Directory of information management systems for Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) and Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
Mature maintenance and reliability programs, ones that have the basics covered, look to reliability analysis as a primary path to improved maintenance practice. The analysis efforts are directed toward physical assets and systems whose failure will produce significant negative impact on safety, environmental and regulatory compliance, productivity, or costs.
Reliability centered maintenance (RCM) is accepted as the most effective and comprehensive approach to reliability analysis. Also effective is failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) which is an element of RCM that can be practiced independently. In both approaches, the equipment or system is analyzed by a cross-functional team of plant personnel according to a prescribed procedure. The team is led by a trained facilitator.
RCM and FMEA produce a lot of data which can be difficult to organize and maintain. There are a number of data and information management software packages that have been developed to streamline the RCM and FMEA data handling chore. The following information includes a listing of 15 such packages, along with suggestions from the software producers on how to get started with an RCM or FMEA program and how to sell it to management.
Getting started with RCM
Maintenance and reliability practitioners and consultants stress the need for appropriate training prior to launching a RCM or FMEA project.
“First time RCM analysts,” notes Anthony “Mac” Smith, RCM consultant, “should use an experienced facilitator to guide them through the initial process. In-house personnel should be involved in making the RCM decisions, not outside contractors. This helps provide buy-in and increases the success and benefits of RCM.”
According to Chris Kelly of Strategic Corporate Assessment Systems, “Practitioners need to have a full understanding of the principles of reliability centered maintenance in order to obtain sustainable outcomes. A maintenance strategy review needs to be undertaken like any other project, i.e., with milestones and expected deliverables. Thereafter, the reliability approach needs to be embedded into daily life for maintenance people.”
How to sell the program
When it comes to selling upper management on the benefits of RCM, JMS Software’s Nick Jize suggests that you should “let management know that the process will shift the paradigms of why maintenance is done from a reactive, time-based approach to a proven reliability and condition-based, less intrusive approach. Knowing that, in-house personnel will perform the analysis and thereby increase their expertise on how plant equipment fails and how to prevent it. Most important, show them the cost and benefits of the process. Too often, management sees only the initial costs and does not see the instant payback. They need to understand the process and see the differences in task selection after each system is completed.”
“Nontechnical management must be convinced that maintenance is a business function and integrally linked to production,” councils Kelly. “We need to impart to management that the maintenance function has far-reaching business impacts which include the preservation and extension of the life of expensive assets. We also need to impart a quantification of the business value associated with an increase in reliability, availability, and production associated with an optimized RCM- based maintenance regime.”
“There is a clear business case for the improved reliability that results from a technically sound work identification strategy like RCM or FMEA,” says Ivara’s Ann Christie. “Upper management will be interested in understanding the business case in terms of speed of payback and multiples of return. In addition, senior management will look at nonfinancial business impacts particularly those that reduce risk. For example, in regulated industries improved reliability will enable a company to more easily meet the regulators’ demands. Other impacts such as improved safety and environmental compliance can easily be attributed to improved reliability.”
The information on the software listed here was provided by the suppliers of the software. Each description begins with a notation of whether the software developer claims the package is designed to facilitate RCM, FMEA, or both.
If you have used or know of software helpful to managing the information associated with RCM or FMEA other than that listed here, we urge you to notify the editors so that it can be considered for the next edition of this directory. MT