Maintenance Management Systems

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Due to the rapidly advancing characteristics of physical assets, maintenance management systems have needed to evolve dramatically in the last 30 years. The need for a new kind of asset management was first recognized by the commercial aviation industry in 1970, when they realized that traditional maintenance techniques were neither cost effective nor safe any longer. By inter-disciplinary collaborative efforts, they laid the groundwork for modern maintenance practices.

The History of Modern Maintenance Management Systems

In 1970, the major aircraft manufactures, the FAA, and the major U.S. airlines collaborated to produce a series of reports, recommendations, and revisions regarding maintenance practices for complex systems of modern physical assets. A collection of their findings, titled Reliability Centered Maintenance, was commissioned by the government in 1978, and became the basis of modern RCM practice. Since then, maintenance management systems have further evolved, incorporating new ideas, improved flexibility, and new maintenance techniques.

Currently, RCM-based maintenance management systems are used in many different industries around the globe. One strength of RCM is it's incredible customization, and it is a strength that lies at the heart of RCM thinking. By thoroughly analyzing the system or asset in question, RCM practitioners can employ maintenance management systems that target the specific needs and consequences of any possible failed state.

In fact, this aspect of RCM isn't just an improvement on traditional maintenance strategies, it is almost a complete reversal of them, and shows just how much the function of assets has changed in the business world. Prior to the studies in the 1970s, there was one maintenance model for equipment failure, leading asset managers to treat all assets similarly. Since the inception of RCM and modern maintenance management systems, however, the number of accepted patterns for conditional probability of failure has grown to six, the most commonly of which actually reverses the logic of the older failure pattern model.

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