Last year was not the best for some of us. Many maintenance and reliability organizations were under increased pressure to conform to the dictum: “Do more with fewer people and less money.” Expect no let up in demands this year. Pressure will continue to rise unless demand is vented or capacity is increased.
Our capacity to deal with the demands of the job is a function of the amount of information available to us, as well as our organization’s approach to the work. With the low-level repair approach to plant equipment, the organization is under extra pressure because it is operating in the dark, operating with little information on equipment condition and thus controlled by equipment breakdown.
As an organization elevates its approach to include preventive and predictive maintenance, the outlook becomes brighter. The organization now has more information about the equipment and increased capacity to manage it. The pressure of breakdown maintenance has been reduced. Embracing the higher-level principles of reliability-centered maintenance and modern business processes again increases capacity of the organization.
The outlook is expected to become even brighter at the next higher level: asset management. Although the asset management function is still being defined, its major characteristics are coming into focus. It views equipment reliability, capacity, availability, and maintenance as elements of an asset utilization strategy supporting plant objectives. Asset management is a strategic peer at the plant operations table, not a vassal for providing maintenance services.
We believe in asset management and we have made it a part of our tag line—The magazine of plant equipment reliaiblity, maintenance, and asset management. This issue has several articles that deal with asset management: