Lean Maintenance - A risk-based approach

Lean maintenance is defined as delivery of maintenance services to customers with as little waste as possible. This promotes achievement of a desirable maintenance outcome with fewest inputs possible. Inputs include: labour, spare parts, tools, energy, capital, and management effort. The gains are improved plant reliability (availability) and improved repeatability of process (less variation).

The fundamental principles of lean are more frequently being applied to pharmaceutical asset maintenance. One of the most important aspects of lean maintenance is developing an understanding of the maintenance processes and applying a risk-based approach. This involves evaluating whether each element of maintenance practice used adds value to the product and benefits the customer. Lean maitenance drives efficiency and effectiveness and this ensures improved quality, equipment performance, and profitability.
Waste maintenance practices are associated with the following activities:
  1. Unproductive work – efficiently doing work that does not increase equipment reliability.
  2. Delays in motion – waiting for production equipment to be available to carry out preventive maintenance.
  3. Unnecessary motion – unneeded travel, trips to parts stores, and looking for tools required to do a job.
  4. Poor management of inventory – not having an adequate amount of the right parts at the right time.
  5. Rework – having to repeat tasks due to poor workmanship.
  6. Under-utilization of resources – maximizing resources available and harnessing the skill sets of the maintenance teams.
  7. Ineffective data management – collecting data that is of no use or failure to collect data which is important.
  8. Misapplication of machinery – incorrect operation or deliberate operational strategies leading to maintenance work being done when it needn’t be.
It is important to note that lean maintenance is not simply an approach to do more with less resources. It enables pharmaceutical companies to focus resources where they are needed to meet production and regulatory requirements.