"We need a few good definitions [of who we are and what we do] that can serve as a starting point for the discussion we have with operations, top management, human resources, finance, and others outside our field. Do you have the courage to offer some suggestions?"
That was the challenge in April's Uptime editorial. Responses were few. . .next to none. It would seem that we really don't know who we are or what we do, or there are some maintenance and reliability practitioners who do know but are afraid their definitions won't measure up. However, here are a couple that we would like to offer as models.
Physical Asset Management: A comprehensive, fully integrated, strategy, process, and culture directed at gaining greatest lifetime effectiveness, value, profitability, and return from production and manufacturing equipment assets.
That comprehensive definition is offered by John Mitchell at the beginning of the first chapter of Physical Asset Management Handbook (Third Edition (ISBN: 0-9717945-1-0), John S. Mitchell, Editor in Chief, 2002, 280 pages, 8.5 x 11 in., Clarion Technical Publishers , Houston, TX). He goes on to note that physical asset management provides systematic prioritization and implementation of processes, practice, and technical improvements to ensure full compliance with safety, availability, performance, and quality requirements at least sustainable cost for operating, market, and business conditions.
This formal definition is valuable because it covers all the bases and can form the basis for an official definition for company reports and manuals. Equally valuable is the following three-word definition:
Machine Condition Management.
This definition is offered by Russell Huggins of PdP Services, a Charleston, SC, provider of predictive maintenance services and systems.
"I just finished reading through the April issue of Maintenance Technology magazine," he wrote in his e-mail. "Your Uptime editorial got my attention. I have been focusing my services and product sales effort on the water and wastewater treatment industry, in the traditional sense, a nonmanufacturing industry. For the most part, the front-line managers and supervisors do not understand the traditional terms such as predictive maintenance, reliability centered maintenance, etc. Therefore I have starting using the term 'Machine Condition Management' in describing our services and products. They seem to easily grasp this term. I believe the key word is 'Management'."
Both definitions work for me. I hope you can put them to use. MT