Maintenance Strategy

Asset Reliability vs. Maintenance Management: What’s the Difference?

Maintenance management and asset reliability are two terms that often get confused, but the distinction between them should be clear. In the world of reliability centred maintenance, Asset reliability focuses on keeping your assets in working order by constantly monitoring their performance and fixing or replacing broken parts before they cause bigger problems. 

Maintenance management is an approach to keeping your assets operational within a budget; however, there is no guarantee that they’ll last as long as they would using reliability centred maintenance or strategic maintenance techniques. It’s important to understand the difference so you can make the right choice for your business.

Maintenance management systems (such as CMMS) are traditionally the backbone of any reliability centred maintenance operation, providing a single repository of information about what’s been done, what’s due, and what needs to be repaired. One of the most important aspects of these systems is their reliability; you need to be able to trust that your system will do exactly what you tell it to do when you tell it to do it, so anything less can cause serious disruptions in your business. But there’s another way you can look at reliability centred maintenance management—as an asset reliability tool, instead of strictly as a maintenance schedule creator.

The problem with traditional maintenance management

Traditional maintenance management—which includes preventive, corrective, and breakdown maintenance—requires that a machine run for several hours or days before it’s discovered that something is wrong with it. This sometimes can lead to small problems becoming big problems; even worse, it sometimes leads to long work-order backlogs due to large amounts of parts needed for repairs. But why does it take so long to detect these issues? The main reason is because manual methods are prone to human error. Additionally, because companies typically have only one person responsible for inspecting each piece of equipment on a regular basis, they miss important opportunities to identify defects and improve performance by using proper preventative maintenance techniques. If you need help addressing issues within your organisation, consider implementing asset reliability programs within a modern execution of Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM) instead. More on Asset Reliability as a Service (ARaaS) at the end of the piece.

The solution provided by asset reliability

Rather than focusing on maintenance management, which is concerned with optimising failure avoidance through planned or unplanned maintenance tasks, asset reliability focuses on maximising equipment availability by applying holistic diagnostics and planning that targets components and equipment in a preventive fashion. Asset reliability brings to bear the latest technology in machine learning and predictive analytics to achieve maximum uptime while being cost-effective at every stage of product design, manufacturing and service life through systematic inspection protocols and optimised component selection based on component/equipment reliability.

The 3 key principles behind asset reliability are:

  • Focus on availability as opposed to reliability alone
  • Consider each asset as an individual system (use integrated systems approach for optimal results)
  • Put emphasis on analysing root causes of failures instead of merely treating symptoms using traditional maintenance practices.

Key Reliability Centred Maintenance techniques for improving and measuring asset reliability

Many organisations manage assets with no clear understanding of their reliability, or even what makes an asset reliable (and thus, valuable). The key to successful maintenance management lies in understanding what causes failures within your equipment. This means focusing on root cause analysis; determining why something failed, rather than just treating symptoms with reactive repairs or replacements. 

The key techniques for improving and measuring asset reliability include Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMECA), Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM), Weibull Analysis, and Corrective/Preventative Maintenance. 

OEE is used to measure availability in production facilities, while FMECA is used to determine root causes for equipment failures. Reliability Centred Maintenance uses predictive analytics to determine maintenance requirements based on past performance, while Weibull analysis can be used to evaluate how failures affect asset reliability. Using these metrics helps you analyse asset reliability by breaking down problems into smaller components, so you can pinpoint problem areas more easily. If a piece of equipment isn’t performing as well as it should be, corrective maintenance will ensure that it performs better in future. Asset Performance Management allows businesses to see which assets need servicing before they break down, allowing companies to make informed decisions about when assets need servicing and whether or not they’re really necessary. 

As technology continues to advance, there are new ways of monitoring and managing assets to increase reliability and reduce downtime. For example, some manufacturers use cloud-based software platforms that allow them to monitor their machines at all times from any location—even if something goes wrong in another country. This ensures workers can react quickly when an issue arises without having to spend time travelling between locations. 

To assess your organisation’s current level of asset reliability, compare its metrics against industry benchmarks using online tools like IndustryWeek’s Quality & Productivity Dashboard . You can also track KPIs like Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) over time to see if your organisation is improving or falling behind. By comparing your results against benchmarks, you’ll get a sense of where you stand compared to other organisations in your industry and what changes might be needed to improve your processes. 

Once you’ve identified any potential issues within your operations, try introducing methods like Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM) and integrating them into everyday practices so they become part of standard operating procedure. Metrics matter! One common pitfall of asset reliability management is focusing too much on individual parts instead of looking at overall systems. Because different parts fail for different reasons, assessing each failure individually can lead to skewed data and potentially dangerous oversights. It’s important to look at each part through a holistic lens instead of taking isolated pieces out of context.

Key takeaways

What’s more reliable than an asset in perfect condition, consistently producing at its maximum capacity—with no need for maintenance? Quite simply, nothing. And there’s a system that not only ensures you get there but also provides significant savings along the way. That system is called Asset Reliability management. Asset Reliability management is as much about long-term asset ownership cost management as it is about optimum asset performance now and in future years. It enables companies to reduce their total cost of maintenance and maximise equipment reliability by using predictive analytics to forecast when assets will fail, allowing them to intervene before failures occur.

Why ARaaS is the master key to effective Asset Reliability vs Maintenance Management

Optimal delivers asset performance and reliability management strategies through a combination of cutting-edge tools and world-class asset management expertise – all bundled into a bespoke, ‘as-a-service’ solution.

ARaaS removes the complexity that comes with change, decreases training requirements for staff, and allows for focus on core mission-critical activities. 

Going far beyond simple cost saving strategies – ARaaS is about constantly improving the performance and the reliability of your assets, and improving your ability to predict revenue and costs. Essentially, ARaaS is a one-stop solution for you, as a physical asset owner, to improve your bottom line now and into the future.

Final words

We hope you enjoyed this article, and we hope you see how Asset Reliability vs Maintenance Management links into the broader ARaaS solution as well.

For more info on ARaaS, please read our comprehensive piece, which details everything you need to know.

If you have any questions, please contact us at


We look forward to hearing from you!

Connect with Optimal:

Recent posts like this:

Our Clients