Instead of allocating time and resources trying to force the same maintenance method on every asset in your facility, reliability centered maintenance (RCM) offers you a more structured and proven approach where each piece of equipment is allocated a befitting maintenance strategy based on the results of a well-executed RCM analysis.
The end result is an overall improvement in reliability since every asset gets the right maintenance at the right time. RCM is aimed at reducing maintenance costs, improving safety and reliability, and eliminating those maintenance tasks that are not effective or appropriate for a given piece of machinery.
Below we’ll be discussing how a CMMS can support and improve different stages of RCM.
1) Provide background information
When it is implemented correctly, reliability centered maintenance has the potential to greatly improve your company’s bottom line. Some benefits of the RCM approach include identifying and solving machine problems, increasing plant productivity, and eventually reducing maintenance costs.
But to succeed, RCM must proceed in a structured manner.
From inception (before implementation starts), the process relies heavily on the information that you already have about your equipment. This information helps to identify and select the equipment for RCM analysis. It’s, therefore, safe to say that an RCM project can’t even take off without reliable data and that’s where the relevance of CMMS for RCM starts.
Important information such as types of failure, recurring failures, cost of previous repairs, spare parts used, etc will ideally come from your CMMS. Alternatively, that information will have to be retrieved and collated manually from in-house paper records, OEM manuals, and so on.
2) Standardize selected maintenance tasks
The strength of RCM lies in its methods for analyzing each failure mode. The objective is to preserve system function by understanding which maintenance method would work best for each piece of equipment. To do this, it has to:
- Identify every failure mode that can affect the system function.
- Prioritize the failure modes.
- Select the most effective maintenance tasks to control these failure modes.
In summary, this boils down to – now that we have identified the failure modes, which maintenance method is technically best and economically feasible for preventing each failure?
There are several maintenance tactics that could answer this question but whatever method is selected, CMMS will play a central role in proactively sustaining each maintenance program and standardizing each task.
For instance, let’s say we have decided to adopt time-based preventive maintenance. A CMMS can be used to schedule each task interval and sustain the other important aspects like regular inspections, work order management, and inventory management.
Or, we may decide to use condition-based monitoring when it is economically more feasible and prudent to detect the onset of failure well in advance. Again, a CMMS serves as the ideal platform for receiving the information coming from the CBM sensors and deciding how/when to act on it, based on the level of “damage” and the failure modes you previously identified.
3) Prove the ROI of using RCM
The return on investment on an RCM exercise may take some time to prove, but after some time – usually a year or thereabout – if you’ve been keeping diligent records and tracking specific KPIs, you will likely have evidence in your CMMS records and reports showing the impact of RCM on your maintenance operations. To help you pinpoint the ROI on RCM, you can check your records to compare the following before and after implementing RCM:
- Frequency and duration of machine downtime.
- Maintenance costs for the period under review.
- Revenue lost due to downtime.
- Work hours lost due to downtime.
- Savings on energy consumption.
- Spare parts availability.
- Improvement in overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).
- Safety-related savings for the period under review.
Based on the savings from RCM, you may use the traditional calculation of ROI to get a clear idea of what has been gained over a one year period:
ROI = (Net Profit / Total Investment) * 100
4) Steadily reduce maintenance costs
RCM offers more flexibility and opportunities for cost savings by recommending the most efficient maintenance techniques for each asset.
For example, the RCM analysis may recommend run-to-failure as the most feasible strategy for a particular asset because of its negligible impact on production or safety, thus requiring minimal planning and easy implementation. Then it would recommend preventive maintenance or condition-based monitoring for more critical assets. This way, it eliminates the unnecessary application of misplaced maintenance activities and resources.
In a facility with a corporate-level strategy that combines different types of maintenance, a CMMS will help to centralize all the maintenance-related information, improve the workflow, and automate the administrative and recurring tasks like issuing and managing work orders and preparing preventive maintenance checklists.
5) Support continuous improvement efforts
After all the above processes are running smoothly, it is important that there is room for ongoing feedback about the RCM methodology. The organization needs to regularly review the maintenance methods selected and improve their tactics from time to time with the discovery of additional information about any lingering inefficiencies and lapses.
With a modern maintenance system in place, the maintenance team can get this information faster and more accurately by reviewing information like comments on work orders, equipment maintenance logs, data on failure metrics like MTTR and MTBF, as well as a wide variety of other maintenance reports.
The fact is, CMMS remains a vital tool in any maintenance strategy because of its unparalleled abilities to analyze vast amounts of data and minimize production losses and maintenance costs. When combined with reliability-centered maintenance, both systems create an advantageous collaboration that can lead to maximum uptime of equipment while controlling maintenance costs.