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The Journey Toward Reliability

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Materials and Manufacturing Processes

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1303.1 - 10.1303.7



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Paper Authors

author page

Kathy Brockway

author page

Gregory Spaulding

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Journey Toward Reliability

Greg Spaulding, PE, Kathy Vratil Brockway, CPA (inactive) Kansas State University-Salina


Kansas State University faculty members have partnered with industry to assist in the implementation of a reliability centered manufacturing (RCM) program. This paper highlights faculty members’ experiences, benefits to industry of implementing a reliability centered manufacturing program, and faculty members’ roles in the RCM program implementation. The paper includes lessons learned by faculty members, short-term extensions of the faculty-industry partnership, and a long-term vision for a RCM institute at the university level.

University Faculty-Industry Partnership

Faculty of the College of Technology and Aviation at Kansas State University –Salina (KSU) have partnered with local industry to explore the benefits of reliability-centered manufacturing and to assist a local manufacturing company in implementing a reliability centered manufacturing (RCM) program. The faculty members are responsible for creating the RCM training curriculum, directing the RCM training workshops, and assisting the manufacturer when obstacles to implementing and operating the RCM program occur.

Implementing a successful RCM Program creates multiple benefits for the company, including increased focus on the plant as a system, increased throughput, decreased down time, and decreased spare parts inventory. When properly implemented, the program allows maintenance employees to work smarter, not harder. It enables identification of all options and the selection of the best option, instead of quick, unorganized, and ineffective fixes to maintenance problems. In short, RCM improves the quality of work experiences for maintenance employees.

Implementing a RCM program, though, does not happen overnight; rather it is a process. Certainly the implementing company faces obstacles, but the successful company is one that finds solutions to the obstacles. A successful RCM program requires buy-in from all employees at all levels, from the line employee to the highest managerial level, from the maintenance employee to the production employee. It requires a real culture shift within the company, for RCM must be embraced by all and supported by management. In short, it is no easy task to implement an RCM program, but the benefits are rewarding.

With all this as a basis, faculty at Kansas State University set out to create a strong RCM training curriculum that focuses on all the requisite technical issues while addressing implementation issues. In order to create enriching, worthwhile workshops, KSU faculty were required to attend seminars on Reliability Centered Manufacturing and the RCM technologies, to network with other industry professionals who have RCM expertise, and to delve into self-study and research.

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education”

Brockway, K., & Spaulding, G. (2005, June), The Journey Toward Reliability Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14678

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