Maintenance Operations

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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The majority of maintenance operations in place in the 1970s relied on a model of asset management that was becoming quickly outdated. As manufactures all around the country began to use increasing complex systems in daily manufacturing, transport, and processing, traditional maintenance techniques were beginning to be seen as under-efficient, outmoded processes that weren't proving acceptable returns on the investment that many physical assets represented. The aviation industry was the first industry to commission a study on other options.

The resulting report emphasized that some maintenance procedures at the time were targeting the wrong aspect of the physical assets in question. Response from the report highlighted a general recognition among maintenance operations managers and officials that maintenance should aim to preserve the important aspects of physical assets--namely, their functions. A shift in focus to the functionality of the assets over their physical characteristics is central to the development of RCM.

RCM techniques offer other changes to traditional maintenance operations as well. One such concept is the idea that it is possible to make effective maintenance decisions and promote successful maintenance operations from little data regarding failure rates. The reason why this is possible is that failure rates of modern physical assets are less important that other aspects of the asset, such as the consequences of the failures. By aiming to reduce or avoid the consequences of asset failure rather preserve than the asset itself, RCM techniques allow maintenance managers to produce comprehensive operational strategies from relatively little hard data.

Upgrading to Maintenance Operations Based in RCM

Training and consultation in RCM practices is available from a number of different companies. Some asset management specialists also include on-site tutelage and RCM software that can help organize and institute efforts to revise outdated maintenance practices. Generally, RCM training consists of introductory material, facilitator development, and senior officer orientation seminars.

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