A reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) program carries many potential benefits for an organization that wants to ensure the long-term viability of its equipment. The main idea is to ensure that items are maintained in a way that prevents them from failing for as long as possible, allowing you to save money – and time – on repair procedures, and in some particularly bad cases, replacing the whole equipment. Implementing RCM properly relies on intricate knowledge of your systems and proper observation, but once you’ve got it up and running, it can significantly improve your overall operations.
Constant Data Analysis
One of the best ways to ensure that your efforts are going in the right place when working with a reliability-centered maintenance program is to gather as much data as possible, and put it through regular analysis. This is very easy to do today, as data collection systems are more prevalent than ever, and are very easy to deploy and use. When you have enough information about the way your equipment works, you can make a more educated decision about the necessary maintenance procedures. Of course, make sure that you also have some appropriate filtering systems in place, as you’ll want to know that the data you’re collecting is always valid and relevant. Polluting your databases with too much information can actually be detrimental in the long run, even if that information was once valid and gave you good insight.
Investigating Past Failures
Another good strategy to apply on a regular basis is to ensure that you’re taking past failures into account when developing methods to deal with new ones. You’ll need to know exactly how your items have broken down over time and what could have been done to prevent those situations, and sooner or later some patterns are going to start popping up. You may need some complex analytical tools to really see the connections, but once you’ve got your data organized in a proper way, you’ll find that it can be quite easy to get an overview of what’s happened in the past, and how it impacts your current situation. Combine this with what we mentioned above about data collection practices, and you should have a pretty solid system to give you an idea of what direction to work in.
Focusing on Critical Issues
Last but not least, it’s important to prioritize issues that actually make a solid impact when performing your maintenance. Sometimes a failure isn’t particularly problematic and it may be ignored more or less safely, but in other cases you’ll want to know that you’re putting as much effort as possible into preventing the main problems from arising. It can be a good idea to categorize your potential problems according to some criteria, and if your resources are limited, only focus on those that are high enough on the list. In fact, RCM can rarely address all issues in a particular system, which is why it’s important to learn how to prioritize them and how to focus on the ones that can make the biggest difference. You need to weigh factors such as how much of an impact it will have on your overall operations if a particular item breaks down, how much it would cost you to repair it, and how long that would take.
When you’ve got a good idea of where the biggest potential issues in your organization’s workflow are, and what kinds of actions have to be taken to address them, you’ll often find that it can be quite easy to ensure that things don’t break down over time, and by successfully integrating an RCM program into your operations, you can save a significant amount of time and money in the long run.