Competitive pressures on manufacturing organisations have obliged them to look at all improvement possibilities. Among the most popular and well-documented change interventions have been total quality management (TQM) and business process reengineering (BPR). As the management of physical assets now accounts for a rapidly increasing share of operational costs, greater attention is being directed to maintenance thinking. Two maintenance interventions — reliability-centred maintenance (RCM) and total productive maintenance (TPM) — have seen significant industrial application over the last decade. It is the purpose of this paper to apply the general approach of Meredith in an earlier paper to analyse the implementation of these with reference to the TQM, BPR and other change intervention literature and to assess the extent to which the maintenance implementation follows the path of other interventions. Four postulates relating to the implementation of new maintenance systems are analysed: the significance of a prescriptive methodology, quantification of objectives, managerial attitudes, and the importance of not appending maintenance initiatives to existing operations practices. This will facilitate a critical assessment of the potential for and implications of RCM and TPM intervention and thus contribute to the development of the maintenance management field.