August 7, 2020

Six-Steps to Improved Reliability

When it comes to maintenance effectiveness and maximizing production capabilities at your facility, the goal is equipment availability and reliability. In many plants, reliability tasks are often time based. This may occur because companies are still using outdated processes and procedures or following a reactive maintenance strategy. Obviously, there are limitations to this strategy, especially if components or lubricants are being changed out prematurely or well past their life expectancy.

The use of a Reliability Based Maintenance (RBM) philosophy can help you effectively maintain plant assets while simultaneously reducing unexpected down time, production loss, and maintenance costs.

A refreshed approach to plant maintenance practices is often needed and that’s where applying an RBM philosophy can be a big factor in deciding how to make optimal changes.

Six-steps to Reliability

Identify all assets on site

Big or small, identify them all.  Determine the selection criteria and break them down into different units, components, facility areas, etc. You can also break it down based on your facility’s unique needs, but it must be consistent.

Rank your assets’ criticality

A site’s criticality analysis should be a living document. As new assets are commissioned and other assets age, the risk profile for the site will change. When creating a ranking model it is important to identify the most critical assets at a site that incorporates the potential impact on people, production, environment and reputation. Total risk, once assessed, is used to drive asset maintenance strategy. The Ranking factors should be clearly written and defined so the ranking can be objective. The higher the criticality, the more important it is to track the potential causes of failure.

Challenge your maintenance activities

Preventive Maintenance Optimization (or PMO) is a process that challenges current maintenance activities against a facilities assets. Use maintenance records and OEM recommendations to review PM tasks according to how they failed – or are anticipated to fail. PMO helps to confirm the right maintenance tasks are performed at the right intervals. This ensures the availability of the asset while minimizing the maintenance effort to achieve the required level of performance.

Review spare parts stocking

A Spare Parts Optimization (or SPO) review helps determine the right spare parts to stock in the right quantity. Calculate order quantities based on factors such as demand rate, carrying cost, and ordering cost. This will result in a reduction of overstocked parts, and elimination of obsolete stock items. PMO can have a significant impact on reducing maintenance costs and simultaneously ensuring the right parts and tools are available when needed.

Analyze your PM program

The purpose of analyzing a PM program is to measure the effectiveness of the reliability strategy on assets. For consistent analysis, define the desired maintenance criteria. Provide clear understanding of why the PM program is in place and its overall impact on revenue to cross-functional teams for the assets. Determine the integrity of assets by reviewing closed work orders, and the work completed on those work orders. This can help determine what the assets overall performance is.

Identify the failure modes

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (or FMEA) is a step-by-step approach for identifying the ways an asset or process can fail. The process utilizes a cross-functional team with knowledge about the process, asset or service. This helps to determine the functions of an asset, how it can fail at each of those functions, what scenario led to the failure, what the fall out of the failure is, and predict how often a failure may occur. FMEA is crucial in the RBM process as it can contribute to Root Cause Failure Analysis, if or when a failure occurs.


Revisit these six-steps regularly to ensure all assets are constantly and consistently monitored. It’s not a “Set it and forget it” process with new assets added regularly and existing assets constantly changing according to different operating conditions.

Contact our team of reliability specialists and find out how we can help with any of the above steps as you build a world class Reliability program.

By Drew MacRae