6 Effective Lean Maintenance Strategies That Every Business Should know

Published February 1, 2023

One of the worst things b2b customers don’t want to see is a delay in product delivery because they give less flexible deadlines. Delays on your part make it harder for them to satisfy end users.


Among the different causes of delays in the manufacturing and production sector are machine malfunctioning, stoppage, and maintenance. Therefore, factories and industrial units must focus on effective maintenance planning and scheduling to ensure equipment reliability.

This is where the concept of lean maintenance comes in.

What Is Lean Maintenance?

Lean maintenance is an approach made to improve the efficiency of maintenance processes. Along with that, it helps in avoiding unnecessary overheads and waste. The aim is to:

  • Maximize the utilization of resources
  • Create repeatable processes

Lean maintenance can be used to balance flexibility with repeatability to improve the efficiency of maintenance activities. It can minimize the amount of time consumed and cost incurred on maintenance. Repeated maintenance ensures that the equipment is operating safely and properly.

By taking a lean approach to maintenance activities, companies are ensured to reduce spending and maximize profitability.

How Is Lean Maintenance Related to Reliability Maintenance?

Lean maintenance is interconnected to reliability maintenance that promises safe and reliable equipment operation. But, there is a slight difference in terms of outcomes.

The purpose of reliability maintenance is to identify and manage potential problems in the equipment before they cause major malfunctions. Lean maintenance strategies can help organizations minimize the time and cost incurred on maintenance tasks through repeated yet flexible processes.

This, in turn, benefits businesses in:

  • Reducing the extra (and unnecessary) cost of equipment maintenance.
  • Improving the asset’s overall health.
  • Ensuring high and smooth equipment performance.

Eventually, reliability maintenance targets resource optimization, cost-minimization, higher customer satisfaction, and better revenue.

So, what are those strategies? Let’s take a look.

Effective Lean Maintenance Strategies

  1. Practice Visual Management

This strategy involves creating a visual program for managing and monitoring maintenance tasks. This means installing visual cues and indicators on the equipment so that maintenance teams can:

  • Quickly diagnose problems.
  • Determine the right course of action.
  • Determine if the equipment is operating at its peak performance.


Visual maintenance also helps communicate instructions and inform the team when it’s time to perform preventive maintenance or replace parts. Visual indicators improve the employees’ ability to understand the problem and act accordingly. It also prevents any chances of confusion, which can severely impact the organization’s efficiency.

  1. Enforce Standard Maintenance Practices

Equipment handling and maintenance should be standardized. Clear and easy-to-follow handling procedures prevent confusion and minimize risks of unexpected plant shutdown.

Similarly, standard maintenance procedures ensure that industrial maintenance is completed the same way every time. The aim is to bring consistency and proficiency among maintenance teams.

Some key benefits include:

  • Effective maintenance scheduling
  • Improved efficiency of maintenance teams
  • Fewer risks
  • Reduced cost of maintenance
  1. Utilize Preventative Maintenance

For equipment optimization and worker safety, preventive maintenance is more than helpful for your lean maintenance strategy. It can help you in many ways, for example:

  • You can save repair costs.
  • Machinery life will extend.
  • Preventive measures minimize the risk of costly repairs and extended maintenance shutdowns.

When machinery works at optimal efficiency, it is a sign your energy consumption will go down but your productivity will improve.

Preventative maintenance can also help create a safe work environment by identifying potential hazards and parts that need to be replaced. This is why developing a proper preventative maintenance schedule is vital. It can make a big difference in the efficiency of your operations, as well as the safety of your teams.

  1. Increase and Use Automation

Experienced maintenance consultants recommend deploying automation, especially when the tasks are to be repeated time and again. It significantly improves your maintenance efficiency by:

  • Cutting down response time to issues
  • Reducing human involvement and risks associated with manual work

But this is just one aspect; think of a system smart enough to predict future problems in your equipment.

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Cutting-edge automated systems can detect issues in your equipment and can predict future failures before they occur. This way, maintenance teams can address the issue in its initial stages and save your system from unexpected malfunctions.

Moreover, an automated system also helps maintenance managers prioritize maintenance tasks. They can focus on high-priority issues and allocate resources according to the situation.

Automated systems also help to improve the work environment for maintenance teams. They can help reduce the risk of burnout and allow workers to embrace more challenging projects.

  1. Outsource Maintenance

Like many other aspects of your business, you can think about outsourcing equipment maintenance as well. This strategy has been increasingly popular across the globe because of its cost-effectiveness. But this isn’t the only benefit.

  • Outsourcing maintenance allows businesses to access high-quality expertise and resources at a fraction of the cost of hiring and retaining employees.
  • It also reduces dependence on in-house staff, freeing up valuable time and resources for other areas of the business.
  • You can reduce risk and provide business continuity, as third-party maintenance specialists can identify and fix any issues that arise quickly.
  • Other than equipment maintenance, professional service providers also have trained reliability consultants who can suggest cost-effective ways to optimize equipment performance.
  • Third-party maintenance services can help you with preventive maintenance tasks as well.
  1. Train Teams for Lean Maintenance

Lean maintenance training can drastically improve overall performance and maintenance processes. It allows teams to gain the necessary skills for maximum efficiency in short and long-term equipment maintenance. This, in turn, reduces the risk of equipment malfunctions.

Training teams can involve topics, such as:

  • Safety
  • Best practices
  • Quality control

This strategy offers long-term benefits, such as:

  • You’ll get a maintenance team that’s knowledgeable and skilled.
  • Continued training builds confidence in maintenance staff, enabling them to identify problems and take precautionary measures in real-time.
  • Trained staff will be better equipped to find ways to improve equipment performance.

Final Thoughts

Lean maintenance is not a modern-day practice, but the strategies have been revolutionized to ensure resource optimization, better performance, and reduced waste. In this regard, the above-mentioned strategies have been tried and tested in many industries.

Now, all you need to do is decide which of the above strategies meets your maintenance budget. That said, you may need a professional reliability consultant to execute the chosen strategy in the best possible manner.

Press Release Distributed by The Express Wire

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