Like it or not we live in a society where we like to keep score. The score provides feedback; it gives those who are not involved information on the progress or success of those who are involved. The score can be delivered in an endless number of formats, the price of your company stock, net profits, unit cost of product, overall equipment effectiveness, or percent emergency/demand maintenance. In the world of Reliability Centered Maintenance RCM Guru Jack Nicholas gathered a team of experts several years ago to develop the RCM Scorecard. The result of this effort was a comprehensive tool that evaluated Key Performance Indicators at various periods before and during an RCM Project.
I have to say I was grateful for being involved with this effort as the finished product resulted in a tool that would deliver remarkable feedback on the maturity of an ongoing RCM effort. If you want detailed information on the progress of your RCM effort the RCM Scorecard would provide that information. In addition to this the scorecard also provided the option to be flexible and simple, anyone who knows Jack understands while he is thorough in his work he has a genuine appreciation for simplicity. The quest to make RCM simple is what made Jack and I friends and nearly ten years after working with Jack on the RCM Scorecard I have decided to write an article in regard to how to score your RCM effort using a few simple yet easy to answer questions. The result is a simple and quick method that will allow one to judge to potential success of their effort as well as identify areas where more coaching and mentoring are needed.
Using the original Scorecard as a template we can view your ongoing RCM effort in four phases:
1. Baseline Decision Metrics – (How are you selecting assets for analysis?)
2. Analysis Phase Metrics – (How did the RCM process change our Pre-RCM maintenance strategy?
3. Implementation Phase Metrics – (How are we doing at implementing RCM tasks?)
4. Benefits Phase Metrics – (Are we seeing benefits from our new RCM maintenance strategy?)
Starting with Decision Metrics let’s cut to the chase and begin this simplification by stating that RCM is not a tool that needs to be used on every asset at your facility. Reliability Centered Maintenance is a tool that will provide a return on investment provided we direct is use to critical assets and assets with poor reliability performance measures. Simplification in my mind also results in asking closed factual questions whenever possible. Closed factual questions elicit yes or no answers, we either use a formal process to select assets for RCM analyses or we don’t. In my mind answers like sometimes, maybe or on occasion open the door for bull, and when bull enters the conversation the truth often walks out.
Baseline Decision Metrics
- Is the asset selected for RCM analysis in the top 5 to 20 percent of your critical assets? (Yes or No) If the answer is yes score 1 point, if the answer is no or you have not performed an asset criticality assessment the score is zero. If you have not performed a formal asset criticality assessment I would highly recommend you do so.
- Are we measuring OEE for the selected asset? Score 1 point if the answer is yes, zero if the answer is no. Overall Equipment Effectiveness will be one way to determine the success of your RCM strategy. If you are not measuring OEE on critical assets I would recommend that you start doing so
- Is the selected asset suffering from equipment based failures in any of the following Key Manufacturing Losses; Operational Losses, Speed Losses, Quality Losses? Score 1 point for a yes answer, zero for a no answer. The key manufacturing losses are a function of Overall Equipment Effectiveness losses resulting from equipment based failures are a good indication of a poor maintenance strategy.
- Is the percent Emergency/Demand maintenance performed on this asset greater than 25%? Score 1 for a yes answer and zero for a no answer. A high amount of emergency and demand maintenance is a good indicator of poor maintenance practices.
Evaluation of Baseline Decision Questions
A score of 3 out of 4 or 4 out of 4 delivers an excellent candidate for RCM analysis. A score of 2 out of 4 or lower is a good indication that we need to select another asset for analysis.
Analysis Phase Metrics
Analysis Phase Metrics give us a snapshot view of two key items;
- Did we do a good job of selecting our asset for analysis?
- Did our facilitators do a good job in completing our Up-Front and Facilitating the RCM analysis? This includes RCM estimates, gathering of information, team training and RCM Facilitation.
Analysis Phase Questions
- Was the analysis time estimate within 10% of the actual time spent to perform the analysis? Score 1 for yes, zero for no. Good facilitators know how to keep the team focused to complete each analysis on time. Finishing too early may be a sign that several failure modes may have been missed or written at a high level. The ability to accurately estimate the time it will take a team to perform a RCM analysis is dependent on the number of Functions and Failure Modes analyzed. Time is money, we ask for your best people when we perform a RCM analysis and we want to utilize this time to bring benefit to your business.
- Are Failure Modes being written in a three part format? (Part, Problem, Specific Cause? Score 1 for yes and zero for no. I want to point out that answers like sometimes or most of the time does not count here. Good RCM facilitators understand the importance of writing good failure modes all the time.
- Are the tasks identified applicable and effective in mitigating each failure mode? Score 1 for yes and zero for no. I have to say that the person evaluating this question should have a thorough understanding of RCM, I see hundreds of examples of what some people believe are good analyses, in the end if the task mitigates the failure mode we have wasted our time.
- Did the RCM Facilitator work with the team to identify all the hidden failures and resulting failure finding tasks for this asset? Answer 1 for yes and zero for no. Again as stated along with question 3 you will need a person with a thorough understanding of RCM to report an accurate answer to this question. Accurate assessment of hidden failures is a critical component of a first class RCM effort.
Evaluation of Analysis Phase Metrics
A score of 3 out of 4 or better is outstanding! The analysis phase of Reliability Centered Maintenance is extremely important. It sets the stage for a successful RCM outcome and if we cut corners here our results will suffer.
A score of 2 out of 4 or less is a good indication that your RCM facilitator is in need of more mentoring or coaching. Chances are if you’re scoring in this range you are wasting both time and money. While I have seen a few people get lucky and post some huge results on a few well analyzed failure modes the odds are against continued success.
Implementation Phase Metrics
I have always loves the phrase “Implementation is the graveyard of RCM”. The phrase clearly describes the importance of good planning and follow through when it comes to implementing the task recommendations from each RCM analysis. As we train RCM Facilitators we try to make it very clear that unless we implement the tasks discovered in the analysis phase we have simply wasted a bunch of money talking about what is likely to happen to our equipment. Implementation is where the work really begins, we now have to take the recommendations of the RCM team and make them an ongoing part of how we now plan to manage this critical asset.
Implementation Phase Questions
- Have we named a specific individual as the RCM Implementation Manager? Score 1 for yes, zero for no. When I say name I mean a person’s name and not a title.
- Has each RCM Task been assigned a priority, due date and responsible person? Just like the implementation manager I want names assigned to each RCM task along with a due date’s that match the task priority. Implementing the RCM tasks is simple project management and we need to hold people accountable for implementing their assigned tasks.
- Is the RCM Implementation Manager communicating implementation progress that includes percent of tasks implemented and implementation schedule compliance? Score 1 for yes, zero for no. We need to know the leaders and laggers in our organization, leaders need to be reinforced and laggers may need more coaching or resources.
- Are we implementing at least 80% of our RCM task recommendations? Score 1 for yes, zero for no. If we are implementing more that’s great but if it’s less than eighty percent I would begin to worry that we may be cherry picking the results of each analysis. Picking the low hanging fruit can produce results but doing this is a gamble that many times results in temporary benefits. A complete maintenance strategy that ensures the designed reliability of your asset will only come from implementing all the tasks identified by the RCM team.
Evaluation of Implementation Phase Questions
Score 3 out of 4 you are doing a good job, 4 out of 4 and you can start planning a celebration, you have are now managing and implementing the tasks from your RCM analysis and in completing this phase of RCM you will soon see results. Start planning your next RCM analysis because you have proven that you can implement!
Score 2 out of 4 or worse and you had better put the brakes on your effort and start holding people accountable. At this point you have everything you need to make the effort a success but are not willing to do the work to make it happen. As a seasoned RCM practitioner nothing pains me more than to see a fantastic RCM analysis sit on a shelf advertising the money wasted for what could have been! Don’t you dare plan another analysis at this point.
Benefits Phase Metrics
Regardless of the score in all other areas, don’t kid yourself, this is where your RCM effort will be judged. This being said, if you scored high in the first three categories you are very likely to have a high score here as well.
Benefits Phase Questions
- Are the implemented RCM tasks now part of the regular routine maintenance and operating schedule for this equipment? Score 1 for yes and zero for no. In order to see any benefit from your RCM implementation we must now make these tasks part of our routine schedule.
- Are 90% of the scheduled RCM tasks being completed as part of our routine schedule? Score 1 for yes, zero for no. Completing these tasks will now ensure the benefit of reliability. Failing to complete them will result in a return to our old habits.
- Has the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) for this asset improved by more than 10 percent? Score 1 for yes and zero for no. I have seen way more than 10% but this figure will provide the return on investment needed to keep your RCM effort going.
- Has the amount of Emergency and Demand maintenance been reduced by more than 10 percent? Score 1 for yes and zero for no. Reducing the amount of emergency and demand maintenance will have a direct impact on maintenance costs as well as efficiency.
Evaluating Benefits Phase Metrics
Score 4 out of 4 any your group has hit a home run! Chances are we now have a long list of assets we now want to perform RCM on.
Score 3 out of 4 and we have done well. In most cases we failed question number 2 and we need to then work to improve on scheduling and completing tasks. It is important to recognize a failing score on number 2 will always impact the result of questions 3 and 4.
A score of 2 or less out of 4 shows that we elected to try and hit but failed to swing the bat! Put some work into questions 1 and 2 and the results of 3 and 4 are sure to follow. If we scored high in the first three phases and low on the last phase it’s because we have not followed through at completing the tasks. At this point we need to ensure operations and maintenance are working together to complete the RCM tasks.
In closing I again want to stress that this is a simple RCM Scorecard when we worked as a team to help Jack Nicholas create the original we were looking for a thorough yet flexible way to help managers evaluate their ongoing efforts and I would encourage everyone to read through the original document to find additional items that might better fit your business.