November 2011

North American Turnaround and Maintenance 2011 Supplement

Make the case for ‘lean thinking’ in maintenance

What is ‘lean’ for maintenance; should companies use?

Lamb, R. G., Cost Control Systems, LLC

Lean is not what it seems. The word “lean” makes most of us think of cutting costs by eliminating waste and people; leaving the survivors to do more work with less. The correct vision of lean is to determine what is truly important to the customer and, accordingly, reshape the maintenance work stream to deliver it. Along the way, wastes and nonvalue-activities drop out, and precious resources are powered up to accomplish newly evolving activities. What needs to be gone? The essence of lean is that something “needs to be gone.” For discrete manufacturing, it is inventory. For maintenance, it is lead time: the time from when a need is recognized to when it is completed

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