Lean maintenance at the heart of Continuous Improvement

What does “lean maintenance” mean ? 

Initially focused purely on improving production, this concept was invented by the Japanese group Toyota. This innovative approach optimised production by reducing or eliminating wasted time, expertise and budget. Jim Womack (1), who standardised the concept and named it “LEAN MANUFACTURING”, even indicates that this operation creates more and more value with less and less time, space and error.
This approach extends to Maintenance by giving the maintenance department a proactive role in improving the manufacturing process compared to traditional maintenance. It involves improving rather than maintaining/repairing by giving the maintenance department time to focus on long-term solutions.

What are the main steps towards a lean maintenance implementation ?

A maintenance audit is typically necessary to identify the department’s strengths and weaknesses.

Its purpose is to identify the flows and propose solutions to stabilise the faults and take full advantage of the team and company attributes.

Support can continue while implementing Lean Maintenance, which involves:
1. developing standardised practices to stabilise and extend the life cycle of equipment and components
2. progressively expanding these practices to optimise response capacity and increase the time span between each work order.
3. sending routine maintenance operations to production without losing maintenance quality
4. improving store, scheduling, reporting and analysis management tools
5. managing projects and providing equipment and components ahead of time, i.e. anticipation

This investment creates a tangible ROI (return on investment) and enhances the maintenance team and therefore the human resources.

More generally, should this “LEAN” approach not be made systematic so that we can all, on an industrial and personal level, use less material and energy to create as much as (or more than) we consume, while saving but also respecting our environment?

Are you LEAN?

(1) Jim Womack is an American professor and author of the following books on the Lean concept:
Lean Solutions: How Companies and Customers Can Create Value and Wealth Together ISBN 978-3-593-38112-1
Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation ISBN 3-593-37561-3
The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production ISBN 0060974176, ISBN 978-0060974176

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