Where is the maintenance and reliability profession moving? Will it still be viable in the next 5 years, or the next 10 years? What can be expected? I believe the profession will be more important than ever before, and be more tightly linked to enterprise performance. However, the function will be most visible as “physical asset management” rather than under its traditional label.
Here are some thoughts about Physical Asset Management and its future, thoughts that generally represent my view and that of the board of directors of the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP).
Common view of the maintenance profession
I recently asked a cross-section of managers and employees within manufacturing and maintenance from various industries one simple question: “What is the first thought that comes to mind when I mention the word maintenance?”
The most common responses I received were:
In essence, these first thoughts are not what one would consider highly positive responses. There seems to be a fundamental problem embedded within the word maintenance itself, and the historical context that it brings.
In more straightforward terms I am talking about all the baggage associated with the term maintenance. As we dwell more on the subject we begin to understand that maintenance by its very nature and history has self-limiting drawbacks in its ability to further the creation of wealth in industry, in the economy, and for practitioners themselves. The limitations within the maintenance function can be further evidenced by the following points:
The most self-limiting factor is how the maintenance function in many organizations is viewed, and the behavior promoted by that view. In most cases, maintenance is viewed as a service function rather than a critical business process. The service function view breeds customer supplier behavior, whereas the critical business process view breeds comprehensive ownership behavior.
SMRP will be the global leader that . . .
• Facilitates information exchange through a struc-tured network of maintenance and reliability professionals.
• Supports maintenance and reliability as an integral part of business and asset management.
• Presents a collective voice on maintenance and reliability issues and advances innovative reliability practices.
• Promotes and supports maintenance and reliability education for production and quality processes to improve the work environment.
The Society is dedicated to instilling excellence in maintenance and reliability professionals.
• Practitioners for practitioners
• Learning and knowledge
• Sharing of ideas and information
• Fairness, respect, and diversity
• Industry leadership and an impact on our profession
• Teamwork among our constituents (members, vendors, suppliers)
• Quality and value
• Celebrate volunteers
Contact Dana C. Wulff, Membership Services Director
Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals
401 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611-4267
(800) 950-7354 or (312) 321-5190
Trends in physical asset management
As we look out toward 2010, we must consider certain information and trends that have been evolving. If proactively acted upon, they can have either a very detrimental or very positive outcome for maintenance practitioners. These trends are as follows:
The detrimental outcome of these trends is that we could end up with a severe dilution and misalignment of the maintenance function as we know it today. The positive outcome is that if we act in an organized, proactive manner to develop a common approach to the practice of maintenance we will achieve value creation for industry and the economy and elevate the importance of a Physical Asset
The SMRP believes both these positive outcomes can be realized if we begin to focus less on the self-limiting and historical aspects of maintenance and more on the comprehensive aspects of Physical Asset Management.
Physical asset management in 2010
The Physical Asset Management profession that the SMRP envisions for 2010 would consist of the following:
SMRP initiatives to elevate the profession
This vision of a Physical Asset Management profession is still very much in a state of genesis and will become clearer as the SMRP continues its leadership role in the evolution of this concept. It has developed an infrastructure in the form of several new and reformed directorships, including Professional Certification, Best Practices, Senior Management Forum, and Academic Liaison. Your input and participation is invited. MT