Maintenance Reliability Reliability & Maintenance Center

Tips for R&M Success

Jane Alexander | September 11, 2018

In a recent online article, “Achieve Results from Your Improvement Initiatives,” author Christer Idhammar of IDCON, Raleigh, NC (, pointed to the availability of various tools that a plant can leverage to enhance performance of a holistic reliability and maintenance (R&M) system. Among them:

CMMS: Without a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), it is virtually impossible to efficiently manage reliability and maintenance in today’s plants and facilities.

Single-Minute Exchange of Die (SMED): Used to develop standard job plans, SMED separates what is to be done before, during, and after a job is completed.

Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM): As a tool, NOT a complete system, RCM methodology can help determine the right tasks and frequency of maintenance for components in very complex systems.

Kaizen: Referencing the Japanese word for “continuous improvement,” a kaizen event can focus on one task to improve.

Six Sigma: Leveraged to improve the quality of the output of a process, Six Sigma identifies and removes the causes of defects and minimizes variability in manufacturing and business processes. It uses a set of quality-management methods, mainly empirical, statistical methods. Every Six Sigma project follows a defined sequence of steps and has specific value targets, e.g., to reduce failure rate and reduce shutdown time.

Five S: Short for “sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain,” the Five S method can be used to organize a workshop, stores, or a workplace.

As Idhammar noted, though, most organizations go through a multitude of improvement programs over time, including some that aren’t completed or sustained.

“In many cases,” he wrote, “if a new tool is introduced, people tend to think of it as just another ‘program of the month.’” Thus, he cautioned, when these types of tools and processes are introduced, it’s important to explain how they fit into a holistic reliability-and-maintenance system. Furthermore, performance indicators for reliability and maintenance, like those for safety, should continue to be reinforced to drive continuous improvements.

Read the full article here. EP

Christer Idhammar is founder and executive vice president of IDCON Inc., Raleigh, NC. For more information, email and/or visit




Jane Alexander

Jane Alexander

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