Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present a method for assisting micro and small companies of the industrial sector with the adoption of Lean practices. Design/methodology/approach – The paper outlines the method construction steps, which used a design science research approach. Findings – This research led to the structuring of a method for implementing Lean Manufacturing tools in micro and small companies of the industrial sector. The developed method contributed to the knowledge in Lean Manufacturing by systematizing its tools in a heuristic approach that can be applied to an operation using overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) as a guiding indicator. Practical implications – This method can be used to guide the implementation of Lean tools in SMEs industries. Originality/value – The originality of this paper lies in the adoption of an operation-focused approach only (rather than an approach that begins with the mapping of an entire process) and the use of OEE as the basis for prioritization of improvements to be performed and operational control.