Mechanical Technology Archive

With the advent of the ISO 55000 series of standards and the release in February 2016 by the Global Forum on Maintenance and Asset Management (GFMAM) of ‘The Maintenance Framework’, Mario Kuisis argues that we are now entering the fourth generation of maintenance, which it describes as ‘strategic maintenance’. 

Mario on mainenance Mechanical TechnologyIn the first of this series it was found necessary to explain the terminology used to describe the maintenance strategies that are the subject of discussion. This was necessary because a common understanding did not yet exist. Asset management had not yet reached the level of maturity where it had become necessary for the sub-discipline of maintenance in particular to develop its own language.

However, confusion was being created by using common language words in the context of maintenance with more than one meaning that could be interpreted either way, or in a way that was at odds with the usual meaning. The definitions that had been given in this series would not necessarily have been shared by all maintenance practitioners. This situation was obviously untenable for such an important facet of industry and indeed, enterprises of all kinds.

It is pleasing to know therefore that the problem may now be considered resolved with the release of ‘The Maintenance Framework’ [ISBN: 978-0- 9870602-5-9] in February 2016 by the Global Forum on Maintenance and Asset Management (GFMAM). This document was drafted to align with the asset management landscape and is a document published by the GFMAM to develop a common understanding of maintenance management and how it contributes to the delivery of business outcomes. Who, you might ask, is GFMAM? And should we be taking any notice of their opinion on this matter?

Well, yes. I would suggest we should. Not only has this forum been applying their minds to all matters relating to asset management for some time, but they have been a driving force behind the creation of the ISO 55000 series of standards for asset management. Their current members include:

  • Asset Management Council (AM-Council), Australia.
  • Associação Brasileira de Manutenção e Gestão de Ativos (ABRAMAN), Brazil.
  • European Federation of National
  • Maintenance Societies (EFNMS), Europe.
  • French Institute of Asset Management and Infrastructures (IFRAMI), France.
  • Gulf Society of Maintenance Professionals (GSMP), Arabian Gulf Region.
  • Iberoamerican Federation on Maintenance (FIM), South America.
  • Institute of Asset Management (IAM), UK.
  • Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance, Japan.
  • Plant Engineering and Maintenance Association of Canada (PEMAC), Canada.
  • The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP), USA.
  • The Southern African Asset Management Association (SAAMA), South Africa.

GFMAM considers that maintenance has evolved over three generations (re- active, planned, proactive) and is now in the fourth generation (strategic). The implications of changes in meanings for readers who may have been following this series is not very great, but it will be useful to bring complete alignment by adopting exactly the same terminology and associated meanings. Thereafter it will be interesting to consider some of the new concepts introduced by GFMAM.

The words we have employed in the past and their particular meaning in the context of maintenance as described in GFMAM’s ‘The Maintenance Framework’ is as follows:

Reactive maintenance

Reactive maintenance is identified as the first generation view of maintenance, which was ‘fix it when it breaks’, summarised as ‘repair’ and ‘focus on failure’. Equipment at that time was characterised by over-design and relative simplicity. There is no change from the meaning defined earlier in this series.

Preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance is considered to be the essence of the second-generation view of maintenance, along with planning, scheduling, coordination and a focus on costs. The approach may be summarised as ‘fix it before it breaks’. It is defined as ‘maintenance carried out at predetermined intervals or according to prescribed criteria and intended to reduce the probability of failure or the degradation of the function of an item’ (ISO 14224 section 3.42). The term ‘preventative’ used in this series is therefore replaced with ‘preventive maintenance (PM)’, but with no change in meaning.

Predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance (PdM) is de- signed to help determine the condition of critical in-service equipment in order to identify defects and determine when maintenance should be performed to prevent the consequences of failure. The meaning remains the same as used previously.

Condition monitoring

Condition monitoring (CM) is the process of monitoring a parameter of condition in machinery (vibration, temperature, etc.) in order to identify a significant change, which may indicate a developing fault. It is a major component of PdM. CM was not previously defined.

Proactive maintenance

Proactive maintenance is the term used to describe the view of third generation maintenance, which includes PdM, CM, computerised maintenance management systems for managing complex operations and such techniques as failure modes, criticality and effects analysis and design for reliability. The aim is not to just repair the asset but also improve it. This meaning is broader than previously defined when only PM and PdM were considered.

Having clarified these previously undefined maintenance terms, ‘The Maintenance Framework’ goes on to consider the bigger picture. Not only is it good to keep abreast of international developments but it is also always useful to place any activity in context, so it is worth touching on some of these concepts here as they point to the future of maintenance.

During the earlier years of industry when equipment was simple and overdesign was the norm, although maintenance was considered essential, asset and maintenance management was not. However, as equipment has grown in complexity along with increasing demands for safety, reliability, financial and environmental accountability, especially in high-risk or high-performance industries, maintenance management has become crucial to organisational success.

Strategic maintenance

With the advent of the ISO 55000 series of standards it is suggested in ‘The Maintenance Framework’ that we are now entering the fourth generation of maintenance, which it describes as ‘strategic maintenance’.

ISO 55000 defines asset management as; ‘coordinated activity of an organisation (3.1.13) to realise value from assets (3.2.1)”. Realisation of value requires the achievement of an appropriate balance between costs, risks and performance, often over different timescales.

Looking to the future, the implication of this is that in order to contribute to the ‘coordinated activities’ of their organisation, maintenance managers will need to expand their traditional technical focus to include areas such as equipment selection and design and financial skills. They will also need to acquire an understanding of organisational, systemic and cultural controls. This will in turn require understanding and appreciation of the role of human factors, i.e. the ‘soft skills’.

This may be daunting for those who are only now beginning to come to terms with proactive maintenance in totality, but it could also be an opportunity to leap frog ahead and get a head start on the competition.

Asset and maintenance management have come to be seen as worthy professions in their own right and much has been and continues to be done to introduce standards, training and certification so that asset owners can realise the returns from their investment in physical assets. The release of ISO 55000 and the continuing work of GFMAM bring great value in standardisation, the pooling of expertise and hard earned experience.

The benefits are there for the taking by private and public organisations alike either for improved profitability and sustain- ability, or enhanced service delivery at lower cost.

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