Lean Manufacturing Maintenance

In the next few weeks I hope to finally submit my latest manuscript for a book that I have been working on across several continents, several years, and several projects. It has been an exhausting and exhilarating experience. I think it's pretty good. It is called Lean Strategies for Asset Reliability, and as the title suggests the central theme is Lean Maintenance. I started to research this book for a few reasons.First, the lack of successful reliability implementations all over the world. A tragic situation and one that can easily be changed, the second issue is that there are a lot of misconceptions out there regarding what Lean Maintenance actually is. There seem to be two schools of thought - either it is a direct adaption of Lean Manufacturing, or authors use it to wrap in every single idea and concept they have ever heard of or offered. Unfortunately both ideas are wrong. Sure they will lead to some improvement - but ultimately they are limiting and in some cases even counterproductive concepts. The underlying approach to lean is to make things more efficient. Sadly, very sadly, this has come to mean more work with less people. An approach that ultimately is not very "lean" nor is it very sustainable. People get tired, they move on, and take all of their experience and knowledge with them. Or worse, they get cynical and stay! Efficiency means, literally, productive without waste.  And while job roles are definitely a strong part of this, there is so much more that is not covered in traditional approaches to Lean Maintenance. For example, are we efficiently deploying our resources? Or spending our improvement budget? What about the endless criticality and other analytical tasks? Are these the best uses of our time? What about the raft of unfinished and unsupported initiatives that are out there? Is this the most efficient way to conduct our business? And then there is the ultimate point of lean - the people. For us to be truly, and deeply, efficient, we need to make sure that the people we are using are trained to be useful in exactly the areas that we need them to be. I have trained around about 3000 people in RCM now, and countless others in planning, indicators, RCA and a whole heap  of other initiatives. And guys, I'm sorry to say this, but a lot of Reliability Engineers out there, well they just don't get it sadly. But its not their fault. They were happily working as technicians, engineers or whatever -and somebody decided they should work as a reliability engineer. They often have no training, no real focus except the standard (increase reliability) and no career planning to support them. I think this is a good time to be writing this book. Reliability projects continue to fail or to fall short of their potential impacts, more and more of us are starting to work in the field of reliability, and the hazardous and unethical practices such as streamlined RCM are beginning to recede into the dim dark past. (And good riddance to them) But - don't think that this is another theoretical Tome written by someone who has thought about everything and done nothing. Its not and I'm not. I started out in life working in 130 degree heat and knee deep in grease and the stuff that fills waste water plants. (Yup, that stuff) Since then I have worked in around 30 different countries, most industrial sectors and more projects than I can remember.In the process I have met and worked with real gurus in specific areas, real fraudsters in other areas, and deluded "practitionrs" who should have known better! So the book is a collection of things I have either learned the hard way, (which you do not want to do - trust me on that) or things that I have been involved with that worked very well. There will also be a number of "warnings" about some of the more dangerous and foolish practices that seem to have gained prominence in the world today. I hope it will be of interest to readers of this blog.