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A Tribute to John Moubray: A Pioneer in Physical Asset Management

Updated: Nov 3, 2023


John Moubray

A personal tribute to John Moubray (1949-2004)

 

My initial encounter with John Moubray took place in June 1996 during the ABRAMAN - Brazilian Maintenance Association Conference, held in the picturesque city of Belo Horizonte, within the State of Minas Gerais. John was accompanied by Steven Martina, representing SQL Systems, then a consultancy based in the Netherlands Antilles, which had joined forces with SPES Engenharia de Sistemas, a global pioneer in Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) development. This collaboration eventually gave rise to SQL Systems Brasil, a groundbreaking player in Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) consulting in Brazil.


This meeting was not just a brush with modern physical asset risk management but an opportunity to be a part of its inception and evolution. It was a chance to explore new technical horizons and introduce these innovations through computerized systems along with novel conceptual frameworks, tailored to tackle the complexities of third-generation physical assets.


Looking back at this remarkable journey, the ambiance at the conference was abuzz with the anticipation of John's lecture. It was evident that his presentation promised something entirely novel for most of the attendees, including myself. John's lecture illuminated the RCM2 methodology, a successor to the RCM methodology developed by the U.S. civil aviation, meticulously adapted to suit the requirements of various industries. Keep in mind that 25 years ago, even cellular phones and PC Local Area Networks were in their infancy.


As the lecture unfolded, it became apparent that RCM2 introduced groundbreaking concepts and principles that challenged the existing paradigms of physical asset reliability. During the Q&A session, the audience oscillated between skepticism and enthusiasm, but the consensus was that RCM2 marked a pivotal moment. John was heralding a new era in failure management strategies, going beyond mere additions to maintenance management.


These pioneering times can be seen as the genesis of a discipline that would require corporate physical asset custodians to embark on a costly and sometimes painful maturation journey over the next 25 years to comprehend its potent principles and harness significant opportunities for improvement. For many corporations, this journey is still unfolding.


Simultaneously, similar scenarios were playing out in the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., with new paradigms under deep examination, review, and presentation at major maintenance conferences.


From the very outset, I positioned myself among those envisioning a fresh era for this emerging discipline: physical asset performance management. By mid-1998, RCM projects in Brazil had grown to the point where resources such as John's RCM2 book, a worldwide bestseller, and a comprehensive set of technical materials compelled us to translate them into Portuguese—an unforgettable endeavor.


John himself exhibited great enthusiasm for the potential of the Brazilian market. He graciously accepted several invitations to visit Brazil, leading both public and private lectures, overseeing our project performances, and engaging in discussions with our major clients and prospects.


When recounting John's technical legacy, the magnitude of his contributions becomes apparent. His impact has been profound and is the cornerstone of numerous ongoing developments in the field of physical asset management.


I am privileged to be a part of a select circle of friends, business partners, and practitioners who have been guided and mentored by John Moubray himself. We are the living legacy he has shaped through his dedication, expertise, and passion. Being a part of this enduring legacy has significantly enriched my professional journey, and it is my goal to continue honoring his legacy.


It's also worth mentioning John's technical legacy, which includes the development of the RCM SAE standards, SAE JA 1011 and SAE JA 1012 Recommended Practice.


Without a shadow of a doubt, John stands out as the most exceptional and brilliant thinker in the realm of physical asset management with whom I've had the privilege to collaborate.


With the utmost respect, gratitude, and an unwavering commitment to tread the same technical paths that undoubtedly lead to excellence in the realm of physical asset risk management, I humbly say:


Thank you, Sir!



 

 

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