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M-News Edition 2
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M-News - the Maintenance Newsletter

Edition 2, May 1999

Welcome to the second edition of M-News, a free newsletter on topics of interest to Maintenance professionals, brought to you by the Plant Maintenance Resource Center. By popular demand, this second edition of the newsletter is being issued barely a month after the first issue. Thank you to all those who have expressed their support for the concept.

We aim to bring you the latest news and views on what is happening in the world of Maintenance. If you wish to receive notification of future copies of this newsletter by email, please register here. If you have any feedback on the newsletter, or have something to contribute, please send me an e-mail.

Feature Article - The Reliability Revolution

Is a new shift in paradigm occurring?

Manou Hosseini contributes this article, which was recently published in the Canadian Mining Journal. While it draws on examples from the mining industry, many of the points this excellent article raises are valid in other industries.

The article discusses the equipment reliability issue and address the need for the analysis of various performance measures through "what-if" examinations of various business conditions and operation scenarios. It is argued that this can be achieved by developing comprehensive reliability and maintenance optimization models, which are integrated with the operational characteristics of operating systems.

The article puts forward an interesting framework for considering the concept of equipment reliability, depending upon the time frame over which demand for the equipment to function is required. It also proposes a model for assessing maintenance management process maturity.

The full article can be read

TPM Implementation Survey - results

Response to the TPM Implementation Survey was somewhat disappointing, with responses received from 18 individuals. Drawing conclusions from such a small sample is somewhat dangerous, but based on the responses received it would appear that:
  • Approximately 40% of respondents are currently applying TPM at their workplaces
  • Of the 60% who are not currently applying TPM principles at their workplaces, about 30% intend to apply TPM within the next 12-24 months.
  • The key factors in past implementation success were seen to be Effective Training, Effective Project Management, Persistence and Senior Management Committment. However, Effective Change Management was seen as being the most important factor for future success.
  • The biggest benefits seen from TPM implementation were in the areas of better Equipment Reliability and Availability, and improved teamwork between Production and Maintenance, however benefits were gained in other areas as well.
For all the results, visit

Feature Article - Integrating RCM with Effective Planning and Scheduling

For many organisations, there is a collective sigh of relief once they have completed their RCM analysis - at last this job is over! However, the reality is that the job is, at best, half complete. A lot of work remains to be done to successfully implement the RCM decisions, and many RCM projects fail because they do not successfully complete the required implementation tasks. This paper outlines the key activities that must be performed in order to successfully implement the RCM decisions following completion of the RCM analysis, and integrate these with an effective planning and scheduling system. Some of these activities are technical in nature, but the most important ones deal with people and administrative issues. To read this article, click

Design for Maintainability/Reliability Survey

The latest Plant Maintenance Resource Center survey is on Design for Maintainability/Reliability. The survey format has been modified to make it quicker and easier to respond. Let us know what your organisation is doing in this area on the
Survey Page

Maintenance Articles Update

With over 400 articles on topics of interest to Maintenance professionals now catalogued at the Plant Maintenance Resource Center, a significant revision of the article categories has been required. New categories include separate listings for articles on Maintenance Costing and Budgeting, Compressors, Turbines, Failure Analysis, Hydraulics, Performance Measurement and Benchmarking, amongst others. Check out the new categories

Maintenance Software Listings Update

New categories have also been listed for the more than 350 maintenance software packages listed at the Plant Maintenance Resource Center. No longer do many packages languish in the "other software" category. Check out the new categories for Safety/Lockout/Tagout software, Turnaround/Shutdown Management software, Failure Analysis software, Availability/Reliability/Life Cycle Costing modelling software, amongst others, here.

Maintenance Jobs Board - now available

By popular request, we have added a Jobs Board to the Plant Maintenance Resource Center website. Now you can post details of Maintenance-related jobs that are available and/or jobs that are wanted. This is a free service.
Visit here to view and add jobs available and wanted.

Book Review - Reliability Centered Maintenance - by John Moubray

If you plan on reading only one book on Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), make this the one.

While the concepts behind RCM are not new, having originated in the 1960's in the airline industry, the recent explosion in interest in RCM, and its broader application in a wide range of industries has much to do with John Moubray, and the excellent way in which he explains RCM principles. This is a very readable book, that does an excellent job of explaining important technical concepts in a way that is totally non-threatening to those of us who do not have a firm grip on the statistics of reliability (and how many of us are there that actually do? He manages to achieve this through the liberal use of examples and minimal use of detailed statistical analysis (although some explanation of the statistics behind the concepts are contained in the book).

The book is a companion to the courses run by Moubray's company Aladon, and its world-wide network of licensees, but this is more than a set of course notes - it is a full explanation of all that you need to know to successfully implement RCM in your organisation. As with all books, however, benefits can be obtained from having the finer points explained to you, as well as actually practicing applying the principles, and the Aladon courses do an excellent job of adding value in these areas.

The book runs through the seven questions of the RCM process:

  • What are the functions of the item of equipment?
  • How can it fail?
  • What causes it to fail?
  • What happens when it fails?
  • Does it matter if it fails?
  • Can anything to be done to predict or prevent the failure?
  • What should be done if the failure cannot be predicted or prevented?

Moubray fully discusses the practical implications that lie behind what may otherwise be considered to be fairly simple questions. Additional chapters cover areas such as the underlying statistics behind the process, the history of RCM, and chapters on the steps to be taken, and considerations to be made when applying RCM within an organisation. One of the measures of success of the book is that, at its conclusion, the overwhelming feeling is that "this is all common sense" - which then begs the question, if it really is common sense, then why isn't common sense very common?

If there is one minor quibble with the book, it is in the chapter on implementation. Moubray takes a very purist approach to the implementation of RCM, and argues strongly that, to be implemented properly, a high level of involvement is required from Production, Maintenance and Engineering team members. He (correctly) argues that no one person carries all of the information that is required to make appropriate RCM decision. However, in this era of workforce downsizing, getting access to all these people for the time required may be difficult, and may not be able to be justified - especially in those situations where the equipment being analysed is less-critical. He also argues against using software to expedite the RCM process, without recognition of the potential benefits that can be obtained when it comes to future revisions to the RCM decisions, or the potential benefits that can be obtained by using appropriate function and failure-mode libraries as a starting point to the process (although using these libraries must always be treated very carefully, as each equipment item and its operating context will be unique). Moubray's implementation approach is perhaps most appropriate when dealing with highly-critical equipment, where the consequences of failure could lead to large scale economic loss, environmental damage, or potential fatalities, but it would be good to see alternative implementation approaches discussed, depending on the criticality of the equipment being analysed.

Nevertheless despite this minor quibble, this book still remains the best, most readable, most practical book on RCM currently available.

(This book may be purchased through the Plant Maintenance Resource Center, in association with Visit here for details).

I hope you have enjoyed this newsletter. All feedback, comments and contributions to future editions are very welcome (as are enquiries about sponsorship of this newsletter).

Alexander (Sandy) Dunn
Plant Maintenance Resource Center

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