Design for Reliability - Part 4 of 4


While senior management may embrace the reliability philosophy, their bias may lean towards the profit objective than the maintenance and failure prevention objective, which is associated with costs not profits.  If there is opportunity to influence the design, especially in a retrofit, expansion, or brownfield, then that’s one of the best places to start in cost reduction of maintenance.   If not, an alternative may be with the influence of the management of accounting or finance departments.

In some cases the financial and/or accounting department reports that show the maintenance costs incurred over the life of the equipment exceeds the initial cost. Reliability unfortunately becomes known as a band aid and not a cure for availability.  While reliability is not the cure all, it can be a contribution to reducing overall life cycle costs.   The following is some tips for you to work with your management in properly evaluating what the results of you LCCA, Life Cycle Cost Analysis, means from a reliability perspective.     

By involving yourself in the life cycle cost analysis management is loaded with qualitative data such as:

  • Understanding when costs begin to exceed profits and provide them options from a maintenance perspective for CAPEX and OPEX
  • The real intersection point between cost and profit in terms of purchasing or renting equipment
  • Labor costs associated with storage of spares, maintenance and time to repair
  • Tradeoff between software upgrades or disposal costs with initial costs
  • How supply chain impacts time to repair on equipment that has failed

This additional understanding to support their LCCA, may prompt them to better compare alternatives for LCCA results.  It helps shift the preconceived biases formed about maintenance and reliability.  Last, this shows reliability to be a part of the profit solution.


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