The significance of Maintenance Body of Knowledge
The Maintenance Body of Knowledge (BoK) is an EFNMS initiative (European Federation of National Maintenance Societies) to describe the maintenance landscape, i.e., its scope, boundaries, content as well as its relationship to other domains. It constitutes a catalogue of maintenance knowledge including industrial issues, methods, techniques, practices, etc., in relation to the activities concerned.
The mission of EFNMS, a non-profit organisation created in 1970 and gathering the National Maintenance Societies (NMS) of 24 European countries, is to share experiences and collaborate to develop the maintenance profession and create a European maintenance culture.
The maintenance activities are generally entrusted to a specific entity (e.g.: maintenance department) including technicians, engineers, maintenance managers and asset managers. They are also often partly entrusted to other entities of the company (e.g., operation, human resources, etc.) that participate in this generic process. All maintenance stakeholders, whatever their position, must have the required knowledge and competences to perform their maintenance-related activities and the BoK is a way of identifying them. It is independent of company organisations and intended for everyone involved in maintenance.
A solid and shared maintenance culture is a guarantee of good communication between stakeholders and best efficiency of the actions carried out. Technical, administrative, and managerial actions that constitute maintenance must be performed by people that have a thorough understanding of the concepts used, knowledge of how to implement the methods, practices, etc. that are the basis of successful maintenance and also have appropriate basic knowledge and soft skills. They must also have a broad vision of maintenance and understand its place in the context of asset management.
Morre concretely, the BoK consists of subjects which have been listed especially from Euromaintenance conferences, European standards, works of the EFNMS Committees and opinions of specialists. The subjects are described by texts written by European experts and validated by a Reading committee. These texts contain short and didactic outlines of the subjects and provide bibliographies which allows the reader to access much more detailed information.
Over 75 subjects have been listed and briefly defined. They concern:
• industrial issues (e.g., “Life cycle management”, “Maintenance & sustainability”, “Education and training in maintenance”, “Assessment of occupational risks in maintenance”, etc.),
• methods or techniques (e.g., "Total Productive Maintenance", "Fault Diagnosis", "Root Cause Analysis", "FRACAS", "Remaining Service Life Assessment", "Benchmarking", etc.),
• areas of knowledge and practices (e.g., "Negotiation techniques and industrial relations", "Fundamentals of project management and control", "Preparation & scheduling of work", "Budget control", "Good practices in Health and Safety”, etc.).
The links with the maintenance processes are indicated, which makes it possible to better identify the competences that are expected from maintenance personnel.
The BoK project leads to propose a collaborative document intended to be regularly supplemented, updated and improved by any expert reader of a particular subject who wishes to propose changes, under the supervision of the Reading committee. The ambition of this work is to constitute a living reference that clearly explains the content of maintenance and its relationship with other processes of companies or any organisations, and thus contribute to the development of maintenance for the benefit of European and global populations.
1. Connection between BOK, maintenance standards and certification frameworks
The BoK is based on the European maintenance standards, to which EFNMS actively contributes, and in particular the terminology and standards that describe the maintenance process and its relationship within asset management. Indeed, it is built on the basis of these standards by combining the maintenance actions and the knowledge necessary to accomplish them.
Maintenance concerns all industrial sectors as well as buildings and infrastructure and contains the activities that make it possible to avoid failures and to restore items to ensure availability, health and safety of people and the environment, durability, and controlled costs.
These activities are especially described in the EN17007¹ which groups the processes into three types (figure 1):
• A management process that establishes policy and strategy, defines the organisation, assigns responsibilities, negotiates budgets, manages actions, analyses data and leads a continuous improvement process.
• Realisation processes which are the reason of being of the overall process and produce the expected results. They include preventive and corrective maintenance which share a common process including preparation, scheduling, and performing tasks on items, and a third process for improving reliability and maintainability of the items.
- Support processes which are necessary for the realisation and management processes, and which include:
- Risk management for personal health and safety and the environment when performing maintenance tasks.
- The provision of the resources necessary for maintenance: spare parts, tools and information system, documentation, infrastructures, internal staff, external services.
- Management of maintenance data and budget.
- Analyses and actions to take maintenance into account in the design and modification requirements of items.
- Process optimization as part of continuous improvement.
This process breakdown thus delimits the maintenance scope and boundaries and specify its content. Certain specificities related to the building and infrastructures sector could also be considered referring to the EN13331² .
But maintenance is not isolated, and in its landscape there are in particular three other domains in which it plays a leading role (figure 2):
• The management of physical assets introduced in the ISO 550003 series which aims to translate the strategic objectives of companies and organisations into decisions and actions. Coordinated with other processes (design, acquisition, production, modernisation, sale/disposal/dismantling) maintenance contributes to optimizing the value created. It participates in the definition of the objectives and the policy to manage the assets in an efficient and profitable way. These relations between maintenance and physical asset management are described in EN16646⁴ and EN17485⁵ standards.
• Risk management and dependability, to which maintenance contributes to constitute an essential preventative and protective control measure. By acting on the reliability and maintainability of items and on the logistic support, it helps prevent failures and reduce downtime which can have serious consequences. IEC60300-3-1⁶ explains the role of maintenance in dependability management.
• Sustainable development of which maintenance is an essential pillar. Designing an item by developing and facilitating its maintenance, then by constantly maintaining it in good condition during its life cycle, is to ensure it a longer useful life. This therefore makes it possible to reduce raw materials and energy to rebuild it, which is beneficial both economically and to preserve the environment. It is also giving work locally, because maintenance is a set of local activities, which is a social advantage. The three characteristics of sustainable development are thus satisfied by maintenance. ISO 26000:2020⁷ confirms the contribution of maintenance to sustainability.
If maintenance is a set of actions, it also encompasses the knowledge that enables them to be carried out. As stressed before, it is the need to perform the actions which is at the origin of the knowledge and skills that the people who carry them out must have. It is therefore from the actions to be performed that we must start in order to identify the necessary knowledge for those involved in maintenance (figure 3).
The personnel performing maintenance activities must have knowledge, competences and abilities which are described in the
European standard EN156288 . Knowledge is a body of facts, principles, theories, and practices that results from the assimilation of information through learning. Competences, for their part, are the intellectual and practical aptitudes to use this knowledge as well as the personal dispositions adapted to social behaviour.
We thus find the different types of knowledge and competences that are required to carry out actions, and in particular to effectively contribute to maintenance activities:
• Learning to know (basic knowledge) not specific to maintenance but essential for the personnel who carry out their activities (communication & writing, mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc.).
• Learning to do (know-how) which contains maintenance methods, techniques, practices including Maintenance Engineering.
• Learning to be and to live together which includes the human relations, goodwill, teamwork, respect of the rules, integration, curiosity, initiative, etc.
The BoK mainly focuses on “learning to do” (know-how) although other knowledge and competences are also essential and should be carefully assessed when looking for qualified personnel.
The EFNMS has been working for a long time on the competences of maintenance personnel and more particularly the European
Certification Committee (ECC). The ECC has since 1993, developed and implemented a European certification for maintenance managers and maintenance technicians, and the European Training Committee (ETC) which notably participated in the European standard EN15628 on the qualification of maintenance personnel and was one of the initiators of the European Euromaint project within the framework of the Leonardo program dedicated to education and vocational training.
Regarding the knowledge we must also mention the International Euromaintenance Conference, created by EFNMS in 1974, which is the main European and international event where maintenance knowledge is presented and discussed. The development of the BoK is part of these activities and helps to gather and structure this knowledge.
2. Who should utilize BOK and for which purpose?
The BoK is a tool intended for maintenance stakeholders (companies, organisations, universities, vocational schools, etc.). Its main objectives are:
• to define the issues and topics to be considered when developing, establishing, and developing maintenance process
• to define the activities to be supported e.g., by IT and decision-making tools
• to define the knowledge required to carry out the maintenance processes
• to contribute to its acquisition through education and training
• to attest, through a certification process, that this knowledge is correctly acquired according to the maintenance profile of the people involved.
The European Training Committee and European Certification Committee of EFNMS are directly concerned by these objectives and the BoK development.
Moreover, the BoK must be continuously enriched with new subjects and existing descriptions must be updated. So, experts who are familiar with certain subjects are invited to suggest additions or modifications and thus capitalize on the maintenance knowledge. This should encourage the academic world to increase research and development on maintenance subjects.
Furthermore, this tool can be a starting point for other functionalities in close connection with the works carried out by the EFNMS committees. The BoK can be the way to gather additional and detailed information concerning the various subjects using the structure of the EN17007 standard. For example:
• European Health safety and environment (EHSEC) committee has developed toolboxes, safety bulletins, safety cards
• European Asset Management committee has developed materials for seminars and training, or assessment tools, and is in close connection with other international societies which disseminate information, in particular the Global Forum for Maintenance and Asset Management (GFMAM).
• European Maintenance Assessment Committee (EMAC) produces maintenance indicators and surveys.
• European committee Maintenance 4.0 is producing information related to digital technologies.
The BoK also makes it possible to assist the CEN technical committee dedicated to maintenance (TC319) to identify relevant work items and develop a set of coherent and consistent standards.
3. Some important contents of BOK to close the gaps between the future requirements within the life cycle management
As said above, maintenance is a pillar of sustainable development and for this reason we can affirm that it will expand in the future. In addition, maintenance is a very good candidate for the application of new technologies (Big data, IoT, AI, etc.) that can bring great benefits.
If certain subjects listed in the BoK are traditional (e.g.: Total Productive Maintenance, criticality analysis, RBI, spare part management, etc.), others are newer and will probably be developed further to meet the requirements of the smart industry. In particular, the following subjects in the field of Asset Management can be highlighted:
• “Relations between maintenance and other processes” to align maintenance with the strategic plan of the organisation
• “Maintenance process description – roles & responsibilities” which is a structured approach for assigning responsibilities and effectively managing the overall process and achieve critical success factors
• “Life cycle extension” as a consequence of sustainability policies
• “Maintenance, and investment decisions” to allow optimal choices between competing options
• “Rebuilding & Reinvestment strategies” where maintenance can be a decisive element in choosing the best solution
• “Uncertainty in maintenance management” which is a big challenge to take decisions with limited and uncomplete information considering the probability of regret and the possibility of change of strategy
• “Regulations and relations with auditing & safety organizations” for its importance in a world where risks must be better controlled;
• “Maintenance and Sustainability” which will be in the future an unavoidable and essential relationship
• “Maintenance and industry 4.0” to develop and apply new technologies to maintenance.
We can also mention other important subjects more centred on maintenance activities, as:
• Decision making in maintenance
• Maintainability studies
• Maintenance data collection
• Diagnosis & Prognosis and Predictive maintenance
• Equipment health analysis
• Modelling and simulation of maintenance strategies
which are paramount to best manage assets throughout their life cycle and for which great progress can be expected.
The Maintenance Body of Knowledge (BoK) developed by EFNMS (European Federation of National Maintenance Societies) is a catalogue of maintenance knowledge (industrial issues, methods, techniques, practices, etc.), in relation to the activities concerned to enable maintenance stakeholders to perform the maintenance processes with the best efficiency.
It is not a substitute to textbooks, standards, detailed descriptions of specific methods etc., but it gives an understandable and detailed framework for required knowledge within maintenance. Thus, it is more than just a list of subject matters or activities.
Although BoK defines required knowledge within maintenance, it is an excellent reference for many other approaches and activities within maintenance such as 1) to define the knowledge required to carry out the maintenance processes 2) to define the issues and topics to be considered when developing, establishing, and developing maintenance process, and 3) to define the activities to be supported e.g. by IT and decision making tools.
BoK will be updated continuously any-time when any of the contents requires updating, and therefore, it differs from textbooks and standards which are usually updated as a whole now and then.
Antoine Despujols, AFIM, France
Kari Komonen, Promaint, Finland
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