Within the context of Lean thinking, quite a lot of attention is given to the proper and smart maintenance of equipment and installations; and for a good reason. Poor maintenance, typically resulting in unplanned down-time, rejects and loss of speed, is still an important cause of poor delivery reliability towards customers. And as a result, indirectly, it may also well be the reason behind high inventory levels and excessive overhead cost to still try being on-time.
Total Productive Maintenance or TPM, therefore, also is a well-known theme among capital-intense (semi-)process industries like for instance chemicals, plastics, metals, energy, paper, food and fast-moving consumer goods. And in more and more cases, TPM (either independently or as a part of Lean) is already well under way. But in this post, I don’t want to focus too much on the phase the equipment is already in operation, but rather before we even install the equipment, viz., the design, choice and purchase of the equipment. If we don’t, lots of problems may later arise because of a lack of Lean thinking in the design and purchasing process of equipment. Time for a change therefore; time to move towards Lean equipment and a monument-free future! (more…)