THE CASE FOR RELIABILITY-CENTERED MAINTENANCE
Many hospital systems across the country are seeking a competitive advantage with respect to operating costs and service quality. The healthcare industry is finding that effective operations and maintenance (O&M) practices can have a significant impact on business outcomes. As a result, market-leading hospitals are focusing on improving their O&M practices.
One area gaining industry-wide attention consists of eliminating reactive maintenance, also known as “run-to-failure” – a once-prevalent practice in which maintenance is performed only after a physical asset malfunctions. Today, few organizations rely on reactive maintenance as their standard operating model, but many businesses find they spend a majority of their time in a reactive mode due to poor planning and management.
The tendency among O&M organizations to rely on reactive maintenance can result in excess costs due to operationally disruptive events, including:
In addition to incurring high expenses, the business suffers because the maintenance team is unable to adequately support patient–facing operations exposing the organization to service lapses and, ultimately, market damage.
By contrast, organizations that minimize instances of reactive maintenance gain greater control of their workload and unplanned expenses. That thinking has led to the rise of reliability-centered maintenance (RCM), a paradigm that focuses on avoiding “run-to-failure” routines. As the name implies, RCM refers to practices that stress the use of reliable system components subject to fewer failures and requiring less maintenance over their lifecycles.
RCM was developed in the early ‘70s by aircraft engineers at United Airlines intent on improving the maintenance procedures for the Boeing 747. Soon, RCM was adopted across the aviation, defense and aerospace sectors where tolerance for operational failure is low. Today, a growing number of industries, including health care and manufacturing, rely on RCM to accelerate productivity, reduce costs and prevent downtime.
RCM integrates three related analytical tasks: failure analysis, consequence analysis, and task analysis. These analyses are focused on the causes, impacts and cures of asset failures; analysis is accompanied by taking of preemptive actions to minimize failure rates among critical components across the operation.
In the last decade, the widespread adoption of RCM has propagated three key industry trends across industries, including the healthcare sector. They are: (1) linking effective maintenance to productivity gains, 2) leveraging maintenance as a competitive strategy, and 3) emphasizing reliable systems and components thereby reducing the need for reactive maintenance and associated costs over an extended time.
Today, RCM is viewed among industry experts as a “best practices” model that can be applied to any sector where operational reliability on a consistent basis is critical.
At SMS, we know that steam traps play an integral role in high-impact, reliability-centered maintenance programs. Our state-of-the-art TECH-FITT® steam trap platforms and products are designed to perform at maximum efficiency for an extended lifetime precluding the need for unplanned maintenance while saving energy.
Hospital facility managers and stakeholders at leading hospitals depend on SMS solutions to reach their company’s reliability, productivity and financial goals. Most importantly, they can focus their time and resources on their organization’s core mission, delivering patient-care.
» Let’s talk about how SMS can help your company capture the benefits of reliability-centered maintenance.
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