Book Review: Reliability Centered Maintenance

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Reliability Centered Maintenance – Implementation made simple
Author: Neil Bloom.
ISBN: 0071460691

Have you ever heard the joke “What are the first four letters in analyst?”  Of course it spells “anal.”  I wear that like a badge of honor.  It takes a certain mindset to perform maintenance analysis, and quite frankly – I find it quite enjoyable, and challenging at times.    Where I work we joke about our analness; we have “axle Andy,” and “fire hydrant Fred” among others.

The goal of reliability centered maintenance (RCM) is to do the right maintenance, at the right time.  It’s easier said than done.  In my experience, there are many senior decision makers who have a hard time “letting go” and trusting the analysis performed by the analyst.  Some of my cohorts find this disconcerting; I tend to let the analysis speak for itself.  It is up to the customer to implement (or not) the suggestions I make.  I have found that, more often then not, a customer is more apt to follow previous maintenance patterns than to go out on a limb reducing the frequency of maintenance.

Mr. Bloom’s book is an easy read, at least for me. He provides a brief history of RCM and why it is important. RCM is more than the administrative “check in the box” that some management teams see it as.  It is a systematic and common sense approach to performing the right maintenance with the right periodicity. As with any project, an RCM study needs a champion.  This champion should have the leadership and communication skills to lead (and manage) the process of implementing an RCM study. While communication with stakeholders is important, it becomes especially so on a large, multi-person RCM study.  The RCM champion should use his communication skills to bridge the gap between analyst speak and everyone else.

Implementing RCM doesn’t need to be a painful process.  Mr. Bloom  provides suggestions (and some pretty cool innovative methods) to aid in the implementation process and stresses the importance of an internal enterprise environmental factor, organizational culture, that is dedicated and committed to RCM.  RCM is not a function of just the Maintenance Department, nor is it a function of just the Operations or Engineering departments.  RCM can be the “catalyst” (Bloom, 250) that channels the energies of all towards the goals of a safe & reliable facility.

RCM is the cornerstone of an effective and efficient maintenance strategy. A tool provided by Mr. Bloom in this book aids in cost analysis investigation.  This determines what the appropriate dollar amount (breakeven point) should be that justifies preventive maintenance rather than a run to failure approach.

The book is good, it should be a must read for any practitioner of RCM.



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