not be the best strategy.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, and it probably has something to do with the saying of “don’t try to re-invent the wheel”, right?
And I think to some point I would tend to agree – just because it’s an old way of doing things, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad way of doing things.
But just like the wheel has evolved over time, so too has maintenance.
No longer does an organization need to rely only on reactive maintenance.
More and more, maintenance organizations are shifting towards preventive and predictive maintenance strategies.
With innovations in maintenance technologies and the advancements in data analysis, companies are becoming much more reliable in being able to better understand their assets and the health of those assets.
In fact, Reliability and Maintenance have come together to create a culture of Reliability-centered Maintenance, which has grown into quite a movement among asset-intensive industries.
But back to reliability-centered maintenance…
Reliability-centered Maintenance, or RCM as it is commonly referred to, is…
– Nowlan & Heap, 1978
There are a lot of different definitions of what RCM is, but there are commonalities among them, such as:
No matter how you define RCM, the overarching purpose of the RCM movement is to allow companies to become more reliable in their asset management procedures by better understanding when and why assets are likely to fail.
This allows for efficient planning and scheduling, which when done properly can severely cut maintenance costs, ultimately propping up the bottom-line.
Choosing the right RCM approach, however, is a post in of itself and one I will leave to the experts over at reliabilityweb.com.
Reliability-centered maintenance is not a new concept.
It actually dates back to the 1960s and originated in the Airline Industry.
In Nowlan and Heap’s 1978 Report titled, “Reliability-centered Maintenance”, it states that by the late 1950s, the cost of Maintenance activities in the industry had become high enough to warrant a special investigation into the effectiveness of those activities. Accordingly, in 1960, a task force was formed consisting of representatives of both the airlines and the FAA to investigate the capabilities of preventive maintenance. The establishment of this task force subsequently led to the development of a series of guidelines for airlines and aircraft manufacturers to use, when establishing maintenance schedules for their aircraft.
The report is actually quite interesting to read when you have a chance to skim through 520 pages. You can access it here.
Fast forward to the 21st century and RCM has spread far beyond just the Aviation Industry.
“Hundreds of organizations around the world have demonstrated that Reliability-centered Maintenance (RCM) is consistently capable of significantly increasing asset performance.” (reliabilityweb.com)
In order to meet the principles above, a company must fully diverse itself into an RCM culture.
Reliability-centered Maintenance is not something that will happen overnight.
It is something that must be practiced in all areas of a maintenance organization and bought-in to by management as well.
A good place to begin is by reading reliabilityweb.com’s, “Reliability Centered Maintenance Project Manager’s Guide, which you can access here.
While RCM has been around for quite some time, it continues to advance with new research, advanced technologies, and further use cases.
It is also a great practice for companies looking to become ISO55000 certified as many of the guiding principles are similar.
In Tim Allen’s post on reliabilityweb.com he points out that ISO5501 requires an organization to determine “actions to address risks and opportunities associated with managing assets – taking into account how these risks and opportunities can change with time by establishing processes for:
In order to comply with the above standard, any company that has already employed a Reliability-centered Maintenance strategy would be well on their way to meeting these requirements.
Reliability-centered maintenance began as a “scheduled-maintenance program designed to realize the inherent reliability capabilities of equipment” (Nowlan et al.) back in the 1960s.
Since then, it has evolved into a philosophy.
A methodology of identifying which maintenance methods will work best on each piece of equipment in order to comply with safety regulations and maximize the output of each asset while minimizing maintenance costs along the way.
This information is invaluable when talking about maintenance scheduling.
With the successful implementation and adoption of a Reliability-centered Maintenance program, maintenance Schedulers will be able to use the information gathered by failures to better understand why they happened and when future failures may occur.
Also, the consequence identification of each failure will allow Schedulers to schedule maintenance based on asset criticality and importance.
This enables the Scheduler to become much more accurate with scheduling the right work at the right time and on the right asset, which in turn will lead to decreased maintenance costs.
Prometheus Planning & Scheduling was built with the RCM framework in mind in order to improve failure notification and alerts, schedule maintenance based on asset criticality assignments, and to provide the scheduler with detailed historic failure information for future use.
Planning & Scheduling works with the rest of the Prometheus Platform, which can help with your pursuit of Reliability-centered Maintenance and can move your organization towards predictive maintenance rather than reactive maintenance.