Here is an excerpt from an article written by Sebastian Heitz, Martin Maestu, Matías Marcote, and Joël Thibert for the McKinsey Quarterly, published by McKinsey & Company. They discuss why tomorrow’s maintenance function will combine the strengths of lean and agile organizations. To read the complete article, check out others, learn more about the firm, and sign up for email alerts, please click here.
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Agile’s potential in maintenance
The experience of one mining organization illustrates the potential of agile in maintenance, where inefficiencies remain despite the considerable successes companies have had in applying lean approaches.
Much of the difficulty results from the complexity of maintenance organizations, which typically coordinate an unusually wide range of tasks with varying frequencies, objectives, and work requirements. Moreover, the timing of maintenance interventions may be fixed—or may be variable based on data extracted from condition-monitoring systems and analytical tools. Amid these uncertainties, planners juggle regular preventative-maintenance activities, emergency repairs, and intermittent upgrades or overhauls. And, working closely with colleagues in manufacturing, quality, and procurement, reliability teams design and execute improvement activities.
Yet the hierarchical structure of maintenance organizations creates a strong tendency for different functional teams, crews, and trades to work mainly in isolation, with planning, execution, and reliability teams usually operating in silos. This tendency is reflected in the organizational-health scores of maintenance organizations, which average seven points lower than those of other operations within the same organization.
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Here is a direct link to the complete article.