Difference Between Availability & Reliability in Terms of Maintenance

Difference Between Availability & Reliability in Terms of Maintenance

Often it has been seen that we use term availability instead of reliability and vice versa. However, there is a difference between these two in terms of maintenance. In this blog, we will discover what is the definition of availability and reliability and what is the main difference between them! So, without wasting any time let us begin!

What Is Reliability?

Reliability is the measure of how long a machine can operate without any problem. In simple words it can be seen as the success chances depends on continuous operational assets performance without any failure & impacting performance.

What Is the Formula for Finding Reliability?

Operation without failure is the key, reliability can be calculated with MTBF (mean time between failure) & failure rate is just the opposite of MTBF. For calculating MTBF here is the formula.

MTBF= Operate time/ Failure event numbers

Failure rate = Number of failures/Unit of time (i.e. hours, weeks, months, etc.)

How We Can Improve Reliability?

Steps for improving reliability:

  1. Understand life expectancy
  2. Analyze equipment performance data
  3. Make informed decisions
  4. Prioritize maintenance tasks
  5. Ensure inventory availability

For improving reliability, you need to know the life expectancy of each asset and calculate the life of each asset! It is one of the significant factors for improving reliability because afterlife expectancy asset breakdown chances are increased.

The second step is you need to collect data about equipment performance and health. Obviously when health is good asset performance is increased. Furthermore, you can take the assistance of data for a deep understanding of assets.

After that, you need to make a decision based on the information. Solid information via automated software reports, meter reading, and even monitor assets.

Sometimes the maintenance team is occupied with work that is not critical. Therefore, the maintenance team needs to prioritize their work as per the asset category. It is important for organizations that they prioritize assets as per the usage, dependency & critical nature of the asset. When assets are prioritized productivity will increase and so is reliability.

Organizations need to ensure that their maintenance team uses new and good quality inventory and ensure that inventory is available. If during maintenance inventory is not available then it will be no good for business.

Increasing reliability is not a one time job, it is a long continuous process that might take months to achieve results. Organizations need to schedule maintenance proactively, eliminate issues, and perform audits regularly. You need to improve continuously and keep on improving then only reliability can enhance. Its benefits will be seen in the long run via decreased maintenance expenses and increased asset reliability.

What Is Availability?

The availability of assets depends on the usage! How frequently an asset is utilized in an operation for how long! It is expressed or measured in the percentage of the time machine is operable.

What Is the Formula for Finding Availability?

For finding the percentage of availability you have to know operation time & divide it by the total scheduled operation time multiply by 100.

Availability percentage = (Operation time / schedule operation time) * 100


Operation time - It is the actual time an asset is working means the asset doing its intended work.

Schedule operation time - It is the time schedule for asset means asset intended to work and it does not include idle time.

How We Can Improve Availability?

Steps for improving availability:

  1. Measure current availability
  2. Set an achievable target for availability
  3. Review your purchase order process
  4. Shift toward proactive maintenance

When you want to improve availability, the first step is to know what current measurement of availability is important. Once you know where you are and where you want to reach then only you can improve in terms of availability.

The second step is setting an achievable target. It is important to decide your attainable availability, you should benchmark yourself against comparable offices inside your industry. Once you know how well others are doing in your industry then you can change your current plan requirements.

Many factors are a hindrance in the availability, for instance, the current plan of your office framework might take time to process the purchase order.

Another step, most of the impediments to gear accessibility come from operational methods, not maintenance practices. As your attention ought to be on ensuring your operation procedures don't put a superfluous limit on your asset availability and performance.

Investigate your present practice for working your equipment and asset and perceive how your possible problem, inventory imperfection, and cost back relate to those practices.

One of the main steps for increasing availability is proactive maintenance. Proactive maintenance increases the reliability and availability of assets. Reactive maintenance is done when assets breakdown it decreases the reliability and availability of the asset.

In order to enhance the reliability and availability of assets, organizations must implement proactive maintenance. As we know whenever a breakdown occurs it impacts the availability because it is not capable of working as per schedule furthermore downtime increases.

Availability Vs Reliability

Basically, availability and reliability are used for ensuring that business runs smoothly and daily operations are not disrupted.

Usually, the reliability of assets can be interpreted into increased availability. But we have to understand that sometimes availability does not mean reliability. Or it also does not mean that reliability of assets does not mean availability of assets.

Here is an example for understanding reliability and availability that will give you some idea about these term differences:  “a machine may be available 85 percent and reliable 70 percent from the standard performance point of view.”

Both are equally important for the productivity and operational enhancement of the facility. When availability and reliability increase it helps in growing business efficiency.


Reliability and availability are two terms that are interconnected to each other. You can improve your reliability and availability with Helpdesk and Ticketing software. It emphasizes proactive maintenance and helps in achieving your objectives. For instance, scheduling maintenance or providing accurate assets reports.

Furthermore, when you have a lot of assets then keeping track of them is an exhausting job, Helpdesk and Ticketing software keeps track of them for you. This software allows you to set reminders for asset maintenance & provide asset history that helps in making accurate decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How downtime impacts availability and reliability?

Downtime impacts availability and reliability in every way because downtime of particular assets helps in estimating asset performance! Assets shall be in working condition if anyone wants to use them.  

How assets are tracked?

For asset tracking, the tag has adhered to assets and types of equipment. These tags are enabled with asset tracking technologies such as barcode, QR code, RFID, etc. These tags are used via asset tracking software and they provide information of each asset at regular intervals.

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