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This is the eighth in my ongoing series of columns with the following theme: “If there were ever a time to get serious about lean manufacturing, it’s now. The vision of doing more with less of everything may very well be the new reality in our upside-down, post-pandemic world.” In my June 6, 2022, column, (see link below), I recommended a goal that RAM Pros can readily grasp: “Lean Equipment Management (LEM) for the most critical, most penalizing equipment-driven processes.” That, in turn, begins with a business focus.

Throughout this series relating to Lean Manufacturing and Lean Equipment Management, I’ve stressed the point that all of this is a “Focused Improvement Strategy,” NOT a Lean program or lean toolbox to implement in the hopes of improving performance. Why is that? Mostly because plants and facilities don’t have sufficient resources to address ALL equipment problems. Resources generally exist for targeting specific problematic equipment bottlenecks in ways that help improve business performance in fast and sustainable manners.

Keep in mind that these are seven INTERDEPENDENT principles driven and measured by Principle #1. In one of my previous columns (July 2, 2022), I discussed the driving force of LEM in that first principle: “Targeting the major causes of poor equipment performance.” I then listed 14 major equipment-related losses (causes of poor performance) with a goal of ZERO losses. Check it out. It works.

Here are some examples of LEM activities that I’ve witnessed over the past 25 years or so, each designed to address one or more of the major losses in the equipment being targeted (i.e., Principle #1):

Principle #2: “Engaging operations personnel in caring for their equipment.” Start of shift/end of shift inspections, routine filter changes, minor lubrication, fluid level checks, minor adjustments, weekly preventive maintenance, data collection, assisting maintenance technicians, etc. (Remember, the number one priority of an operator is to OPERATE the equipment, not to replace maintainers.)

Principle #3: “Improving maintenance efficiency & effectiveness. Periodic inspection/testing, preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance, spare parts management, work order management, standardized repair plans, detailed work instructions, etc.

Principle #4: “Training & qualifying to improve skills and knowledge.” This includes assuring that everyone who touches the equipment (or makes decisions that affect the equipment) is trained and qualified to perform their specific tasks as specified by detailed work instructions.

Principle #5: “Improving equipment maintainability & maintenance prevention design.” For new equipment this incorporates maintainability and maintenance prevention designs. For existing equipment this means modifying the equipment to make it easier to maintain and/or require less maintenance.

Principle #6: “Winning with leadership & teamwork focused on common goals.” (I had addressed this principle in the fourth installment if this series (June 20, 2022).

Principle #7: “Building a Lean Equipment Management culture.” The cultural driver for this is simple and focused on the targeted equipment. Top management kicks off the LEM initiative and also attends every major event. Their involvement is twofold: 1) They send the message, “This is important to our business.” and 2) We are all learning and deploying these LEM principles together.

One of the most dramatic examples of Principle #7 played out with one of my clients. The senior vice president and ALL decision- makers attended each LEM team meeting to address the targeted equipment.

The VP would always ask, “What are the business goals?” And the group would recite, “on time, lead time, and cost.” From that point on, all discussions, plans, actions, and reports pointed to those goals. That’s how you build a sustainable Lean Equipment Management culture.TRR

Click These Links To Read Prior Installments In This Series

“Is Lean Manufacturing Dead? Surely Not” (May 31, 2022)

“Lean Manufacturing: Where To Begin?” (June 6, 2022)

“Lean Manufacturing: The 7 Principles Of Lean Equipment Management” (June 13, 2022)

Lean Manufacturing: Leadership & Teamwork” (June 20, 2022)

“Lean Equipment Management: How To Put Its 7 Principles To Work (Part 1)” (June 27, 2022)

“Lean Equipment Management: How To Put Its 7 Principles To Work (Part 2)” (July 4, 2022)

“Lean Equipment Management: How To Put Its 7 Principles To Work (Part 3)” (July, 11, 2022)

Bob Williamson is a long-time contributor to the “people-side” of the world-class-maintenance and manufacturing body of knowledge across dozens of industry types. His vast background in maintenance, machine and tool design, and teaching has positioned his work with over 500 companies and plants, facilities, and equipment-oriented organizations. Contact him directly at 512-800-6031 or

Tagsreliability, availability, maintenance, RAM, asset management, skills development, on-the-job training, supply-chain issues, training and qualification, professional development