How to Make A Reliability-Centered Maintenance Plan Work 

Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) is a method of maintenance planning that focuses on improving performance longevity and the reliability of equipment. Unlike reactive maintenance or basic preventative maintenance following the manufacturer’s schedule, RCM is a dynamic and proactive approach to maintenance for commercial facilities. However, just like with any other maintenance plan, it only performs well when the maintenance team is committed and fully understands the workload required to make it work. 

One of the biggest obstacles to implementing RCM is company culture. The Association of Asset Management Professionals (AMP) conducted a survey on the sustainability of RCM practices. They asked, “What is the #1 reason Reliability Centered Maintenance implementation has such a low sustainable success rate?” and the results were surprising: 

  • 35% responded that a lack of executive sponsorship created hurdles to RCM implementation, while another 48% believed there was cultural resistance to new RCM.

Only 18% cited technical issues in maintenance procedures slowing down RCM strategy. This means that if you want your RCM plan to work, you have to have the leadership and culture shift to embrace it. When leadership encourages the adoption of RCM as a time-saver and performance-enhancer, it is more likely that the maintenance culture will change. Without the shift stemming from executive leadership, it is unlikely that your RCM plan will be successful. 

If your maintenance staff is not properly trained in RCM, or if they do not understand the strategic reasons for implementing a new and potentially more time-intensive plan, it is unlikely that they will adopt it. The facility manager should therefore shape the culture to embrace RCM as the best option for the facility as a whole. 

So, how do you shape your culture to adopt an RCM strategy when maintenance staff is used to a mix of reactive and manufacturer-recommended preventative care? You have to show the benefits of RCM not only for the company, but for the maintenance staff:

  • Predicting and preventing failures of individual equipment pieces is more efficient because it takes into account service history rather than just the equipment’s service life
  • RCM uses performance indicators like wrench time studies for procedural improvement
  • RCM can save money for the facility, which can go back into your maintenance department’s budget
  • Encourages root cause analysis rather than surface repairs 
  • Minimizes the necessity for overhauls and equipment replacement

If you fully embrace the benefits of RCM, there is no reason your company can’t transform the maintenance culture to adopt it. To learn more about RCM and custom preventative care for your facility, contact our offices today.

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