Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a maintenance program, which involves a newly defined concept for maintaining plants and equipment. Its main focus is to keep all equipment in top condition to avoid breakdowns and delays in the manufacturing process TPM is a company-wide Team-Based Effort used to build quality into equipment and to improve Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). When implemented fully it is possible to achieve the 3 Z’s of TPM: Zero Breakdown, Zero Defects and Zero accidents.

The origin of TPM can be traced back to 1951 when preventive maintenance was introduced in Japan. Nippon Denso of the Toyota Group was the first company to introduce plant wide preventive maintenance in 1960. Preventive maintenance is the concept wherein, operators produced goods using machines and where the maintenance group was dedicated with the task of maintaining those machines. However, with the automation of Nippon-Denso, maintenance became problematic, as more maintenance personnel were required. So management decided that the operators would carry out the routine maintenance of equipment (this is Autonomous maintenance, one of the features of TPM). But the maintenance group took up only essential maintenance tasks.

Thus, Nippon Denso, who already followed preventive maintenance, also added Autonomous maintenance, done by production operators. The maintenance crew became involved in the equipment modification for improving reliability. The modifications were made or incorporated in new equipment. This led to maintenance prevention. As a result, preventive maintenance, along with Maintenance prevention and Maintainability Improvement gave birth to Productive maintenance. The aim of productive maintenance was to maximize plant and equipment effectiveness to achieve optimum life cycle cost of production equipment.

By then, Nippon Denso had introduced quality circles, involving the employees’ participation. In this manner, all employees took part in implementing Productive maintenance. Based on these developments, Nippon-Denso was awarded the distinguished plant prize for developing and implementing TPM, by the Japanese Institute of Plant Engineers (JIPE). Therefore, Nippon-Denso of the Toyota group became the first company to obtain the TPM certification.

There are 8 Pillars of TPM:

The foundation of TPM is 5S: Seiri (sort), Seiton (straighten), Seiso (shine), Seiketsu (standardize), Shitsuke (sustain), a workplace organization method used to build a strong cultural foundation, create stability and improve capability. Accordingly, TPM starts with 5S because problems cannot be clearly seen when the work place is unorganized. Cleaning and organizing the workplace helps the team to uncover problems. Making problems visible is the first step of improvement. 5S should be treated like a pillar of TPM.

  • Autonomous Maintenance (Jishu-Hozen). This pillar is geared towards developing operators to be able to take care of small maintenance tasks, thus freeing up the skilled maintenance people to spend time on more value added activity and technical repairs. The operators are responsible for upkeep of their equipment to prevent it from deteriorating.
  • ‘KAIZEN’ or Focused Improvement – “Kai” means change, and “Zen” means good (for the better). Basically, Kaizen is for small improvements, but carried out on a continual basis and involving all people in the organization. Kaizen is opposite to big spectacular innovations, it requires little or no investment. The principle behind this is that a very large number of small improvements are more effective in an organizational environment than a few improvements of large value. This pillar is aimed at reducing losses in the workplace that affect our efficiencies. By using a detailed and thorough procedure we eliminate losses in a systematic method using various Kaizen tools. These activities are not limited to production areas and can be implemented in administrative areas as well.
  • Planned Maintenance (Kobetsu-Hozen) – The goal of Planned Maintenance is to have trouble free machines and equipment producing defect free products for total customer satisfaction. With Planned Maintenance there is an evolution from a reactive to a proactive maintenance which utilizes trained maintenance staff to help train the operators to better maintain their equipment.
  • Early Management (Process & Equipment) – The Early Management Pillar focuses on shortening the time required for product and equipment development. This includes optimizing start-up, commissioning, and stabilization times with the optimal goal of a vertical start-up. Product Development, Engineering, Plant Leadership, Operators and Mechanics work together to ensure new equipment is easy to operate, clean, maintain & change-over, while having the lowest possible life cycle cost.
  • Quality Maintenance – Quality Maintenance is aimed towards customer delight through highest quality through defect free manufacturing. Focus is on eliminating non-conformances in a systematic manner, much like Focused Improvement. Transition is from reactive to proactive (Quality Control to Quality Assurance). QM activities are aimed to set equipment conditions that preclude quality defects, based on the basic concept of maintaining perfect equipment to maintain perfect quality of products. The conditions are checked and measured in time series to ensure that measure values are within standard values (to prevent defects). The transition of measured values is observed to predict possibilities of defects occurring and to take counter measures before they happen, such as Poka-Yoke (mistake proofing).
  • Training – Training is aimed to have multi-skilled revitalized employees whose morale is high and who are eager to come to work and perform all required functions effectively and independently. Education is given to operators to upgrade their skill. It is not sufficient to only “Know-How” but they must also learn “Know-Why”. Since often they do without knowing the root cause of the problem and why they are doing so, it become necessary to train them on knowing “Know-Why”. The employees should be trained to achieve the four phases of skill. The goal is to create a factory full of experts. The different phases of skills are,
    • Phase 1: Do not know
    • Phase 2: Know the theory but cannot do
    • Phase 3: Can do but cannot teach
    • Phase 4: Can do and also teach
  • TPM in the Office – TPM in the Office should begin after activating four other pillars of TPM (JH, KK, QM, PM). Office TPM must be followed to improve productivity, efficiency in the administrative functions and identify and eliminate losses. This includes analyzing processes and procedures towards increased office automation.
  • Safety, Health and Environment – Here the focus is to create a safe workplace and a surrounding area that is not damaged by our process or procedures. This pillar will play an active role in each of the other pillars on a regular basis. A committee is constituted for this pillar, which comprises both management and operators. Utmost importance to Safety is given in the plant to create awareness among employees’ various struggles using strategies such as safety slogans, quizzes, posters, etc. related to safety that can be organized at regular intervals.

In this highly competitive world, for some companies, TPM may be the only thing that stands between success and total failure. It has proven to be a program that works. It can be adapted to work, not only in industrial plants, but also in construction, building, maintenance, transportation, and in a variety of other industries. In order for TPM to be entirely successful, employees must become educated and convinced that TPM is not just another “program of the month” and that management is totally committed to the program and the extended time frame necessary for full implementation. If everyone involved in a TPM program does his or her part, an unusually high rate of return compared to resources invested can be expected.

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