Imagine this scenario: Altimax Manufacturer, founded 20 years ago, operates out of rented warehouse space in a large industrial complex. The warehouse is a metal building and has had three additions, all of different size, shape and roof height over the past 15 years. Business is good and Altimax expands, hiring more people, renting additional space, adding new products, and using new technologies. Rather than reorganizing space to incorporate each new operational segment, however, the plant layout has evolved irrationally as the company has grown. Top management realizes it's got a problem, but the cost of removing walls, cleaning up old stock and moving equipment inhibits the adoption of a more rational plant layout. Sound familiar?
As you plan strategies for launching or revitalizing your lean implementation, don’t forget to include maintenance in the mix.
“Maintenance is a key contributor to a continuous improvement or lean initiative,” said John Kravontka, president of Fuss & O’Neill Manufacturing Solutions. “Many times, they are the last function to receive lean overview training, and they do not fully understand what is happening in their facility. This can lead to confusion and negative thoughts, taking away from the initiative’s progress. Good lean overview training per all personnel, including maintenance, can support a smoother transition.”