The RCM Solution

A Practical Guide to Starting and Maintaining a Successful RCM Program

The RCM Solution
A Practical Guide to Starting and Maintaining a Successful RCM Program

Nancy Regan


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The RCM Solution is a straightforward, no-nonsense presentation of what RCM is and how it can be applied to maximize the productivity and safety of physical assets. It introduces and thoroughly embraces the proven power of RCM’s basic principles and follows a common-sense and practical approach to implementation.


A significant portion of this book is dedicated to SAE JA1011-compliant RCM. Yet, the author also introduces other asset management processes that embody RCM principles when the full rigor of RCM isn’t warranted. The RCM Solution therefore presents a total solution for implementing RCM in any organization.



This book will be an invaluable guide to anyone responsible for physical asset management, at any level of authority, from an organization's maintenance manager to the organization's leader.

  • The principles are presented generically and are equally applicable to any industry that has physical assets to care for, such as defense, manufacturing, mining, plastics, and power generation.
  • Besides, instructors teaching reliability engineering at colleges and universities will find this book a useful complement to their primary text.


Nancy Regan is the founder and President of management consulting firm The Force, Inc. She is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering.

As a U.S. Navy civilian engineer for seven years, Nancy completed Naval Aviation Maintenance Officer School. She served as a T-45 aircraft structural engineer. Nancy then became a team leader for RCM  at the Naval Air Warfare Center. She instituted the RCM program on Naval Aviation Common Support Equipment.

In 2001, Nancy founded The Force. She has accumulated more than 15 years of hands-on experience facilitating reliability centered maintenance analysis, conducting RCM training and assisting her clients with implementation of RCM programs. Among her many projects, she facilitated the CH-47 Chinook Helicopter (the U.S. Army's heavy lifter).

Nancy holds U.S. and foreign patents for a parts marking process she developed using her RCM experience.


1.         Introduction to Reliability Centered Maintenance

            1.1       What is RCM?

            1.2       Elements that Influence a System

            1.3       The Essence of RCM:  Managing the Consequences of Failure

            1.4       What RCM Can Yield

            1.5       The Evolution of RCM Principles

            1.6       The Development of RCM Principles

            1.7       Definition of RCM

            1.8       Defining Performance in the Context of RCM

            1.9       Introduction to the RCM Process

            1.10    Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) and Failure Modes, Effects, and Criticality Analysis (FMECA)



2.         A Facilitated Working Group Approach to RCM

            2.1       The Team Approach to Accomplishing Objectives

            2.2       Elements that Influence a System

            2.3       Failure Management Strategies

            2.4       Historical Data and the RCM Process

            2.5       Effective Working Groups

            2.6       Benefits of a Facilitated Working Group Approach



3.         The RCM Operating Context

            3.1       What Is an Operating Context?

            3.2       When Should an Operating Context Be Drafted?

            3.3       What is Included in an Operating Context?

            3.4       The Operating Context as a Living Document



4.         Functions

            4.1       Why Write Functions?

            4.2       Two Types of Functions

            4.3       Classifying Functions as Evident or Hidden

            4.4       Composing Evident and Hidden Functions

            4.5       Information Worksheet

            4.6       Primary Functions

            4.7       Secondary Functions

            4.8       General Equipment Features that Typically Warrant Secondary Functions

            4.9       Tips Regarding Functions



5.         Functional Failures

            5.1       What Is a Functional Failure?

            5.2       Two Types of Functional Failures

            5.3       Composing Functional Failures



6.         Failure Modes

            6.1       What Is a Failure Mode?

            6.2       Failure Modes and the Information Worksheet

            6.3       Composing Failure Modes

            6.4       What Failure Modes Should Be Included in an RCM Analysis?

            6.5       How Detailed Should Failure Modes Be Written?

            6.6       Identifying Failure Modes for Each Functional Failure

            6.7       Miscellaneous Notes regarding Failure Modes



7.         Failure Effects

            7.1       What Is a Failure Effect?

            7.2       Failure Effects and the Information Worksheet

            7.3       Composing Failure Effects

            7.4       Writing Failure Effects for Protective Devices



8.         Failure Consequences

            8.1       What Is a Failure Consequence?

            8.2       Introduction to the Decision Diagram

            8.3       Classifying Failure Modes as Evident or Hidden

            8.4       Identifying Failure Consequences

            8.5       Safety Consequences

            8.6       Environmental Consequences

            8.7       Operational Consequences

            8.8       Non-Operational Consequences



9.         Proactive Maintenance and Intervals

            9.1       Proactive Maintenance in the Context of RCM

            9.2       Criteria for Assigning a Proactive Maintenance Task

            9.3       Scheduled Restoration and Scheduled Replacement Tasks

            9.4       On-Condition Tasks

            9.5       Combination of Tasks

            9.6       Synchronizing Initial Task Intervals



10.       Default Strategies

            10.1    Procedural Checks

            10.2    Failure Finding Tasks

            10.3    Synchronizing Initial Task Intervals

            10.4    No Scheduled Maintenance

            10.5    Other Default Strategies

            10.6    Important Notes Regarding Default Strategies



11.       Analysis Validation and Implementation

            11.1    Frequently Asked Questions About the Validation Process

            11.2    Implementing RCM Analysis Results



12.       How to Initiate—and Successfully Sustain—an RCM Program

            12.1    The Steps to Initiate an RCM Program

            12.2    Sustaining an RCM Program



13.       Frequently Asked Questions and Common Misconceptions about RCM

            13.1    RCM FAQs

            13.2    Common Misconceptions Regarding the RCM Process


14.       RCM Is Only Part of the Solution

            14.1    Two Fundamental Realities of Asset Management

            14.2    The Application of Processes Less Robust than RCM

            14.3    The RCM Solution



            Steps to Initiate an RCM Program

            Steps to Successfully Complete RCM Pilot Projects