I have been asked this question a number of times by clients who are getting started with their Reliability Centered Maintenance effort; having been in the business going on twenty years, I have some standard replies worked out. However, in one particular case the customer wasn’t finished because after I replied, he followed up the first question with a second; “What KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) would you recommend to help show we are seeing results from our effort?”

While I had addressed KPIs with several customers in the past, each company can be a little different in what they might want to report. Taking a couple of seconds to think through the assets we had been analyzing, I offered a few suggestions. After the call, I began thinking this would be a very good topic for a blog, and I could send my recommendations for both questions along to the customer who asked them.

When it comes to developing a successful RCM effort, you really have to begin with the end in mind. Reliability Centered Maintenance is a tool best used to develop a complete maintenance strategy for a process or piece of equipment. It’s a valuable tool that needs to be part of a company’s overall strategy for improving and sustaining the reliability of all of their assets at a given site. Plain and simple, if your company has a strategy to improve reliability, RCM needs to be part of that effort.

In getting started, it is of extreme importance that your Operations, Maintenance, and Reliability leaders understand what RCM is, what it was designed to do, and the resources it takes to support an RCM effort through the entire process cycle.



Looking at the RCM Blitz® R5 Model, I would suggest again that starting with the end in mind – a successful and sustained RCM effort – develop a small core team to set the direction of your RCM effort in regard to how each department will select assets for analysis, who will be on their RCM team, who will be responsible for implementing RCM tasks, and who will track and report the RCM KPIs.

Engaged Employees

Another key ingredient for maintaining a successful RCM effort is engaging the employees involved in the effort to speak on behalf of the effort. I have yet to perform an RCM Analysis where at the completion of the Resolve or analysis phase both the operators and maintenance people involved didn’t fully support or understand the value of the process. In the case of the RCMs we have performed to date, the operator who was involved stated that after being involved in the process, he looked at how he performed his job in a completely different way, that he now understood how the machine was designed to run and why he was asked to perform certain tasks each shift. When the words that support a program come directly from the people who work the closest with the assets, they carry both power and meaning across the site and will be key in creating the synergy to get other departments to come on board.

RCM KPIs – Both Leading and Lagging Indicators

Leading KPIs – While most corporate executives prefer to see results, the most successful corporate leaders understand the only way to ensure you deliver results is to identify Key Leading Indicators. By identifying Key Leading Indicators and focusing on improving leading indicators, we can and will deliver results from our RCM program. I have listed several RCM Key Leading Indicators below:

Percent of Maintenance PM/PdM Tasks Implemented/Identified

Percent of Operator Care Tasks Implemented/Identified

Percent of Overall RCM Tasks Implemented/Identified

Percent of Maintenance PM/PdM Tasks Performed/Scheduled

Percent of Operator Care Tasks Performed/Scheduled

Percent Emergency/Demand Maintenance on RCM Assets

Percent Planned Maintenance (PM-PdM-Corrective)

RCM Schedule Compliance Per Department

Lagging KPIs – While Key Leading Indicators track the progress of your RCM effort, it’s the lagging KPIs that most of your managers will be interested in. The key here, however, is to ensure that you start to measure the lagging indicators before you begin your reliability journey. By doing this, you will have a solid benchmark for where the company was before you started your RCM or Reliability effort.

RCM Equipment Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) – One of the most valuable tips I can give anyone are some of the lessons I have learned throughout my career. The temptation with OEE is to measure it at a level that is too high to be of any value. In my opinion, OEE only delivers value measured at the machine level, but most people today are measuring it at a department, site, or company level. The value of measuring and understanding your OEE or TEEP (Total Effective Equipment Performance) is to identify the key manufacturing losses that are occurring (Operational, Speed, Quality) and select the correct tool to address the losses.

Line Process Reliability Plot – This is the tool one should use to measure reliability for a department, site, or company as it measures the reliability of your process and will clearly show the opportunity available for improvement.

Maintenance Related RCM Equipment Downtime

Monthly Maintenance Costs on RCM Equipment

Percent Off-Spec Parts Produced on RCM Equipment

Start with the end in mind – Focus on Implementing and Performing Tasks

While all of the above measures are a fantastic way to communicate the success of your efforts to management, the best way to keep your effort healthy is to openly communicate the progress to maintenance and operations groups. While e-mails and bulletins look nice, they do little to convey that anyone really cares. The progress of your efforts, including KPIs, should be communicated at group, department, work center, and team levels in the same way we communicate the importance of safety and quality. Just as important as the communication itself, the message should be delivered by someone different each month from CEOs to operators.  And just like your EHS and Quality efforts, the message only rings true if everyone in the company understands the importance of Reliability and the impact it has on your company.

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