Reliability Centered Maintenance RCM Optimizes Operations

Reliability Centered Maintenance RCM
Reliability Centered Maintenance RCM is a technique (methodology, really) for building a physical asset care program. It is system function-based, and is generally applied on a component basis. Rather than simply replacing components on a set schedule regardless of their condition, RCM identifies those that affect equipment function. This allows maintenance crews to focus on avoiding the consequences of the failure of those components, ensuring that plant operations can continue unabated. If you are working in the maintenance and reliability space, you may have heard about this methodology and wondered if it can benefit your operation. The short answer is yes! At Maintenance Innovators, Inc. we have spent decades helping businesses implement this practice by means of our workshops and consulting efforts.
There are a few questions to consider as you work to determine if RCM would be beneficial in your business. 
  1. Do your current Preventive Maintenance (PM) programs and practices follow a standard methodology or universal standard?
  2. Who created your PM tasks? Were they done systematically or haphazardly? In many operations, PM tasks are created by maintenance supervisors or planners, using the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (OEM) recommendations as a guideline.
  3. Are the components you are PM’ing the same ones that are failing?
  4. Does your storeroom often lack the parts you need when you need them? 
  5. Are you struggling to complete PM tasks because production won’t give you the equipment or your technicians are continually pulled away to deal with ‘emergencies?’
  6. Are your PM activities a core value driver of your business? Does production see them that way?
  7. Is your maintenance department seen as having only a singular function – maintenance? 
If you answered ‘yes’ to most or all of these questions, you may want to consider adopting Reliability Centered Maintenance RCM in your operation. For the practical improvement of critical plant assets, or when planning for the installation of a new piece of equipment, you can’t go wrong with this approach. It’s so successful that a version of it is used by NASA

But what does implementing Reliability Centered Maintenance RCM entail? According to The Reliability Excellence Workbook: From Ideas to Action, “In RCM…we typically look at all the various ways equipment can fail and work to find ways to identify what causes the failure and minimize its effects or eliminate the potential all together.” If you are thinking that this all sounds like a ton of work – you are correct! Reliability Centered Maintenance RCM is not for the faint of heart. Fortunately, you have a friend in the business!

At Maintenance Innovators, Inc. we will walk with you on your journey to excellence in your RCM practice. Our process begins with a workshop. After some training to align our thinking, we will get to work on everything you need to know and do to get started with Reliability Centered Maintenance RCM. Some topics we will cover include creating or updating your asset registry, forming and training an RCM team, how to ask and answer the seven RCM questions, and an open and honest discussion with your colleagues in the storeroom. The workshop provides the high-level maintenance strategy development your company needs to be successful using RCM, and can be a real morale builder for your maintenance staff. Here’s how one client described the changes that came about after working with us: “Organization and continuity were brought to our Melt Shop which resulted in a significant reduction to operational costs. We finally got out of the ‘hit and run’ culture we were fighting.” (Gilbert Medina, Melt Shop Superintendent, Sheffield Steel Corp.)

If you are interested in learning more about Reliability Centered Maintenance RCM, contact Maintenance Innovators, Inc. today at (913) 633-4009. With clients in a myriad industries, across the United States and around the world, we have the expertise to help your company achieve your maintenance and reliability goals.