Reliability Insights

RCM’s bad reputation 

Improving reliability has always been the top priority of many maintenance managers and practitioners. And so as an industry, we’ve come up with numerous strategies to help us achieve that goal. One notable strategy that has created hype in the maintenance world is Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM). See, everybody wants to join the RCM bandwagon these days. They’ve heard amazing stories about how it can significantly make their PM programs more efficient. And how it can drastically make their plant and equipment more reliable.  

Sure, there are plenty of successful case studies. But on the other hand, many people dive into RCM without careful preparations. Without really understanding what it entails. As a result, they invest huge amounts of money, labor, and resources for little to no gains. And so this big disappointment has created another side to its reputation, which I’ll talk about in this article. 

RCM’s Bad Reputation 

Many vendors and service providers will sell you on the amazing benefits of RCM. They will tell you it will magically improve your reliability. That it’s the best thing since sliced bread. And so many organisations shell out huge amounts of ‘investment’ to hire these vendors to implement RCM everywhere in their organisation. 

But after a few months of implementation, they don’t see any immediate ROI. They soon realise how resource-intensive RCM really is. That’s when they start saying things like….  

“Enough of this RCM nonsense”, or… “Sound’s good. But it doesn’t work.” 

In truth, they’ve bitten off more than they could chew. This is the other side of the coin. As famous as RCM is, it is equally INFAMOUS. Often maintenance practitioners who fell victim to this even go so far as to call it— 

A Resource Consuming Monster 

Now, as funny as it may seem, it’s actually quite tragic. Because the truth is, RCM is one of the most valuable, most powerful tools we have in our arsenal when it comes to optimizing our preventive maintenance programs. But RCM is so badly understood, so badly implemented in many organisations around the world, it has gotten a bad rap. A bad reputation.  

Cause of Poor Reputation 

This bad reputation is often the result of inexperienced people. Whether they are staff, contractors, or expensive consultants… they lead RCM projects whilst they lack the knowledge and resources needed. 

And the result is poorly executed projects where a lot of time and money has been spent for relatively very little gains.  

No wonder many people end up giving it a bad name. 

How to make RCM succeed for your organisation 

When RCM is executed by a team of experienced and knowledgeable professionals, RCM will give you the best possible output. 

See, a successful implementation of RCM requires 3 things: 

1. Deep knowledge and experience of the RCM process 

2. Familiarity of the plant and equipment that is being analyzed 

3. Significant resources and effort to yield results. 

That’s why you need to be wise about when, where, and how you deploy RCM. If you miss one, you will most likely fail. And I’ve seen it happen numerous times. 

And since RCM requires significant resources and effort to yield results, there’s one key thing you need to remember: Don’t implement RCM everywhere in your organisation. You need to implement it by equipment or by system. Otherwise, you risk spending huge amounts of money early in the project but get disappointed with little results months later. By doing RCM on small parts of your plant at a time, you can quickly generate good results for a smaller investment. Which you can then use to convince your management that this strategy is working. 

If you truly need to implement RCM in your organisation, then it is your responsibility to first educate yourself. You don’t need to have years of experience. You simply need to understand the necessary principles so you can make informed decisions. Especially when it comes to hiring RCM contractors and service providers. 

So if you want to learn all about the WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and HOW of RCM then check out our online training course, PM100: Developing and Improving Preventive Maintenance Programs. Inside the course, you will learn how to achieve higher reliability and availability whilst doing less maintenance. You will acquire the knowledge and tools you need to create a highly effective and efficient PM Program. 

Leave a comment below telling us what types of maintenance you use and why. Have you had great results with one specific type of maintenance let us know: