By Henry Ellmann,
Ellmann, y Sueiro & Asociados
Over the many years of implementing RCM2 we have learned many “do’s” and “don’ts”. We share these experiences with many of our colleagues engaged in similar activities. Therefore, in this paper we are not presenting any revolutionary concepts. To the contrary, we wish to recap and emphasize what most of us have learned through experience, too often by trial and error which we know to be costly and frustrating.
Reliability beyond Maintenance
No technique can stand alone, by itself. One of the first evident steps was taking Reliability beyond Maintenance. While we always knew that actually we ARE looking beyond Maintenance issues when performing RCM2 Analysis, this had to become more explicit: now we prefer to introduce Reliability Centered Operations, which widens the scope, addressing Process as much as Maintenance.
Need for Implementation
Further we have come across the ever present need for better implementation of the RCM2 conclusions. The best Decision Worksheet is worthless on an electronic file or in a desk drawer… The next paragraph addresses this barrier.
Here we come across the need for Cultural Change. If all stakeholders involved do not buy into the NEED for applying state of the art methodologies and continue with traditional beliefs of “good enough”, the whole endeavor will falter… And unfortunately we have seen that happen too often…
The late John Moubray used to state that the participation methodology imposed by correct training and implementation of RCM2 is self-motivating by itself. Beyond a doubt, the fact that RCM2 brings in operators, maintenance technicians and specialists from the safety, quality, environment and other associated areas, is by itself a motivating factor. Is it enough though ? May be not…
Working in association with Psychologists and Behavioral Scientists, we have learned that it is NOT enough to “participate” in the effort. The individuals at different levels must become protagonists of the change, not mere participants ! And this does not happen by itself. Specific actions must be taken to generate that “real change” in an organization.
Whenever a specific Change Management module was explicitly added to the RCM2 endeavor, the benefits soon became evident. Understanding and implementation of the whole process occurred faster and measurable results showed up sooner and higher.
“Critical mass” of Condition based maintenance
Then, we discovered something which we may call a “breaking point”: as soon as enough maintenance tasks were turned into predictive (condition based monitoring), more and more people in different functions and at different levels became aware and convinced of the major benefits of RCM2. Too few of these improvements at the initial stages tend to go unnoticed or don’t achieve sufficient momentum as to invite to more by themselves. This could be analogized with an “avalanche process”: a few small rolling stones won’t turn into an avalanche… Any minor obstacle will stop them.
Conclusion: much perseverance has to be exerted in initial and mid stages, PLUS a strong, very strong need for divulging results, vertically (up and down) and horizontally (among peers). And “celebrate” (yes, explicitly celebrate) valid achievements for them never to go unnoticed.
MTA – Maintenance Task Analysis
Further, we must carefully pay attention to innovations! When MTA was introduced, some of us wondered if it was “legal” to shortcut Moubray’s fantastic RCM2 process. It is not only legal but also wise and necessary. What has rapidly been understood and introduced is the need for a preliminary objective assessment of WHEN to use RCM2 and when MTA. It is not only an alternative tool but a better tool in certain given circumstances! Overall end results are what counts.
SPA – Spare Parts Availability
Another important issue is the Spare Parts Availability. Everybody knows the importance of this, nevertheless seldom is enough attention paid to it. Often when we look at KPI’s and find excessive “Maintenance originated downtime”, a closer analysis will reveal that a high percentage of such downtime is in fact dead time waiting for the spares to be made available. The best RCM2 Strategy assessment will not yield any noticeable results if the Spare Parts issue is not properly addressed.
RCA – Root Cause Analysis
We also find a noticeable revival of RCA – Root Cause Analysis. Does it make sense? Yes it does, because when we answer the seven questions of RCM2 and come to the third question, Failure Modes, we know that finding – as we must – the cause which can and must be addressed for consequence mitigation is not always easy. Here, RCA can introduce a significant advantage.
Adequate software aid like Ivara EXP Enterprise, supported by hand-held computers, wireless communications and interfacing adequately with the traditional CMMS becomes unavoidable if we want to achieve state of the art implementation in this fast advancing XXI century.
And now PAS 55 comes along, which does add a very interesting new dimension to Physical Asset Management, by introducing among several other approaches, the need to address modern Physical Asset Management focusing towards the overall business goals, and not as a subject encapsulated in itself, therefore carefully watching out for its association with the other four asset types: Human, Financial, Intangible and Informatics.
The need for thorough advance planning has always been stressed, still perhaps not enough… When a Reliability Project is started, the resource necessities must be explicitly addressed. Man hours for Training and Team Analysis do not generate from nowhere. Complete requirements have to be properly assessed and planned ahead, to avoid delays and interruptions during project progress.
When it is said “it is no good to do the task correctly”… “IF it is not the correct task”, that does not imply that once we DO have the correct task defined, supported by proper strategies, those can be performed sloppily… Traditional approach of productivity and work-study is NOT obsolete! The thorough analysis of maintenance tasks can yield further compounded benefits. The new approach, though, shifts the priorities: again we must weigh correctly the final benefits of improvements, since what we are looking at is the bottom line and not maintenance costs as an end in itself. In fact we often encounter maintenance procedures which raise the maintenance cost, reducing considerably the equipment downtime overcompensating considerably the increased maintenance cost.
Last but not least, the need to appoint a CHAMPION to lead a Reliability Project can not be stressed enough. It is not a secondary assignment which any busy manager can add to his duties.
To conclude, it must be stressed that – as initially said – no one technique by itself, be it RCM2 or any other, can yield major results if synergy with associated techniques is not sought, properly understood and correctly implemented.
This article was written and submitted by Henry Ellmann, Ellmann, y Sueiro Asociados.