Reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) enables businesses to perform their maintenance tasks safely, reliably, efficiently, and cost-effectively. A great RCM program will:

  • Preserve system function
  • Identify failure modes that jeopardize system function
  • Prioritize those failure modes
  • Select tasks to control the failure modes

In other words, an effective reliability-centered maintenance program will pinpoint the functions of your company that are most important, and then improve their maintenance strategies to reduce system failures while increasing availability and reliability of your assets.

What are the best practices for implementing reliability-centered maintenance so that you ensure the success and effectiveness of your maintenance plan and save your company time and money long-term? We break them down for you here:


Begin by identifying system boundaries, identifying resource requirements, and creating and educating your new RCM team.

  • Your newly-trained team should be able to finish an RCM analysis of 85 – 100 components, assessing 120 – 140 failure modes in five days.
  • This analysis should produce 140 – 160 mitigating tasks, each of which should be assigned with a due date to a specific individual.
  • One person should be named the RCM implementation manager, made responsible for assigning, tracking, and reporting the progress of the implementation efforts.
  • The first several RCM implementations can be expected to take anywhere from 100 – 120 labor hours to complete.
  • Companies that are most successful dedicate one person to write PMs and job plans, one person to write operator checklists, and one person to manage redesigns.

To be successful in your efforts, dedicate the resources that are needed to implement the tasks before you start the analysis.

Analyze and act

Once the functional failures have been identified, the effects of failure have been evaluated, and the causes of failure have been pinpointed, it’s time to evaluate which proactive tasks should be done to predict or prevent each failure, and what default actions should be put in place in the case that a proactive task cannot be identified. In other words, once the list of applicable tasks has been determined, it’s time to prioritize to what degree each impacts the overall maintenance goals and potentially will provide the highest ROI.


Keep the flow of communication open at all times. The RCM implementation manager should be communicating the progress and the results weekly. Without updates, those on the ground doing the implementation, and the managers who initiated the project, can not track milestones and add valuable input to the process.

Final Thoughts

Reliability-centered maintenance programs that are properly implemented will provide a return on investment every time. The real keys are a division of labor, planning, and communication for course correction– just like any project management tome would tell.  

About ASI RCM: Our internationally recognized staff includes individuals who participated in the development of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) JA1011 and SAE JA1012 standards, and the NAVAIR 00-25-403 RCM Manual. Our team also includes over twenty NAVAIR certified Level II and III analysts, certified SMEs, and instructors. We have completed dozens of successful RCM projects on a broad range of assets including: military aircraft and weapon systems, vehicle fleets, hospital facilities, data centers, manufacturing equipment, and mining equipment. Our staff has been supporting RCM projects for nearly 30 years. Our experience across multiple industries and our flexible approach to RCM ensures the highest possible return on investment.

About ASI: Andromeda Systems, Incorporated (ASI) is an ISO-9001:2008 company committed to superior technical performance and excellence in customer satisfaction. Our mission is to assist asset and fleet managers in achieving optimal levels of economy, availability, and safety by developing and applying leading systems engineering tools, processes, and expertise. We are headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA, with offices in Lexington Park, MD; Arlington, VA; Jacksonville, FL; Havelock, NC; Oklahoma City, OK and San Diego, CA.