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Why: RCM does what is required to make sure the systems continue to do what the users want done. If the excellent maintenance programs demonstrate the lack of reliability expected, then the system must be improved by design changes to physical assets or the manner in which the assets are used.

When: RCM requires a cultural change in both management and the work forces to "do maintenance by the numbers". This requires discipline in the organization to perform the FMEAs that drive the work process for maintenance and it also requires defining functional failures.

Where: RCM works better in top quartile manufacturers who have a disciplined work force and are interested in achieving excellence in 1) safety, 2) operability, 3) reduced maintenance downtime by a disciplined approach to the maintenance activities, 4) high uptimes and 5) a reduction in failures. Lacking one or more of the five efforts at excellence generally results in a failed RCM program.

These definitions are written by H. Paul Barringer and are also posted on his web site at

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