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By Jason Apps, ARMS Reliability CEO

When it comes to asset management, many organizations continue to be hampered by high costs, a high volume of unplanned failures and, ultimately, an unacceptable level of risk. The reason? There’s a piece missing in their asset management puzzle.

That piece is called Asset Strategy Management (ASM). It’s a simple – but vital – component of any asset management or reliability improvement initiative.

There are three questions you can ask of your organization to see if ASM would be of benefit:

  • Do you know if you are currently executing all the strategies in your EAM system and at the set interval? (And, if not, do you know what level of risk you’re exposed to?)
  • Do the strategies in your EAM system align to your agreed strategies or best-in-class strategies – on all assets? (And, if not, do you know what level of risk you’re exposed to?)
  • Does your maintenance plan cover all the basic equipment care fundamentals and statutory or regulatory requirements – on all assets?

Answering ‘no’ to one or more of these questions sends a clear signal that you would gain immediate value from implementing ASM.

Delivering high reliability

Once an asset has been selected and installed, its ongoing reliability is determined by two things: how it is operated and how it is maintained.

ASMPutting operations aside for moment, how you maintain an asset will directly impact its performance. And to decide how and when that maintenance is conducted, you need a strategy. Hence, an asset’s performance all starts with a maintenance strategy. At the most basic level, there aren’t many options for setting a strategy. You can either decide to execute a task at a regular interval to prevent or predict a failure; or you can monitor the asset for specific failure mechanisms, with an alarm or alert triggered if remedial action is needed.

It sounds easy enough. Yet many organizations will set a strategy in the first instance – upon installation of the asset – and leave it at that. There’s no ongoing management of that strategy. The implication of this is that, over time, the strategy may no longer be appropriate for how the asset’s being used. Or, someone may change the strategy without proper review or justification. Think about it. If someone goes into the EAM system and changes an interval of one of your maintenance plans without any review – and it turns out to be an inappropriate change – imagine the risk to your business.

Since strategy is the single biggest driver of asset performance, it must be managed effectively to ensure it remains optimal for the life of the asset.

ASM is the process you need to realize reliability

Enter ASM, a process that integrates with work management, but with a very different objective. Whereas work management is all about the efficient execution of work, ASM is all about making sure you are executing the right work – all the time.

asm cog- englishMany organizations have unsuccessfully tried to tackle ASM within their work management process. The reason this approach doesn’t deliver results is that ASM and work management have very different objectives and therefore require entirely different triggers, resources, data and technical solutions to be effective.

Beyond delivering optimal performance and management of risk on an ongoing basis, ASM also delivers benefits that are out-of-reach for many organizations:

  • A consolidated, standard, component-based maintenance strategy – driving consistency of strategy but allowing for local operating context
  • A consistent Master Data build for all plans and materials supporting execution
  • Identification of undesirable risk
  • Automatic detection of where to focus improvement initiatives
  • Rapid deployment of relevant strategy changes across the entire asset base

Organizations typically see an immediate uplift in performance and reduction in costs on implementing ASM. The clarity generated from an ASM program can also improve work management, because the objective of the work management process become singular and clear, allowing the organization to do work more efficiently.

How does Asset Performance Management (APM) fit in?

Some organizations may be familiar with APM, which is focused on maintaining asset health and condition. APM manages the ongoing performance of assets by monitoring current conditions or current performance data; and alerting the organization when an intervention is required to prevent an impending failure.

Types of monitoring range from a periodic assessment by a technician through to multi-parameter continuous monitoring devices. Essentially however, the intent is the same: understand the condition, determine if that condition is deteriorating and identify any impending failure so that rectification can be scheduled into the workflow. And, in doing so, avoid that failure.

Recently, the cost of technologies that support the online monitoring of asset operating parameters has fallen, leading to wider-scale adoption of online monitoring tools. APM, as a result, is getting cheaper and easier to perform. It’s good news for organizations – but it’s important to remember that these monitoring tools don’t take care of strategy.

ASM sits alongside APM to make sure that routine maintenance strategies and whole of life asset strategies are best-in-class and aligned to the performance requirements of the plant. It uses a consolidated base of Reliability Master Data that is deployed and connected across the entire asset base. Any updates to strategy follow a process to ensure that the change is effective (data-driven where applicable); and work-flowed to ensure review, approval and implementation. This may result, where applicable, in a single site-based change, driving the update of the corporate Reliability Master Data, and the resulting change being deployed automatically across an entire asset base.

ASM can also help to identify where it is cost-effective and practical to implement monitoring or APM. Hence, along with work management, you have a closed loop for reliability maintenance.

So, where do you start?

Most organizations will already have a work management process in place. Ideally, this process has been refined to ensure that assets are maintained and repaired quickly to minimize downtime.

But if you’re serious about asset maintenance then your next step is to implement an ASM plan. It’s the most effective way to deliver improvements, reduce costs and improve your existing work management processes.

Why? Because any reliability process must start with a strategy aligned to your performance goals. This strategy must be best-in-class and continually managed – it can’t be changed ad-hoc, without review and approval. By the same token, if effective local strategy changes are made, it is a waste not to electronically distribute that change to all relevant instances of that asset.

Implementing an ASM process puts the organization back in control of asset management; and will continually drive the execution of best-in-class strategies across the entire asset base.

Where does your organization sit on the Asset Strategy Management maturity scale? Find out how you compare to best-in-class Reliability programs on this and other key measures with our short 12-question Asset Strategy Management Assessment and receive a custom report with our recommended path forward.

ARMS Reliability has been named by CIOReview in the magazine’s 2018 list of the 20 most promising EAM solution providers for our innovative Asset Strategy Management software platform, OnePM®“OnePM® puts companies back in control of their risks and costs, through continuous dynamic deployment of digital strategies to physical assets”- ARMS Reliability CEO, Jason Apps.

In this video, Apps discusses the CIOReview recognition and speaks to how OnePM® is advancing the future of Asset Strategy Management.


Read the CIOReview Article: “ARMS Reliability: Tapping the Potential of Every Asset” and learn how OnePM® is helping organizations achieve optimal strategies, on every asset, all the time.

Casual man pointing the finger at you, isolated on white backgro

By Bruce Ballinger, RCA Instructor, ARMS Reliability

Most organizations today have a well-defined, reliable Management of Change process for things like the addition of new equipment or changes in the manufacturing processes, to ensure the transformations are implemented smoothly and with minimal disruption.  However, fewer organizations put much effort into how best to prepare the workforce for the changes they will be having to make within their duties, roles, and responsibilities. Yet, research by the Human Change Management (HCM) specialist organization, Prosci, validates that more projects or programs fail from not addressing the impact and changes that will occur for the organization’s employees than from technical flaws in the initiative itself.

HCM is often defined as, “the people side of project management.”  A new initiative may be the best answer to a problem or the right thing to do to improve the organization.  However, if the employees impacted by the change aren’t supportive or properly prepared, then the effort is in grave risk of failure.  The HCM process requires an organized, objective methodology for defining the degree to which a formal HCM effort may be required and identifies where and upon whom the HCM effort should be focused to greatly improve chances of initiative success.

In short, a few key components must be addressed by the methodology:

  1. The first is visible executive sponsorship of the initiative to develop an environment where the change can happen. As is said, “If it isn’t important to the boss, then it won’t be important to anyone that works for the boss.”
  2. Second, is identifying the positions that may be either negatively or positively affected by the change. Those affected negatively will be provided assistance throughout the change period using training, mentoring, and coaching until such time they have successfully transitioned from current state into the future state.
  3. Last is future follow up and monitoring to guard against regression back into the old ways.

For major projects, the HCM process can be very important for a successful outcome. For example, if employees are to have a complete role change by perhaps becoming a full-time RCA facilitator and problem solver, then an HCM plan would be vital.  However, in the case where RCA facilitation is simply a minor change in duties (say, changing from a mix of RCA methodologies to standardizing on one), then an informal, less rigorous effort should suffice.

Regardless of the magnitude of the change, organizations need to consider and detail the HCM process to ensure the new initiative is successfully deployed by preparing and informing all stakeholders of how the change will affect their daily roles, processes, and working environment.

So far in the RCA Program Development series we’ve covered:

The Key Steps of Designing Your Program

Defining Goals and Current Status

Setting KPIs and Establishing Trigger Thresholds

RCA and Solution Tracking and Roles and Responsibilities

Recommended RCA Team Structure

Responsibilities of the Six Roles

Training Strategy

Oversight and Management

Process Mapping

And, Change Management

Stay tuned for our next installment on Implementation Tracking.

An often-overlooked element of implementing any new initiative is the process mapping exercise. The more intricate the initiative, the more valuable the process map becomes. Although launching a root cause analysis implementation plan is usually fairly straight-forward, it is still worthwhile spending some time mapping out how the work flows from a triggered event all the way through tracking the effectiveness of implemented solutions. It’s an effective way of ensuring that everyone has a clear understanding of their role and where it fits into the process.

Process mapping is usually done in two-steps commonly known as the brown paper/white paper exercise. The brown paper mapping step creates a diagram representing how RCAs are currently managed throughout the system. Once the existing workflows are clearly understood and charted the white paper charting is performed. This diagram documents the desired workflow and systematically identifies gaps between the current and desired future state. Identifying the nature and magnitude of these gaps allows the Facility Leadership Team and/or RCA Steering Committee to dedicate the resources needed to make the change over.  It also clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of affected departments and positions in the RCA program.

As seen in the example below, different symbols and colors are used to represent various steps and components. The steps are laid out from left to right and top to bottom. A start or stop point is usually designated with an oval or rounded rectangle, a regular step is a rectangle and a decision point is a diamond. All steps are connected by lines and arrows.

Example RCA Process Map- Click to download enlarged PDF

RCA Workflow

When done properly, process mapping leaves no room for misunderstanding of what needs to be done when or voids in roles/responsibilities, resulting in efficient and effective implementation of the RCA initiative and ultimately, operational improvements.

So far, this blog series has covered:

The Key Steps of Designing Your Program

Defining Goals and Current Status

Setting KPIs and Establishing Trigger Thresholds

RCA and Solution Tracking and Roles and Responsibilities

Recommended RCA Team Structure

Responsibilities of the Six Roles

Training Strategy

Oversight and Management

And, Process Mapping.

Stay tuned for our next installments on Change Management and Implementation Tracking.

Corporate and site reliability teams face challenges and pressures to continuously improve and demonstrate the value and business impact they have on their organizations.  The old adage of RCM being a “Resource Consuming Monster” has plagued many a Reliability Department – some organizations have even banned the use of the acronym.

Instead, RCM needs to be viewed as an engineering framework that enables the definition of a complete maintenance regime for maintenance task optimization.

Both puaudit_your_rca_program_im-6a80209eb03aca77b25807e308a01367005abbc6blic and private sector organizations around the world rely on reliability centered maintenance as a means to significantly increase asset performance by delivering value to all stakeholders. Successful implementation of RCM will lead to an increase in cost effectiveness, reliability, machine uptime, and a greater understanding of the level of risk that the organization is managing. It can also deliver safer operations, provide a document base for planned maintenance, and predict resource requirements, spares usage, and maintenance budget.

 So, how do you equip your organization for best-practice reliability centered maintenance?

An RCM study determines the optimal maintenance strategy for assets determines by modelling different scenarios and comparing risks and improvements over this lifetime to enable better long-term management of the assets.

At a high level, an RCM Study involves:

Step 1: Developing an FMEA using collected failure data from a variety of sources, such as work order history, spares usage rates, interviews with personnel responsible for maintaining the equipment

Step 2: Combining data with OEM maintenance manuals and spares catalog information to develop a preliminary RCM model

Step 3: Making changes to the preliminary model during facilitation with the staff

Step 4: Validating and optimizing the RCM model by assessing each failure mode by the cost, safety,  environmental and operational contributions to reduce cost and risk

Step 5: Building an maintenance plan that can be uploaded into your CMMS for direct integration of RCM with CMMS

This process will reveal any gaps in the existing maintenance strategy, or conversely deliver peace of mind that existing strategies are working.

Join us at the Reliability Summit, March 26-29, 2019, in Austin, Texas to learn how to manage reliability centered maintenance for your organization.

Attendees will learn: 

  • RCM Skill Building
  • Why Traditional Maintenance cannot meet the needs of business today
  • Weibull Data Analysis
  • What is RCM and how does RCMCost deliver this methodology plus more
  • How to identify failure modes that can impact your plant
  • How to calculate failure data relevant to your equipment using Weibull feature in RCMCost
  • Assessing the total cost impact of failure on a business
  • How Preventive Maintenance and Predictive Maintenance improve business, safety, environment and operational risks
  • Simulating the maintenance strategy in RCMCost
  • RCM Skill Building Continued
  • How to select the optimum maintenance task and frequency
  • Exercises in RCMCost
  • Maintenance Decision making elements and sensitivities

This is one of many workshops attendees can select to attend at the Reliability Summit. For a full list of workshops, please visit our Reliability Summit website.  




Your company is going through an asset management initiative and they need ‘reliability engineers’ to support this new focus.  One day your title begins with ‘Maintenance _____’ and the next day you come into the office and the title on your door now reads ‘Reliability _____’.  Undertaking new asset management initiatives as a newly titled “reliability engineer” can be daunting.

Reliability Engineering isn’t typically something one would go to school for or get a certificate in, so what does an R.E need to know?

Your “toolkit” as an R.E. should consists of various methods that you can employ with the goal of optimizing maintenance strategies to achieve operational success, including:

  • root cause analysis
  • reliability centered maintenance
  • failure modes and effects analysis
  • failure data analysis
  • reliability block diagrams
  • lifecycle cost calculation

To be successful at increasing the reliability of your plant, reliability practitioners should utilize these ‘tools’ that can deliver the best results, applying them based on the type of problem you’re facing.

Approaching Maintenance Strategy Optimization with Your Toolkit

It’s essential for a newly appointed reliability professional to be aware of common maintenance issues. The more time maintenance personnel spend fighting fires, the more their morale, productivity, and budget erodes. The less effective routine work that is performed, the more equipment uptime and business profitability suffer.

Here’s the good news: An optimized maintenance strategy is simpler and easier to sustain than a non-optimized strategy, resulting in fewer issues and downtime. It’s easy for organizations and new reliability engineers to be intimidated by the idea of maintenance strategy optimization. An important tip to remember is that small changes can make a huge difference. Maintenance optimization doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult, nor does it have to be a huge undertaking. By creating a framework for continuous improvement and understanding the methods to employ, you can ultimately drive towards higher reliability, availability and more efficient use of your production equipment.

Join us at the Reliability Summit, March 26-29, 2019 in Austin, Texas to learn the essential tools in a Reliability Engineer’s toolkit and how to apply them to achieve operational success.

Attendees will learn: 

  • History of Reliability
  • Introduction to Reliability Concepts
  • Benefits of a Reliability Based Maintenance System
  • Performance Measures
  • Definitions of Terms and Measures in Reliability
  • Introduction to Reliability Engineering Methods
  • Failure Mode and Effects Analysis
  • Failure Data Analysis
  • Reliability Centered Maintenance
  • Maintenance Optimization
  • System Availability Analysis
  • Lifecycle Cost Calculation
  • Problem Reporting
  • What Tool When
  • Key Factors for Success
  • Key Steps in a Reliability Program
  • Summarizing the Business Case for Reliability

This is one of many workshops attendees can select to attend at the Reliability Summit. For a full list of workshops, please visit our Reliability Summit 2019 website.  








World-class maintenance performance requires strong maintenance strategy. But all too often, Leadership within the organization isn’t fulling on board with undertaking an optimization project rca_facilitationbecause they don’t yet see the full value in doing so. And, perhaps, you’re not sure exactly how to convince them that the initiative is worthwhile. 

So, how do you raise awareness within the organization and get support for what you need to do? 

You must build a business case that can overcome the primary objections, illuminate the need and demonstrate the real, tangible value that your project will provide to the organization. 

If you are thinking your organization should invest in doing a maintenance review and optimization, then you’re probably experiencing some of the signs:  

  • High production downtime 
  • Maintenance staff in fire-fighting mode 
  • Some spare parts collecting dust, yet key spares are not available when needed 
  • Maintenance instructions consist of little more than a title or some generic text, e.g., “check and lube as necessary”
  • Very little, if any, information captured on maintenance work orders 
  • Scheduled maintenance tasks generally only created after equipment has failed 
  • Costly equipment failures creating budget overruns 
  • Higher risk of catastrophic failure, equipment damage and major events due to potential (or actual) equipment failures
  • Maintenance KPIs are not in place or are trending towards lower performance
  • Maintenance group isn’t highly valued by the rest of the organization 

To get the buy-in you need, you need to consider points of resistance you might encounter from Maintenance, Production, and Site Management teams. Show them how the signs listed above are causing real problems for your organization, build your business case backed by data, and demonstrate how your initiatives will benefit each stakeholder group.  

Join us at the Reliability Summit, March 26-29, 2019, in Austin, Texas to learn in-depth how to build a compelling business case to gain support for your reliability initiatives.  

Attendees will learn: 

  • Potential resistance, fear of change and how the two impact reliability initiatives  
  • Benefits to stakeholders at all levels and how to sell them
  • Necessary steps to build the business case  
  • What analyses and data are required to assess the current state of maintenance and how to use your CMMS to assist   
  • How to explain how each problem affects the business from a maintenance, production, EHS, and business impact  
  • How to develop a project proposal and the key items to be included  
  • What tools to use and how to quantify the additional cost savings to be realized   
  • How to conduct a pilot project and benefits of doing so  

This is one of many workshops attendees can select to attend at the Reliability Summit. For a full list of workshops, please visit our Reliability Summit 2019 website.  



 How do you know if your plant is designed to deliver the target level of productivity?

For many organizations, their answer is “we don’t know.” New capital projects are  typically designed with the main goals of achieving the lowest possible capital outlay for plant and equipment Oil and gas production slot on the platform, Well head control owhile maintaining the plant’s ability to meet productivity targets. Too often; however, minimizing costs ultimately garners most of the focus in the design phase and as a result plants are handed over to operations teams that simply aren’t designed for reliability. Then the consequences start to appear – High number of failures and breakdowns, no way to achieve better performance from equipment short of a redesign, maintenance costs too high for the plant to be sustainable for the long term.  

To combat this, world-leading organizations are starting to require that a RAMS Analysis (Reliability, Availability, Maintenance, and Safety Analysis) be completed at each project stage. These studies serve as checkpoints with scenario modeling that provides various options to the project team as to how they can meet the business goals of the project at the lowest possible cost. Sophisticated organizations are also incorporating peer reviews to challenge the plant designs and Lifecycle Cost Analysis to evaluate the project over a longer period to predict costs, so they can plan and budget accordingly.  

Case in point… 

Here’s a timeline of how a global mining company built reliability into their design throughout various project stages

  • 2008 – Developed Reliability Block Diagram (RBD) model to validate the design capacity and allow for potential bottlenecks to be understood. Identified that there was a baghouse in the design that could not be isolated and required a complete plant shutdown to perform any maintenance.  Also predicted maintenance budget and labor requirements to understand the maintenance intensive items in the design. Identified multi-million dollar per day single point failure that was addressed in revised re-design that allowed maintenance on baghouse to be completed without plant shutdown.  
  • 2010 – Revised RBD to accommodate some design changes and to validate that the capacity could still be achieved.   
  • 2014 – Revised RBD to accommodate further design changes as project team was challenged to reduce capital cost and increase construction speed. RAM/RBD proved capacity could still be met. Team was challenged to reduce equipment capital by $30M yet keep capacity. Marginal capacity increase resulted and $30M reduction.  
  • 2016 – Revised RBD as more detailed information became available and as further changes were made. Headquarters rubber-stamped project to proceed.  
  • 2017 – Estimate for maintenance build from EPC was 120,000+ man hours. Using ARMS’ libraries, past company models/FMEA’s, and an equipment class strategy approach, we estimate it can take around half of that time and investment to produce maintenance strategies that will help ensure the predicted availability is realized. 

All through the process the mining giant found that the RBD was an essential tool for them when undergoing peer reviews at each project gate.  It was used to confidently assure the board that the capacity targets could be met and that they had a solid foundation on which the budget and resource forecasts were made. 

Join us at the Reliability Summit, March 26-29, 2019 in Austin, Texas to learn in-depth best-practices for designing for reliability. This workshop will cover the benefits of designing for reliability and what that process should look like to ensure a sustainable, successful plant is handed over to Operations.  

Attendees will learn: 

  • How to conduct scenario modelling of the plant design and configuration to ensure the plant meets its availability and production requirements at the lowest cost 
  • How to prevent hidden failures and bottlenecks caused by poor plant design 
  • How to develop budget predictions around availability, capacity, labor needs, spares needs, and maintenance costs 
  • How to build maintenance strategies for projects that help ensure the predicted availability is realized 

This is one of many workshops attendees can select to attend at the Reliability Summit. For a full list of workshops, please visit our Reliability Summit 2019 website.