Carrying RCM implementation to the manufacturing floor

First-class RCM project planning begins with asking and then finding the answers to the following four questions: Let’s address these questions collectively and suggest some answers. Simply put, you have to determine where it is you wish to be when the journey is over. Is this just a trial balloon, to see if RCM is for you, or have you decided on using RCM as one of the primary tools in d...


First-class RCM project planning begins with asking and then finding the answers to the following four questions:

  • What is your end goal?

  • What resources (manpower, materials, tools, commitments) will you need?

  • How will you secure and keep these resources?

  • What hazards and obstacles could lie along the way (e.g. competing fiefdoms, availability of resources, changing commitments, lack of ownership)?

    • Let’s address these questions collectively and suggest some answers.

      Simply put, you have to determine where it is you wish to be when the journey is over. Is this just a trial balloon, to see if RCM is for you, or have you decided on using RCM as one of the primary tools in developing your new and cost-effective PM program? Either question requires that you first establish understandable and achievable goals. That is not to say that some or all of these goals may not change over time, but you must develop a viable vision of the future—you need to have a plan.

      A good plan will consider all aspects of the project from its beginning, to its completion, and beyond. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself. This list is, by far, not complete but it should get you thinking, and that is what good planning is all about.


      From whom and at what level of management do I need to obtain approvals? Remember that RCM must be supported from the very top of any organization if it is to be successful and have a long and productive life expectancy.

      1 . Where will the funding come from? You need to plan for:

      • Computers and software

      • Consultants

      • Salaries for the company people involved in the project (craft, facilitator, instruction/procedure writers, planners, etc.)

      • Purchase of new equipment to support the methods recommended by the RCM analysis; e.g., vibration or thermography equipment

      • Binders, supplies, and miscellaneous materials.

        • 2 . Who is the RCM champion? This question is usually connected with obtaining management support. A recognizable champion with a close and positive relationship with the troops must emerge during the pilot phase of the planning process. It is this person who will carry the RCM torch. If there is no RCM champion, there is no lasting RCM program.

          3 . Do you need the approval and support of other groups, organizations, or individuals outside your direct control? This is critical, especially if you require use of resources that they control. Some of these groups would include:

          • Operations

          • Other support groups, such as PdM groups

          • Planning and work control—CMMS

          • Administrative types, e.g. budget, purchasing agents

          • Clerical staff.

            • 4 . How will the recommendations be implemented? This has traditionally been the stumbling block, the difference between a successful RCM program and one that is not. Among the questions to ask:

              • Do you have an implementation plan?

              • Can your team directly implement all the recommendations?

              • Who else has a role in implementing the recommendations, and how will you obtain and then sustain their support?

              • What is the impact on your CMMS?

              • How will IOIs (items of interest) be assigned, progress tracked and reported, and the ROI (return on investment) calculated?

              • What is the impact on other company systems; e.g., stores, accounting?

                • 5 . What are the potential organizational impacts when this program is implemented? Who will do what tasks; e.g., will operations be expected to do maintenance and will they do it? Are there fears of staff reductions? You should define:

                  • Plant staffing levels

                  • How the is plant organized

                  • How the work will be assigned.

                    • 6 . How will you measure success, and, very importantly, what are the metrics to be employed? Below are some suggestions.

                      Short term

                      • Progress reporting on specific RCM analyses

                      • RCM systems completed

                      • Changes to PM program implemented

                      • Preliminary ROI from IOIs, especially any high impact or dollar findings.

                        • Long Term

                          • Change in the total maintenance cost — anything down is good

                          • Change in the forced outage rate on RCM versus non-RCM systems and even components

                          • Any CM events which RCM missed, and what is being done to ensure it will not happen again

                          • Long-term ROI, both measured and anticipated from implementing IOIs.

                            • 7 . How will you keep management informed as to the progress being made, and how will it be accomplished? The more visible the program is, the more likely it will continue to be supported — get on their weekly agenda. Also, don’t be afraid to report improvement opportunities (e.g., problems)—just have a suggested solution handy.

                              The last two items in this short list, metrics and reporting, are the primary keys to the success of any program. We have found that some form of progress reporting is generally quite effective in the near term. It can focus on the number of subsystems or systems completed. Reporting must include any big items of interest that the team uncovered — remember that these are pearls of great value.

                              As your RCM program gets more entrenched in the daily life of the plant, it is important that you report on metrics that have a measurable value, especially ones indicating the dollar impact on the bottom line that the program is making. Soft metrics, like avoided cost and other metrics that have a lot of “trust me” in them, do not float the ship.


Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
October 2018
Tools vs. sensors, functional safety, compressor rental, an operational network of maintenance and safety
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
October 2018
Complex upgrades for system integrators; Process control safety and compliance
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me