Lean Facility Management – Introducing the Kanban System

Maintenance is defined as a combination of technical, administrative, and management activities throughout the product lifecycle [1]. This is done to ensure that the product keeps functioning smoothly and achieves its full lifecycle. Corrective maintenance happens after a breakdown or failure while preventive maintenance (also known as regular maintenance) is designed to be proactive.

In simplistic terms, Lean Maintenance is doing the maintenance in the most effective and efficient manner which creates the greatest value for the end asset user.

Lean Maintenance is a powerful tool to help identify and eliminate waste related issues. Lean identifies eight common waste categories that occur in business processes. These are: Overproduction, Defects, Over-processing, Waiting, Motion, Transportation, Inventory, and Underutilized Human Talent.

There are multiple Lean tools that may be applied to Lean Maintenance, for instance 5S, Kaizen, Poka-Yoke, Kanban, VSM etc. Among the mentioned Lean tools, Kanban shows great promise to efficiently improve maintenance. Considering maintenance business process and its activities, there is a binding link of every activity in the form of work order. Work order represents individual service that is initiated with issuance of a physical (or digital) work order in a numerical sequence using a work order system. Kanban applied to a work order system results in the improvement of the backbone of maintenance process.

Kanban – improving the workflow

Kanban is a visual method for controlling production as a part of JIT (Just in Time) and Lean manufacturing. Kanban introduces the pull method which ensures that it controls what is produced, in what quantity, and when to produce it. This ensures that the production is per the client’s desire and not more. Kanban is based on a series of rules that including [2]:

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