When people first begin to learn about Reliability Centered Maintenance and methodologies like RCM Blitz, they get excited about the potential results that can come from performing a RCM analysis and implementing the resulting tasks. Shortly after completing their RCM Training some begin to understand that good RCM takes leadership, structure and discipline, others begin to think of ways to shortcut the process.
One of the curses of being human is the burning desire to do everything faster. From the time we first learn to walk we have a desire to run, the minute the first automobiles hit the road someone had to make a faster one. In the world of manufacturing and maintenance speed can be a good thing but it can also be a bad thing. From the time Nowlan and Heap first designed and implemented RCM people have been in search of ways to make it faster and in most cases they do so by eliminating some of the key process steps. In many cases functions and functional failures are steps that are eliminated or partly eliminated. In each case the result is an incomplete RCM analysis and an incomplete maintenance strategy. The well meaning attempt to save time is usually driven by an inexperienced facilitator who does not have a full understanding of the consequences or an impatient manager with even less understanding. The list below outlines consequences of skipping functions and or functional failures when performing RCM.
Skipping Functions, listing only a main function, or skipping functional failures results in:
1.) Incomplete listing of failure modes (How can one expect a complete listing of failures without identifying each component?)
2.) Incomplete listing of hidden failures (If we don’t discuss each component and its intended function would we expect to discover failures that are not evident?)
3.) The inability to recognize when functional failure has occurred (Failure to recognize functional failure is key in beginning to recognize and understand potential failures and the P-F Curve)
4.) Improper applications of Preventive Maintenance and On-Condition Maintenance (Functions, Performance Standards and Functional Failures are all key components in understanding the use of on-condition maintenance and predictive technologies. Failure to identify these key components often results in preventive maintenance being applied where on-condition maintenance would be more applicable and effective)
5.) An incomplete and therefore less effective maintenance strategy (With all of the above being true how would one expect an effective maintenance strategy as a finished product)