SMRP conference highlights “Body of Knowledge”


By Russ Kratowicz

Nov 27, 2005

The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP) held its 13th annual conference in St. Louis during the last week of October 2005. The event hosted more than 650 maintenance practitioners representing every part of industry, as well as governmental and educational organizations. More than 80 experts in the maintenance and reliability field presented 50 technical sessions highlighting actionable information structured around the SMRP Body of Knowledge, a collection of tools in the areas of best practices, best practice metrics, benchmarking and reference material that enables plant professionals to optimize improvement opportunities. The exhibition hall featured 54 exhibitors.

This was the first official event held under the direction of a new slate of officers led by Pat Winters, SMRP's new Executive Director. The officers for the 2005-2006 term include Chair Chuck Armbruster, Vice Chair Tom Byerley, Treasurer Tim Goshert, Secretary David Staat and Past Chair Larry Cote.

The group used the event as an opportunity to announce its new and continuing initiatives for the coming term. The organization’s Best Practice Metrics Project has identified 44 key maintenance and reliability metrics, of which 17 have been peer-reviewed and posted to the SMRP Web site for comment (

SMRP Standards Committee believes that equipment should be designed for maintainability, so standards must be written with the maintainer in mind. But, various organizations have already developed no less than 2,800 standards without adequate representation of the maintenance and reliability community. In response, beginning in January of 2005, SMRP has been developing international standards that are applicable to the field of maintenance and reliability. These will be based on available maintenance and reliability related standards and SMRP will develop new standards as appropriate (see

The SMRP Academic Liaison has acknowledged that the maintenance field is experiencing a brain drain as skilled practitioners retire without being replaced by younger workers moving up in the ranks. Even when such workers are available and willing to enter the field, employers spend one to three years and $100,000 to $300,000 to train each new maintenance technician. The SMRP Academic Liaison seeks to connect the private sector, SMRP and educational institutions to enhance reliability and maintenance awareness and knowledge. It plans to do this by contacting at least 20 universities each year to help develop appropriate curricula (see

The SMRP Certifying Organization prepares and conducts examinations for recognition as a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP). This year’s conference gave prospective members three opportunities to sit the examination that covered the five pillars of maintenance through 110 multiple-choice questions. In the past four years, SMRP has certified through its ANSI-approved process and examination the skill level of more than 1,000 practitioners. These professionals are entitled to append “CMRP” to their names.

The SMRP organization was formed and chartered in 1992 as a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 corporation. SMRP promotes information exchange through a network of maintenance and reliability professionals, supports maintenance and reliability as integral part of business and asset management, and seeks to be a voice that advances innovative reliability practices.

It held its first maintenance and reliability conference in 1993 in Nashville and the event has grown larger in each successive year. Now with about 1,500 individual members and 140 corporate members, the organization promotes maintenance and reliability excellence worldwide in a variety of manufacturing plants and other business entities.