Maintenance Steps Into Leading Role In Rockwell Automatic's Power Lean

Editor's Note: On May 17-19 IndustryWeek held its Best Plants Conference in Nashville recognizing the 10 IW Best Plants of 2004. This article is based on a presentation given at the conference. You might also be interested in eProcurement: GlaxoSmithKline's Secret To Managing The Supply Chain and Quality Is What The Customer Says Is Quality.

Larry Skyes, lean product manager, Greenville, SC, Rockwell Automation, feels that the importance of maintenance in creating an efficient plant had been overlooked until "Power Lean" was created. This program, trademarked by Rockwell Automation, has three equally important component parts; lean enterprise, six sigma, and maintenance excellence.

Rockwell applies all of the tools of lean and six sigma to the maintenance segment including the use of kaizen events. In a maintenance kaizen event, the objectives are:

  • Document current state
  • Clean to inspect
  • Repair minor Discrepancies
  • Install visual systems
  • Updated operator preventative maintenance schedule
  • Identify major breakdown causes
  • Create critical parts list

To achieve these objective two employees were given the full-time job of achieving quality in the maintenance sector. "Once we got away from our style of "fire-fighting" we had more time to provide preventative maintenance. We saw measurable benefits from this model of operation," explains Skyes.

The Power Lean program, both a philosophy and strategy, as well as a set of tactical tools enabling continuous improvement, is applied across the company in all functions. It has proven so successful that Rockwell has sold it to other companies.

For information on the Power Lean program visit:

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