An investigation into the applicability of lean thinking in an operational maintenance environment

Tendayi, Tinashe George
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Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: It has been postulated that lean thinking principles can be successfully applied to any industry. Following on that postulation, there have been great advances in the area of lean thinking outside the “traditional” domain of manufacturing. One such advancement has been in the area of maintenance operations where lean thinking has been used through the concept of lean maintenance. However, a problem lies in the fact that the work that has been done so far has been largely limited to the manufacturing environment where lean maintenance is practised as a prerequisite for lean manufacturing. Little evidence exists of the use of frameworks or models that can test, let alone apply, lean thinking in operational maintenance environments outside of the manufacturing context. The main objective of this research was to come up with a framework, based on lean thinking tools and relevant performance measures, which will prove the applicability or otherwise, of lean thinking in an operational maintenance environment outside the traditional domain of manufacturing. A case study of the rolling stock section of the Salt River depot of PRASA, Metrorail, which is a typical non-traditional domain for lean thinking, was used to build and verify the framework. The Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) together with the Quality Function Deployment (QFD) process, is used in building and quantifying the judgements made in developing elements of the framework. The Value Stream Management process is used to predict the possible outcomes of using the proposed framework in the case study. The study was based on the hypothesis that lean thinking can also be applicable to non-manufacturing oriented maintenance organisations. The ensuing framework is used to make the argument for the use of the lean thinking approach in non-manufacturing oriented maintenance environments and hence expand the body of knowledge in this subject area. It also provides a roadmap for PRASA, Metrorail and other similar maintenance organisations in the rail industry to streamline and improve current operations through value addition and waste elimination efforts.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar word bespiegel dat die beginsels van besparende denke (“lean thinking”) suksesvol toegepas kan word op enige industrie. As gevolg van hierdie hipotese is daar groot vooruitgang op die gebied van besparende denke buite die “tradisionele” gebied van vervaardiging. Een sodanige vooruitgang is op die gebied van die verrigting van instandhouding waar besparende denke bekend is as die konsep van “lean maintenance”. Die problem is dat die vooruitgang tot dusver beperk is tot die vervaardigingsomgewing waar besparende instandhouding beskou word as ‟n vereisde vir besparende vervaardiging. Daar word min gebruik gemaak van raamwerke of modelle om besparende denke te toets of om dit toe te pas in instandhoudingsomgewings buite die vervaardigingskonteks. Die hoofdoelwit van hierdie navorsing is om te vore te kom wet ‟n raamwerk wat gegrond is op besparende denke en relevante prestasie maatstawwe, en wat die toepaslikheid van besparende denke , al dan nie, op die verrigting van instandhouding buite die tradisionele gebied van vervaardiging sal bewys. ‟n Gevalle studie van die Soutrivier Depot van PRASA Metrorail, wat tipies is van ‟n nie-tradisionele gebied vir besparende denke, is gebruik vir die bou en stawing van die raamwerk. Die analitiese hiëragiese proses (AHP) tesame met die kwaliteits funksionele ontplooiing (QFD) proses word gebruik in die kies van elemente vir die raamwerk. Die waarde stroom bestuursproses word gebruik om die moontlik uitkomste van die gebruik van die voorgestelde raamwerk, te voorspel. Die studie is gegrond op die hipotese dat besparende denke ook toegepas kan word op nie-vervaarding-georienteerde instandhoudingsorganisasies. Die raamwerk word gebruik om te bewys dat die besparende denke benadering gebruik kan word in nie-vervaardiging–georienteerde instandhoudingsomgewings en dus kennis hieroor uit te brei. Die raamwerk kan ook gebruik word as ‟n padkaart deur Metrorail en ander soortgelyke instandhoudingsorganisasies in die spoorweg industrie, om hulle huidige werksverrigting deur waarde toevoeging te verbeter en om verkwisting te voorkom.
Thesis (MScEng)-- Stellenbosch University, 2013.
Lean thinking, Maintenance management, AHP, Quality function deployment, Value stream management, Dissertations -- Industrial engineering, Waste minimization, Organizational effectiveness