Six Sigma Maintenance

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Similar to RCM 2 is Six Sigma maintenance. Six Sigma is a maintenance process that focuses on reducing the variation in business production processes. By reducing variation, a business can achieve tighter control over its operational systems, increasing their cost effectiveness and encouraging productivity breakthroughs.

The ideal achievement when using Six Sigma maintenance processes is to limit the standard deviation of production to 3.4 parts per million, or 99.9997%. The Six Sigma process includes five main steps toward this goal: define, measure, analyze, improve, and control (DMAIC in Six Sigma lingo). Some of these steps closely resemble RCM 2 processes, although the overall goal of Six Sigma maintenance is very different.

The Steps of Six Sigma Maintenance

Possibly the most time-consuming portion of this process is the Define stage. Teams representing many aspects of production must work together to define output in terms of the functions of input. The remaining steps of Six Sigma work are built on the foundations of the Define step. The second step, Measure, involves choosing analysis procedures and ranking the criticality of the functions described in the Define stage.

The third and fourth steps are similar to RCM 2 processes. Analyze and Improve use RCA (Root Cause Analysis) and FMEA (Failure Mode & Effects Analysis) to search out the causes and consequences of functional failures. As with RCM 2, they are used to help create a new asset management plan. The new plan is defined in the Control stage, which may require the help of the Finance Dept. and Six Sigma specialists, known and Black Belts and Green Belts.

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