Detailed and quantitative studies of maintainability were not initiated until the early 1950's. Before 1950, maintainability was often viewed as a "common sense" ingredient of design. However, other performance requirements and acquisition budget concerns frequently overrode design decisions made to improve maintainability. Now, the ownership costs and availability requirements of increasingly complex modern systems and equipment demand that designing for maintainability be as important as designing for other performance characteristics. The maintainability engineer must now ensure that considerations for maintainable designs are an integral element of every design trade study or design change activity.
The basic objectives of designing for maintainability are to meet the operational readiness requirements for the product and to reduce support costs. A maintainability engineer committed to these objectives will continually challenge the design to uncover weaknesses and potential maintenance problems. The objective is to design in maintainability. If this objective is not met and the production hardware fails to meet maintainability objectives, corrective design changes will have to be made later in the equipment's life cycle at significant expense. The primary emphasis of the maintainability program is to identify and correct maintainability problems early in the design process when correction simply requires changing drawings.