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On a flight to the west coast from Philadelphia, I had the great opportunity to sit next to a Minister of a large church. We got to talking and I realized that he knew quite a bit about maintenance.

As a head of a church with a building and a school he had faced many maintenance problems over the years. He surprised me when he said that fundamental issues of maintenance and religion were related.

He said that when children are born, people pass away, or couples get married, there is no problem with getting people into church to pray. The problem he said is the decades between these events. It is hard to get people to come into the church when nothing of importance is going on. The time that is most important is the time spent building up the spiritual muscle to withstand whatever life has in store for you.

The Minster went on to say that when they had a leaking roof and minor floods after a string of spring storms, he had no problem getting money and congregational attention to fix the very visible roof failure, but he had no luck getting less money in the previous 2 years to fix the roof so it would not have leaked in the first place.

Many of our companies are just like that. They wait until after a crisis to consider maintenance seriously. One of the battles of the maintenance war is human nature. We out off paying for maintenance because we either don't believe there will be a problem or we don't want to think about the inevitable decline of the assets we are using. We might even consider this approach Lean.

It isn't in the long run.

Tip provided by Joel Levitt, Author Lean Maintenance

Organizations interested in Lean Maintenance can listen to "The Introduction to Lean Maintenance" by Joel Levitt, available for free at: http://www.maintrainer.com/Lean-Maintenance-Toolbox-audio.aspx

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