Don't let TPM or RCS blind common sense, WM Maintenance Conference told

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Maintenance regimes are being blighted by an overreliance on acronyms and tick box exercises, the WM Maintenance Conference has heard.

Manufacturers were too fixated on tools like total productive maintenance (TPM) and reliability centred maintenance (RCM) at the expense of common sense and setting a clear strategy, delegates at the Heritage Motor Centre heard. Dave Peart, maintenance consultant at Sora Group, said: "The simpler you can make your maintenance programme the better...If you have a fancy sheet to fill in, then it becomes all about filling out that sheet rather than fixing the problem. "There are three simple rules. If it breaks, fix it. Don't let it break again. And stop it breaking in the first place. That's your maintenance strategy in an instant." The comments came as delegates gathered to hear best practice advice on driving up profit through a more effective maintenance programme at the WM Maintenance Conference on 18 June. Too many companies were operating without a clear strategy, Peart reflected: "They thought they had one but they couldn't tell you in a sentence what it was. We're talking about some pretty big companies." Maintenance departments were also too often found operating in silos and outside of company objectives, the WM Maintenance Conference heard. Choosing the right maintenance strategy was down to picking the right philosophy for your plant, Bruce Farrar, engineering manager at paving manufacturer Marshalls Mono, had earlier told delegates. TPM could fit in the food and drinks sector but was less effective in the manufacture of concrete paving, he said. Marshalls had boosted maintenance performance by using Kepner-Tregoe, a problem-solving tool, delegates heard. Farrar said: "We used Nasa as a benchmark. They don't wait for a rocket to reach the moon before knowing how to fix a potential problem. When the astronauts say, 'Houston, we have a problem', the solution comes through Kepner-Tregoe." Empowering employees and banishing a blame culture were other key stepping stones to maintenance success, Farrar remarked.