Monthly Archives: November 2013

As the case for CBM isn’t strong enough – what about this?

I think I may have had an epiphany, only a little one mind!

In these austere times most minds are focused upon taking cost out of the business. None more so than in the marine industry! Therefore long term improvements that may not deliver any tangible win within the usual financial periods will probably not be considered worth focusing upon for investment approval. I wouldn’t do it so why would anyone else?

I do know that the whole of the CM community struggles with defining a robust cost benefit analysis, so I may have a solution – a really simple one!

1 – The introduction of condition monitoring is traditionally implemented back to front – i.e. someone buys some kit and tries to see if it will add value. Mostly it won’t, unless by some lucky coincidence, they uncover many machines that they did not know were in need of maintenance and as a result pick up a quick win early on.

2 – Up to a third of the worlds fleet are already equipped with a vast array of data gathering devices which are built in to meet the needs of various standards and regulations and basic engineering watch keeping.

3 – A great many of these data streams are poorly managed and are only utilised because of tradition. It is quite feasible to consider using these for other purposes such as routine performance monitoring – shall we call this Condition Based Operation or CBO (I think his is a recognised term). 

4 – So if we can add value by simply offering a higher level of data manipulation to this existing set of data we can look to manage the day to day operational performance in certain areas.

5 – What if the same data set could also be manipulated to build in some functionality for Condition Based Maintenance? Surely this is simply reviewing the diagnostic output for a different outcome or motive.

Now what I see here is for the company that would like to get in to CM and CBM but cannot justify the required investment capital and change management costs.

To spin it simply and make it easy for even the CEO to get their heads around – We can improve the operational cost base by using existing data to identify areas of weakness where we are wasting money unnecessarily, time, fuel, effort etc. nice and easy cost benefit analysis to present. …….Oh and by the way we can initiate a CBM development programme for free as a result. So the company can start to look at making the necessary evolutionary changes to integrate CM and CBM into the workflow.

My only caveat here would be to ensure that as part of this evolutionary event that the company is encouraged to consider its business strategy and the positive and negative impacts that would be attractive to them and those which they would wish to avoid. This could then drive any development and be used to evaluate any gaps for later investment.

What do you think – do we have a subtle game changer here?


I often hear people discussing CM and CBM in terms of the difficulties that they face when trying to facilitate a change or approach to the management of maintenance or asset health, often citing manufacturers warrantee or PM handbooks as a blocker.

To them I say warrantee is normally 12 or at best 24 months so after that you are on your own. You can and often will get support from major asset manufacturers to maintain via a CM or CBM strategy and where you do not you can get class support via operation of related and class approved PMS, CM and CBM activities.

The next response may be that underwriters/insurers will not support claims where handbook activities have not been followed. This again is a weak argument as many detectable failures are not sufficiently significant to breach the deductibles threshold where a claim may be relevant. In the case where claims are appropriate, the loss adjuster will look to see that you have made sufficient efforts to prevent failures. Where you operate and comply with a class approved PMS plus CM or CBM approach then you will not only have demonstrated a degree or planning and procedure to protect the asset but will also have added an additional layer of assurance via the support achieved via class.

It is when companies make a claim for clearly preventable machinery failures that insurers and underwriters look to minimise their losses. It follows that insurers look to underwrite reliable assets that offer low risks  and where the company behaves as a prudent uninsured. This is why in the future it is likely that those who DO NOT add additional assurances via protective devices like CM and CBM may find that they cannot attract the most favourable rates.

What do you think?