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Lean Maintenance

 Lean manufacturing, operations, and maintenance, as well as any process in general, are all covered under the notion of lean. As you might expect, being lean entails cutting out the parts of your daily routine that aren't necessary. This concept results in a more cost-effective program without losing quality.

Lean Maintenance

What Is Lean Maintenance?

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), a method that maximizes performance through corporate involvement, is the foundation of a lean maintenance approach. In essence, every employee at all levels of the company supports maintenance and dependability activities. TPM's concepts, such as the 5S principle, autonomous maintenance, and continuous improvement, are essential to a lean strategy. These concepts are put into effect with lean maintenance to reduce costs while boosting the reliability of equipment and systems.

To comprehend what "lean maintenance" entails, we must first examine the definition of lean. To put it another way, being lean implies getting rid of waste. In manufacturing, this principle is commonly applied. You may be familiar with the term "lean manufacturing," which refers to a methodology for guiding manufacturing and service operations. Unplanned downtime, overproduction, waiting time, transportation inefficiencies, and inventory overstock are all examples of waste to watch out for in lean manufacturing.In the sense that both approaches attempt to remove waste, lean maintenance is analogous to lean manufacturing. When it comes to upkeep, though, waste can take many various forms.

Maintenance wastes are often associated with non-essential operations. Teams, for example, are at risk of conducting superfluous maintenance if they don't have the correct timetables and criteria in place to accomplish activities. The accuracy with which maintenance is identified prior to a breakdown considerably lowers non-essential effort. Another example of waste reduction is the elimination of wasteful maintenance practices. You'd like your parts to arrive in time for a scheduled closure. This manner, you can keep your repair time to a bare minimum while still getting everything done.Maintenance staff may make the most of any downtime given for planned work by scheduling efficiently. This approach also eliminates the need for costly, dangerous, and hurried maintenance.

How to Evaluate the Efficacy of a Lean Maintenance Program

With all the promises of cheaper costs and more reliability, it's no surprise that people want to go lean. But how can you know whether you've accomplished what you set out to do? Furthermore, how can you know if you've reached your full potential or still have a long way to go? You'll need metrics and benchmarks in place to monitor your goals and see how they're progressing. After all, getting data to understand where you are is a critical step in enhancing your performance.

What Metrics Do I Choose to Evaluate the Impact of a Lean Maintenance Program?

Selecting the appropriate metrics might assist you in obtaining a glimpse of your performance. You can get a feeling of your achievements and lowlights for a certain period if you have the correct ones in place. As you fine-tune your program, you may track how changes in your strategy affect these values. Here are seven areas where to evaluate the impact of a lean maintenance program can be measured:

1.Hours of unscheduled downtime

Also known as equipment downtime, this metric tells you the amount of lost productivity in a month. While some scheduled downtime is necessary, such as in shutdowns, this metric typically concerns unexpected stoppages.

2.Cost of unscheduled downtime

The cost of unexpected downtime is related to the loss of productivity, just like the first metric. The influence of this statistic on production value losses is better understood when expressed in dollars.

3.Labor costs of planning and scheduling

The maintenance process will always include planning and scheduling tasks. By reducing these activities and performing them correctly and on time, being lean creates value. You're not only maximizing your maintenance time, but you're also reducing the need for any rework.

4.Labor costs of testing

Testing practices, like planning and scheduling, are critical to several maintenance procedures. Using a lean strategy, you can design for an efficient order of testing operations in order to reduce waste.

5.Labor costs of scheduled maintenance

You'll want to keep track of metrics that compare how you're doing against your goals. Monitoring the prices of scheduled maintenance offers you an indication of what you'll be spending.

6.Labor costs of unscheduled repairs

In contrast to scheduled maintenance, you should try to limit unscheduled work to a bare minimum. Unexpected repairs result in more downtime and a reduction in productivity. Lowering these costs indicates that your lean maintenance strategy is working.

7.Cost of materials for testing, maintenance, and repairs

Now that we've covered labor expenditures, we'd like to know how much our materials will cost. Part of this measure is determined by how you handle inventory. You want to strike a balance between having just the proper amount of capital invested in stocked spares and being able to complete your tasks on time.

What Should I Measure in a Lean Maintenance Program?

In the preceding section, we looked at some measures that may be used to evaluate the impact of a lean maintenance program. Those previously mentioned evaluation criteria are very similar to the data you'll want to keep track of as your approach progresses. Consider these areas as longer-term performance indicators.

1.Compare scheduled versus unscheduled repairs

One of the main tenets of a lean approach is to eliminate any unplanned effort. There are numerous ways to quantify this amount throughout your program. You can calculate the percentage of scheduled maintenance work orders and compare it to the overall number of work orders. You gain control of your schedule by increasing this proportion. You can decide when the optimum time is to have your equipment repaired. If it makes sense, you can even make the most of that time by planning multiple chores.

Looking at your labor time is another technique to compare the amount of scheduled repairs vs the total list of tasks. Scheduled repairs, like work orders, should take up the majority of your total work time. It's worth noting that you may still need to make space in case of unplanned maintenance. It's a good idea to set a target of roughly 80% of labor time for scheduled work.

2.Track your training

A lean maintenance mindset fosters a culture that encourages all teams to work together efficiently. When you think about lean, tracking training hours might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, when this metric rises, your maintenance team's capacity to focus on more difficult jobs rises as well.

The amount of time the maintenance team spends training operators in testing and preventative maintenance can be used to track training progress. Workers can participate in routine condition testing and maintenance as their experience grows. When you have a more hands-on workforce, you'll be able to increase reliability while also fostering a culture of continual development.

3.Manage downtime

It's all too simple to misunderstand downtime and try to avoid it. However, in real-world settings, it's unscheduled downtime that you want to prevent. The manner you build up your metrics should reflect the distinction between scheduled and unscheduled downtime. You should concentrate on the usefulness of your equipment's idle time rather than the quantity.

Measuring how much downtime is due to unscheduled maintenance is one technique to determine whether or not it adds value. If you have a higher percentage of planned equipment downtime, you may be on the correct track. You can also describe your metric by including the real expenses of lost production during downtime. Calculate the value lost during periods of inactivity and the percentage that comes from planned downtime. Similarly, you want the majority of the costs associated with lost output to come from planned rather than unplanned maintenance. That way, any downtime will be seen as a valuable investment rather than a waste.

4.Inventory management

It's critical to have the proper parts at the right time to complete preventive maintenance activities on time. You can delve down into inventory-related difficulties and get a step closer to a solution by completing proper analysis.

Identifying how much of your downtime is due to a lack of spare parts is a smart place to start. What, moreover, is the impact on production if a part is not readily available? Consider the primary components of a piece of equipment that is vital to your business's operations. What is the hourly cost of production losses, say, if one of those components fails unexpectedly? How long does it take for the part to arrive from the vendor? What is the total stockout cost, taking into account all of these factors? Knowing these metrics will help you understand how inventory management can help you reduce waste.

It also aids in tracking the expense of keeping new parts on hand, as in the preceding instance. These expenses include warehouse personnel labor costs, preservation charges, and warehouse space requirements. You now have both sides of the equation: the impact of missing a part and the cost of stocking it after adding them up. After that, you can decide whether or not you need to obtain and keep a spare.

How Does a Lean Maintenance Program Reduce Costs?

You can see how a lean approach reduces waste and discovers ways to get the most value out of a situation by now. Consider the benefits in the following emphasis areas to see how such programs cut expenses.

1.Extend the Life of Assets

Always keep in mind that a lean maintenance program is first and foremost a maintenance strategy. Its goal is not just to cut costs, but also to improve the availability and dependability of your equipment.

2.Maximize Manpower Effort

The importance of effort and labor is recognized in a lean maintenance program. Maintenance teams devote their time and attention to tasks and activities that bring value. By focusing your workforce's energy on jobs that matter, you can expect to save money on labor.

3.Optimizing Spares and Maintenance Materials

A lean strategy tries to bring in resources according to a just-in-time method whenever possible. A consistent timetable of activities helps teams to plan ahead of time for a work and bring in resources when they are needed. Teams can effectively allocate resources to stock extremely vital commodities using this technique.

4.Efficient Planning and Scheduling

A large part of the cost savings from a lean system comes from planning and scheduling. Maintenance teams can accomplish operations with control and attention if they are efficiently planned in a lean way.

What If My Lean Maintenance Program Isn't Keeping Costs to a Minimum?

The first thing to remember is that the quality of your data determines the quality of your analysis. Any irregularities in your data should be addressed before they become a headache in the future. If you have a CMMS or EAM, check sure its functionalities are aligned with your metrics. Many of your maintenance activities are already being recorded by these technologies. Having the data in a format that is ready to be analyzed might save you a lot of time and effort.

You can then look at the metrics that evaluate your execution if you have complete confidence in your data. You can start noticing red signals from your metrics if you don't think costs are where they should be. Determine which areas are the most wasteful. Identify ways to make your scheduling more efficient while you're at it. It's important to remember that making the most of downtime is just as important as eliminating it. Increased scheduled duties and selecting the appropriate maintenance jobs are two examples of areas that can pay off financially.

When switching to a new system, it may take some time to notice substantial improvements in your bottom line. To gain confidence, you'll need the correct data and an objective method to analysis.

5 Lean Tools Used by Manufacturers

Several technologies, procedures, and techniques are used in lean maintenance. Some of them are necessary for lean maintenance, while others are more of a bonus. The following are the most often used tools.

1. 5S Process

The 5S process is at the heart of lean maintenance and TPM. This procedure is designed for normal employees, and it outlines actions that the average worker may do to assist with maintenance tasks.

5S stands for:
  • Sort : Determine which materials to keep on hand and which to discard.
  • Straighten: Organize everything to minimize wasted time.
  • Shine: Keep equipment, tools, and work areas clean.
  • Standardize : Plan when and how the first three S’s will be performed.
  • Sustain : Perform audits, support new practices, and sustain the previous 4 S’s long-term.

💡 Tip

📌 5S is cyclical, like many other aspects of lean maintenance. Once everything is in place, you conduct audits and continue to improve how you practice each element.

2. Mistake-Proofing

Making planning and following processes to reduce mistakes to a minimum is referred to as mistake-proofing in lean maintenance. The following are some examples of mistake-proofing :

  • Preventive maintenance processes should be well-defined.
  • Creating comprehensive job plans.
  • Lubricants and cleaning materials are color-coded.
  • All equipment must be labeled.
  • Developing comprehensive change management procedures.

The less likely you are to squander resources due to human mistakes, the more thorough and user-friendly your plans, procedures, and processes are.

3. Kaizen Events

Kaizen events are short-term projects organized by management to assist a team in improving in some way, such as through the application of 5S principles. These gatherings usually last no more than a week and are facilitated by a facilitator.

💡 Tip

📌 Make sure your facilitator is familiar with lean maintenance principles. Check a third-party vendor's track record with previous clients if you're using them to execute kaizen events. 

A kaizen event's ultimate purpose is to promote continuous development. While each event may be considered as a one-time occurrence, they should be repeated on a regular basis in various sectors of your firm. Your team members will have several opportunities to apply 5S concepts and other components of lean maintenance while also receiving continuous feedback.

 4. Modern CMMS

Lean maintenance focuses on self-directed teams doing activities automatically, which necessitates the most effective scheduling of routine tasks. By improving maintenance planning and scheduling processes, work order management, and other components, a CMMS can help with lean maintenance.

5. Maintenance Analysis

It's crucial to keep an eye on your maintenance procedures to ensure they're as lean as possible. Your maintenance analysis may cover the following topics :
  • Examining preventative maintenance procedures to see whether they're truly working.
  • Root cause analysis (RCA) is used to identify the source of equipment failures.
  • Using PdM and condition monitoring on critical assets.
  • When doing PM activities, look at workflows and schedule compliance.

💡 Tip

📌 By making critical information more available, a CMMS can help with many of these areas of maintenance analysis. 

Setting Up a Lean Maintenance Workflow

The implementation of lean maintenance is not a one-time event. It takes time, and a variety of factors must be in place for it to function. The procedures below will assist you in setting up your lean maintenance operation.

1. Form a Maintenance Team

Forming a maintenance team is a good place to start. You'll need team members who have worked on the individual assets you'll be managing since they'll know exactly what went wrong with each. The crew might be made up of maintenance technicians, but it could also be made up of machine operators.

2. Choose a Leader

The next step is to appoint someone to be in charge of maintenance planning and scheduling. This individual should have a broad understanding of how each machine should be managed, as well as excellent leadership and organizational abilities.

💡 Tip

📌 This position would be ideal for a maintenance manager or supervisor.

3. Pick Systems to Manage

Lean maintenance isn't something that happens all at once, and it's frequently preferable to start with only one system. Start with the one that requires the greatest assistance, probably the one that adds the most to mainte nance expenses or production downtime. You'll be able to extend to other systems more quickly as you learn from adopting lean maintenance techniques with that system.

In an ideal world, you'd apply it to all of your facility's systems, lowering maintenance expenses across the board.

4. Schedule Lean Maintenance

Once you've got a team, a leader, and a system in place, you can start figuring out what tasks need to be completed and when the ideal time is to execute them.

Those activities will be planned on a regular time-centered basis as part of a preventative maintenance approach. Maintenance scheduling may be dependent on when PdM alerts are triggered by your CMMS if you have condition-monitoring instrumentation in place.

💡 Tip

📌 Who is assigned to maintenance is just as essential as when it is planned. Make certain that the correct individual is assigned to each task.

 5. Work in Cycles

Because lean maintenance entails recurrent activities, your team may experience workload increases at regular intervals if you're not attentive. Work in cycles to keep workloads regular and manageable, with your team cycling through different systems to ensure they get to all of them.

This is especially critical if you have a large number of machines or systems to maintain.

6. Repeat

Because lean maintenance is proactive, it must be done on a regular basis to ensure that each piece of equipment remains in good operating order.

Conduct audits as you repeat each cycle of your lean maintenance processes to ensure it is operating as effectively as feasible. Make improvements to help your team work more effectively if you notice areas where time or resources are being squandered.


Lean maintenance entails more than simply cost savings and the elimination of inefficient operations. To achieve high dependability, a lean strategy strives to maximize value from components and services. Teams may enhance their overall performance and efficiency by focusing on the appropriate things.