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.
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.
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.