A Complete Guide to Total Productive Maintenance
The year is 1960 and the location is Japan — the Nippon Denso company (today’s Toyota Motors Company).
Mr. Seiichi Nakajima’s philosophy — eliminating breakdowns and defective products by identifying and addressing their cause rather than fixing equipment once it breaks — has turned maintenance thinking on its head.
This was the very start of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM).
Wondering how this concept works today, what are its principles and how to apply them to your business? Join us for an in-depth dive.
What is Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)?
Total productive maintenance (TPM) is a methodology designed to improve production systems by preventing problems. Its goal is to improve product quality, minimize delivery time, and reduce costs by eliminating:
- Equipment breakdowns
- Product defects
At its core, TPM is an operating philosophy that enlists all company employees in a proactive, multilayered approach to maintenance.
The TPM model
The TPM model starts with a set of company-wide principles called the 5-S Foundation.
That foundation supports the eight pillars of TPM — distinct techniques designed to assist and improve equipment reliability.
What is the 5-S methodology?
The 5-S foundation creates a high-quality work environment that enhances worker effectiveness, efficiency, and mental well-being. It reduces waste and optimizes worker and equipment productivity.
The method’s name refers to five Japanese concepts for organizing space.
Seiri means to organize by checking every item in a particular area to decide whether or not its presence adds value. If it doesn’t, it should be removed immediately.
When you can’t immediately remove the item, place it in a quarantine area or attach a red tag to signify the need for its subsequent removal. Red-tagged items are returned to their correct location, recycled, or disposed of. The working area must be clear of all materials except those essential for production.
Set in order (Seiton)
Seiton translates to orderliness. The aim is to make things easy to find, use, and replace by giving it a specific home. Orderliness includes placing frequently used items together in groups, close to the workforce. Items used less often are stored centrally.
Once set in order, a 5-S diagram shows the location of materials, tools, and objects. The diagram is used as a reference document for staff, assists with training new hires, and is issued a revision status to ensure it is kept up to date.
Seiso refers to ongoing cleanliness. The expectation is that workers will clean their workspace at least once each day, with a thorough cleaning carried out weekly. Seiso is always done by those using the area.
Workers gain ownership by taking responsibility for their equipment and workspace with the added benefit of noticing any problems, hazards, or missing equipment. These issues are then fed into the maintenance system for early rectification, before they impact production.
Seiketsu refers to standardizing the first three practices of 5-S — making sort, set in order, and shine standard procedures, and using schedules to mandate frequency and responsibilities.
The procedures use photos and visual management techniques to assist workers in maintaining the required standards. By standardizing all 5 practices, they become integrated into the organization’s daily routine and form part of the quality management system, subject to regular audits.
Shitsuke refers to discipline and directly translates to “do without being told”, creating an ongoing commitment to the previous four concepts with a culture of continuous improvement.
Workers and management continue to support each other in striving for improvement through regular audits and training.
The 8 pillars of TPM
A business can begin to build the core of TPM once it has established the 5-S foundation. The eight pillars of TPM refer to tactical, targeted initiatives that eliminate waste and improve equipment reliability.
1. Autonomous maintenance
With autonomous maintenance, machine operators take on responsibility for their equipment by doing simple tasks like cleaning, lubrication, visual inspection, and minor maintenance. Using the operator for these duties makes them more skilled and informed about their equipment.
There are also downstream effects for production:
- Production is improved as problems are identified and fixed early on, before they become major maintenance issues or cause breakdowns.
- Machinery operates at an optimal level due to regular cleaning and maintenance.
- Maintenance personnel are able to focus on higher-level maintenance tasks, further improving equipment reliability and reducing downtime.
- Capital investment costs decline as equipment life extends.
2. Focused improvement
This pillar identifies waste or system losses and eliminates them using a cross-functional team-based approach. A trained team will:
- Select a piece of equipment or a functional problem
- Focus on benchmarking current performance
- Identify all problems and agree on improvement goals
- Brainstorm solutions and implement them using a systematic process similar to the plan-do-check-act cycle
- Compare the final performance to the initial benchmark
The benefits of focused improvement:
- Rapid production improvements from using a consistent and repeatable approach
- A broad base of employees trained in the technique
- More efficient processes, products, and systems
- Improved safety performance
3. Planned maintenance
Just like any other effective maintenance strategy, TPM relies on proactive, scheduled maintenance tasks. Maintenance tasks are scheduled at frequencies defined by the equipment’s condition, operating performance, or previous in-service experience. The schedule is based on actual data to ensure equipment is neither over nor under-maintained.
Planned maintenance provides many benefits:
- It reduces unplanned stoppages due to breakdowns, increasing production capacity
- Production can be planned around maintenance in order to minimize their impact on output
- Maintenance costs are reduced since there is no costly emergency maintenance
- Machinery life is extended, reducing the need for capital investments
- Product quality improves and rework rates decline
- Planning for necessary maintenance improves your ability to manage inventory
4. Early equipment maintenance
Early equipment maintenance is when a business engages with suppliers or equipment designers before receiving an asset to plan for its implementation. By considering the company’s operating requirements, experience, and other details, the company can modify or improve the new equipment to ensure its seamless integration into the production environment.
This pillar stops many integration issues that can prevent new equipment from becoming economically viable as quickly as possible.
These issues can include:
- Primary failures of components
- The need to source and purchase new tooling and spares
- Poor maintainability or operability
Benefits of early equipment maintenance include:
- Optimized equipment design
- Improved or additional safety features
- Faster installation
- Efficient equipment commissioning
- Improved or modified operability by standardizing or adding controls for comfortable and efficient operator use
- Improved access for ease of lubrication
- Modifications to assist with easy cleaning and visual inspection
5. Quality maintenance
This pillar uses a scientific approach to eliminate equipment irregularities and ensure defect-free manufacturing. It also emphasizes proactive management rather than reactive responses once a defect occurs, and it focuses on finding and rectifying the root cause of an issue rather than treating its symptoms.
Fixing a potential defect before it develops into a fault prevents downstream impacts that might require products to be scrapped or reworked.
The benefits of quality maintenance are:
- Permanent solutions to quality issues through systematic and targeted improvement
- Defect minimization or elimination
- Reduced costs through defect and waste prevention
6. Education and training
TPM is a people-centered approach, relying heavily on the knowledge and attitude of all company staff.
This pillar emphasizes the continual education and training of all employees to ensure their proper understanding and implementation of TPM. Therefore:
- Operators require training on their autonomous maintenance roles
- Maintenance staff must upskill in preventative maintenance and reliability techniques
- Managers must understand their role in quality-improvement
7. TPM in the office
The waste reduction principles on the manufacturing floor also apply to offices and boardrooms. This ensures that all departments properly support the organization’s reason for existence, which is value-creation through defect-free production.
Requiring administration and management to practice principles breaks down silo mentalities and develops interdepartmental cooperation. It also ensures a larger pool of expertise for cross-functional teams needed to implement other pillars, such as focused improvement or quality maintenance.
8. Health, safety, and the environment
While efficient and effective production is important, this must not be achieved at the expense of employee safety or environmental sustainability.
Remember, total productive maintenance aims to “eliminate all equipment breakdowns, product defects, and accidents.” By definition, health, safety, and the environment are integral to the philosophy.
Together, the 8 pillars ensure the work of all employees and cross-functional teams constantly strive to improve workers’ safety, while making them — and the equipment — more productive.
Steps for implementing a TPM program
There are ten steps to follow when implementing TPM in the workplace:
- Steps 1-5 are the preparatory stage, which, although mostly administrative, has a vital role in setting the implementation up for success.
- Steps 6-9 are the implementation stage, where the eight pillars of total productive maintenance are put in place.
- Step 10 is where the changes become institutionalized, and you implement other pillars as required.
1. Make a company-wide announcement
Successful TPM implementation requires complete management commitment and support. Before announcing the company’s intent to implement TPM, all managers must undergo training to understand the concept and their role in championing the initiative.
The announcement to the company should come from the most senior manager with extensive publication on noticeboards, intranets, company magazines, and other internal communication channels.
2. Roll out employee training programs
Training for TPM follows a structured model, with awareness training and education for all. However, some employees or departments will require more intensive education specific to their roles.
Maintenance, engineering, purchasing, and production are the departments whose staff will need to have an in-depth understanding of the process.
3. Set up the operating structure
TPM requires the appointment of committees responsible for management and oversight of day-to-day adherence to the eight TPM pillars.
Each committee will require members nominated by management who will have specific responsibility for the program’s smooth and consistent operation.
4. Establish TPM policies and goals
The organization’s quality system must be documented in policies, procedures, and processes to enable a standardized and auditable approach to TPM practices.
Policies must clearly state the goals expected from TPM with measurable KPIs and other relevant metrics.
5. Create the master deployment plan
TPM implementation will begin small, extending gradually throughout the organization.
To maintain focus and momentum, a project plan must outline all tasks needed for implementing TPM in each area, their deadline, and accountable team members.
6. Begin implementing TPM
In the master deployment plan, you should nominate a defined area or process to act as a pilot for the rollout.
Choose the pilot carefully. The goal is to get rapid results by solving an issue that has been disrupting production. You will gain greater acceptance for the TPM program from employees by achieving a quick and visible win that solves a known pain point.
7. Improve equipment effectiveness
Put the necessary pieces into place for pillar one — autonomous maintenance.
Consider the following components of an example autonomous maintenance program:
- Standardize the methods used to clean, inspect, and lubricate equipment with help from the maintenance department
- Train operators on inspections: have maintenance professionals point out critical areas to inspect and important signs to look for
- Train operators on routine maintenance: identify where to locate lubrication points and demonstrate the correct tools and methodology to use for optimal lubrication
- Create checklists for operator use
- Label setup and adjustment points with the correct settings
- Carry out high-frequency, regular audits initially, relaxing the frequency as behaviors become ingrained
By ensuring that all the pieces are ready and staff are trained with the resources they need, you are ready to move on.
8. Benchmark OEE and address major downtime
Productivity measures like Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) are integral to your TPM implementation. And in order for productivity measures like OEE to have meaning, you must identify a baseline score that subsequent measurements are compared to.
Obtaining a benchmark or baseline OEE score allows you to achieve two goals that will help your TPM program be a success:
- You obtain an initial productivity score at the time of TPM implementation, allowing you to see how the pillars and practices you are implementing impact production over time.
- You are able to identify any major causes of downtime that can be addressed out of the gates.
Once you have this initial evaluation of productivity for your pilot, you have the information you need to develop an efficient maintenance program for the asset or process involved in your pilot area.
9. Develop a planned maintenance program
This step requires a thorough analysis of your equipment or process’s history. The goal is to identify inspection, repair, and replacement tasks that maintenance must perform to fix or prevent wear or deterioration before it impacts production.
Make sure that the maintenance programs you create for each area of your organization are well documented with the following details:
- Step-by-step instructions for each task including visual aids and checklists wherever possible
- Reasons why each task is included in the plan
- Frequency for completing each task
- Spare parts and consumables that must be on hand in order for each task to be completed safely and effectively.
10. Work on continuous improvement
This step has three components:
- Standardizing and institutionalizing the TPM changes in accordance with pillar six through education, training, leadership, and regular audits.
- Commitment to the continuous improvement of existing systems in accordance with pillar two through a continuous cycle of benchmarking, problem identification, analysis, solution, implementation, and measurement.
- Implementation of other pillars wherever relevant to ensure the health, safety, environment, and quality maintenance pillars are upheld.
The benefits of implementing Total Productive Maintenance
A well-designed and implemented TPM program improves equipment effectiveness and efficiency. It also has a measurable positive impact on other areas of a manufacturing business.
Direct benefits of TPM:
- Reduced manufacturing costs through the elimination of waste, rework, and rejections
- Improved equipment availability and performance
- Improved productivity through reduced idle time and small stoppages
- Improved product quality
- Fewer injuries and accidents, and greater employee participation
- Increased customer focus and satisfaction
Indirect benefits of TPM:
- Enhanced workplace culture
- Improved workplace conditions
- Greater teamwork
- Improved operator machine ownership
- Greater material and resource availability
Examples of successful TPM implementations
Following are the results experienced by two businesses after implementing TPM.
Tata Steel Tubes (TST)
TST began implementing TPM in 2001. The goal of TPM implementation was to:
- Maximize overall equipment effectiveness
- Achieve 100 percent delivery compliance
- Reduce cycle time in all processes
- Attain industry leadership on cost and quality
Within five years, the results revealed the following improvements:
- 78% improvement in productivity (tonnes/month)
- 92% improvement in productivity (tonnes/man/year)
- 59% improvement in overall equipment effectiveness
- 63% reduction in equipment breakdowns and failures
- 85% reduction in customer complaints
- 22% improvement in delivery compliance
- 140% increase in operating proﬁts
- 80-90% reduction in rejections
- zero major accidents
- 80% reduction in minor accidents
- 10% improvement in plant yield
Asella Malt, in Ethiopia, conducted a six-month pilot project at the start of 2011 to assess the value of TPM. Because the boiler plant is a major bottleneck in malt manufacturing, the study focused on this equipment and benchmarked productivity and OEE at the beginning.
By June 2011, the OEE had improved from 70.35% to 80.23%, with a reduction in total losses from 64.48 hours in January to 23.55 hours in June — a 63.5% reduction.
Managing TPM with a CMMS
A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is an essential tool in the implementation and management of steps four through ten of the TPM process, giving you reliable, clean data to maximize the program’s effectiveness.
From benchmarking current performance to analyzing OEE and implementing a planned maintenance program, it is necessary to have access to asset locations, in-service maintenance histories, and failure rates. A CMMS provides your team access to all that and more.
When used with an analytics engine, a CMMS will also alert operators when an asset reaches preset thresholds, allowing for replacement or repair before a stoppage occurs.
Is Total Productive Maintenance right for you?
TPM is more than simply a maintenance strategy; it is a comprehensive operating strategy that demands a cultural shift to maximize production efficiency, quality, and effectiveness.
Through a team-based focus on continuous improvement, TPM maximizes equipment availability and reliability while creating a safer and happier working environment. It’s worth serious consideration by manufacturers seeking to boost their competitiveness.
If you want to find out more about how to implement a TPM with the help of a CMMS, start a free trial or reach out to our support team to learn more.
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