An Introduction to RCM

1 The Changing World of Maintenance
Over the last twenty years, maintenance has changed, perhaps more so than any other management discipline. The changes are due to a hugeincrease in the number and variety of physical assets (plant, equipment and buildings) that must be maintained throughout the world, more complex designs, new maintenance techniques and changingviews on maintenance organization and responsibilities. Maintenance is also responding to changing expectations, including a rapidly growing awareness of the extent to which equipment failure affectssafety and the environment, growing awareness of the connection between maintenance and product quality, and increasing pressure to achieve high plant availability and to contain costs. The changes aretesting attitudes and skills in all industries to the limit. Maintenance people are having to adopt completely new ways of thinking and acting, as engineers and as managers. At the same time, thelimitations of maintenance systems are becoming increasingly apparent, no matter how much they are computerized. In the face of this avalanche of change, managers everywhere are seeking a new approach tomaintenance. They want to avoid the false starts and dead ends that always accompany major upheavals. Instead they seek a strategic framework that synthesizes the new developments into a coherentpattern, so that they can evaluate them sensibly and apply those likely to be of most value to them and their companies. This paper describes a philosophy that provides just such a framework. It is calledReliability-centered Maintenance, or RCM. If it is applied correctly, RCM transforms the relationships between the undertakings that use it, their existing physical assets and the people who operateand maintain those assets. It also enables new assets to be put into effective service with great speed, confidence and precision. The following paragraphs provide a brief introduction to RCM,... [continua]

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