There are only two types of RCM - Not Dozens!

The success of Reliability centered Maintenance has had good and bad connotations for professionals in the field of physical asset management. 

On one side you have scores of companies who have successfully implemented compliant RCM as an integral part of their maintenance development program.

On the other side you have many companies who have fallen for the lie that "any RCM is good", and that they can achieve a similar benefit / impact using non-compliant versions of the method.  

The rise of non compliant (streamlined) methods actually occurred before the RCM standard was published, and was one of the primary reasons why the standard was published in the first place. 

Prior to the standard anyone could develop an FMEA base process, slap a decision guide on it and call it RCM. (Some didn't even go that far)  The reasoning was simple. Compliant RCM took too long and used too many resources.So instead of trying to change the way RCM was implemented, they hacked inot the method itself. 

Implementing RCM has evolved a lot since its early days. And the fully facilitated team approach was never essential for the application of rigorous RCM - the world just believed that it was !  

Today, the trend behind non-compliant methods is faltering. My own experience has been one of helping companies on the streamline path to achieve some of the benefits from standard compliant RCM. 

Some common forms of streamlined RCM... 

- Only the critical assets - missing the point entirely. You can lose a heck of a lot of money without having troubles with your critical assets. (The curse of criticality strikes again)  

- Only the critical failure modes - Inserting criticality matrixes into an RCM analysis is generally a waste of time and it makes the analytical effort longer.  There is one good use for this approach and that is for calculating the real criticality of assets. But few do it for this reason. 

- Missing functional failures or some other element. (dangerous - plain and simple)  

Now this is where the problems and arguments start. There are many, many methods out there. Ranging from FMECA, to PMO, through to other light forms of strategy review. 

I do not believe that these methods are worthless. Far from it.  I actually believe that there are many different methods for a range of different applications. But don't call them RCM because they are not. Simple as that. 

And in most cases their proponents would not argue that fact.  

Two styles - not dozens

There are many different processes and ways to perform compliant RCM. The writers of the standard showed a bit of foresight by limiting it to criteria rather than trying to tell everyone how to do RCM. 

But don't belive what you read around the place. There are not many different forms of RCM. If they are compliant methods then they all stem from two basic approaches.  

1. The Moubray approach. Heavy on P-F Intervals and with a consistent use of the decision diagram in its many forms.  

2. The Anthony (mac) Smith approach - not so heavy on a decision diagram, lots of age exploration thinking and less reliance on the P-F Interval. 

Every other method or approach you see out there today is an adaptation of one of these two fundamental approaches. Both of which reach back to the founding study group on RCM, and both of which have gaind a lot of support and success within Industry and globally. 

The point of this article? If you are somebody who purchases RCM services and software then it is worthwhile getting an independant opinion as to whether the method is standard compliant or not. 

And hopefully this short post will help a little in recognising what you are being presented with and where it came from. (One way or the other.)