Asset maintenance and reliability management: why they work better together

Engineers in PPE looking at a project on site

The success of businesses with engineering assets relies on those assets remaining in good working order. And that means managing that asset effectively through its lifecycle.

Asset maintenance and reliability management both play a part in this process. Although they are traditionally thought of as separate strategies, current best practice thinking considers them inseparable.

Asset maintenance expert and engineer with over 35 years’ experience, Alastair Krebs, discusses why maintenance and reliability both play an important part in an effective asset management plan. He also outlines the positive impact this approach can have on a business.

Maintenance is part of an asset lifecycle

Krebs has observed a shift in how people think about assets. While many people used to think asset management is only about maintenance, it’s actually now seen as part of a reliability system.

“All assets are deemed to have a lifecycle. You acquire the assets, you operate them, maintain them, and then, at the end of the life, you dispose of the assets – and that's an asset lifecycle. Maintenance is key to this asset lifecycle delivery plan, because you need to maintain your assets to a specific level of service or specification, and performance standard. That makes maintenance part of the overall asset management system,” Krebs says.

Better planning can have a big impact

Maintenance and reliability principles can be used to analyse and predict future reliability performance of operating assets, and to develop appropriate maintenance strategies for assets today. Operating more efficiently today and planning to operate more efficiently in the future can have a big impact on a business’ profitability.

“You can identify where weaknesses are, so you can plan for maintenance or improve, replace or remove them. It provides for a systematic approach to making recommendations for action or change,” Krebs says.

Maintenance and reliability strategies can be flexible

An effective asset management plan covers everything a business might do, from administration to technical production. But just because maintenance and reliability strategies are developed as part of a comprehensive asset management framework, that doesn’t mean they’re set in stone.

“Maintenance and reliability strategies ideally should adapt to the changing lifecycle needs of your assets,” Krebs says.

Develop your asset management skills

Understand the fundamentals of asset management planning and join Krebs' on-demand short course: Asset Maintenance and Reliability