What is Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)? (And Why It’s Important)

August 9, 2019 in Industry 4.0

What is Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)? (And Why It’s Important)

In the simplest of terms, the Total
Productive Maintenance definition is where the manufacturing process and
equipment maintenance are combined.

It’s a method of overall business process improvement that focuses on productivity improvement by way of maximizing equipment availability.

In a business where Total
Productive Maintenance is implemented, the entire team plays a role in maintenance.
Responsibilities are shared between maintenance experts and operators.

Operators will take ownership of their machines in the extent that they
take control of simple maintenance tasks and keep their machines are work areas

The role of maintenance staff is to establish procedures and ensure
operators are properly trained. The support offered by maintenance should
include a plan of action or concepts that will make productive and preventative
maintenance possible.

TPM works with an awareness of six types of specific losses that can
happen due to:

  • Total machine failure
  • Minor issues that may impact machine uptime
  • Adjustments that need to be performed
  • A reduction in operating speed
  • A reduction in the yield of the machine
  • Defective products produced by the machine

It’s necessary that each and every one of these losses are quantified and then acted on immediately, in order of priority.

Since priorities will differ from one organization to the next, that’s
something your team must decide upon.

In order to minimize maintenance times, a plan of action for each loss should be in place. Different techniques can be utilized, for example, having go-carts—as opposed to go-bags—ready in advance, especially for failures that might happen often or be common. The go-cart would have all the necessary tools and supplies already to address the issue, thereby shaving off equipment downtime.

Key takeaways:

  1. The Total Productive Maintenance definition is where the manufacturing process and equipment maintenance are combined
  2. Operators take ownership of their machines
  3. A plan of action for each loss is needed

History of Total Productive Maintenance

The TPM system was developed by Seiichi Nakajima of
Japan. Due to his work, he was honored with an award by the Emperor,
recognizing his “dedication to improving the manufacturing industry.”

Mr. Nakajima based the system on his
experience with maintenance best practices in Japan during the 1950s and 60s. He
came to understand that having a leadership mindset that engaged front line
teams in the general improvement processes was essential for effective

In 1971 the TPM process was put into practice
in the Japanese company Nippondenso, a Toyota parts manufacturer. Nippondenso
was the winner of the first PM Award, which is now called the TPM Award. This
is an internationally accepted TPM benchmark.

Key takeaways:

  1. The TPM system was developed by Seiichi Nakajima of Japan
  2. Having a leadership mindset that engaged front line teams in general improvement processes was essential for effective operation
  3. The TPM process was first put into practice in the Japanese company Nippondenso, a Toyota parts manufacturer

The Objective
of Total Productive Maintenance

TPM has a singular goal, that of achieving continuous improvement of the efficiency of machinery and equipment. This goal is reached when teams involved play an active role in maintaining and improving efficiencies through combined activities.

Total Productive Maintenance is a key
component of a quality management system which will only attain full efficacy
when there is support from all involved teams and team members.

With that support in place, accomplishing
goal of TPM
is achievable. To “Enhance the volume of the
production, employee morale, and job satisfaction.”

The overall objective of implementing TPM
is to increase the Overall Equipment
Effectiveness (OEE) of machinery and equipment.

With TPM implemented the immediate benefits are two-fold. The
causes of rapid deterioration are more apparent, and at the same time, an environment
is created that allows operators to take ownership.

Key takeaways:

  1. The goal of TPM is achieving
    continuous improvement
  2. Total Productive
    Maintenance is a key component of quality management systems
  3. Implementing TPM will
    increase Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

Total Productive Maintenance Tools

Many are probably thinking this all sounds
great and they would love to be able to implement TPM in their businesses, but how?
Are there any processes that could help?

Fortunately, there are several total
productive maintenance tools that have been designed to aid in making your road
to TPM an easier one to follow.

Some of these will be tangible tools, some
are simply effective techniques and even some software. All different ways to
help an organization achieve the tasks they’ve set out to achieve.

  • Inspection Cards. Colored cards are a great visual cue to keep inspection procedures up to date. Color-coded cards can help communicate the frequency of inspections, as well as indicate who is responsible and what type of maintenance is necessary.
  • Tags. Much like the above-mentioned cards, these are another visual tool that can be used to share important information with operators.
  • Setting Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) Goals. Since—as mentioned above—the overall objective of TPM is to increase OEE, have a specific, measurable goal in mind. You can determine a goal by tracking and compiling the results of your OEE by shift for a month. Once you have your best results multiply that result for each of the 3 OEE components, availability, performance, and quality, to calculate your best score. Your best score should be the goal you want to work toward.
  • Training Guides. Training is always an effective tool and the same is true for total productive maintenance training. Since TPM requires buy-in from the entire team, comprehensive training is an excellent way to achieve that.
  • TPM Forms. Standard TPM forms are a great tool for keeping all your information together.
  • Use a CMMS. Obviously, implementing a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) like MaintainX will go a long way toward helping you plan and schedule all of your maintenance activities and procedures.

Total Productive Maintenance: The Steps

1. Raise Awareness

All organizations want to run efficiently. They want to avoid losses of any type of effect that efficiency, including losses due to equipment failures, whether they are temporary or long-term.

Implementing TPM means that losses are no longer hidden and
consciousness—awareness—is elevated.

Assuming a business is running in a loss-free state where the
OEE of all equipment and machines is at 100%, every machine would be fully
operational at all times and producing perfect quality goods.

That’s where every business would like to get, but quite
likely they’re actually operating somewhere around less than 50% OEE.

Remember, the objective of TPM is to reach a set OEE goal.
Set a realistic goal and work toward it gradually.

2. Continuous Improvement

When tracking current best results to set a
goal, overdue maintenance is typically caught and carried out.

This part of the process is called the Total
Clean Out, where everything is tidied up on the work floor. Once this is
complete, the next step is the implementation of 5S.

  • 5S refers to the five Japanese words (Japanese:seiri, seiton, seison, seiketsu, shitsuke; English: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain) that represent specific guidelines used to manage and organize workspace to the point where it’s fully controlled and efficient. This is the state which makes quality production possible. The objective of S5 is for all workplaces to be organized and clean.

With Total Clean Out and 5S out of the way, it is time to implement
the first pillar of TPM: continuous improvement.

By now, small teams from a variety of disciplines have been
formed, and they are endeavoring to address anything that might be impacting their

The teams formed are carrying out something called SGA or
Small Group Activity. The typical SGA team will generally have both mechanics
and operators, not to mention quality inspectors and perhaps even logistic

When the group comes together, they develop a feeling of responsibility
toward whatever machine or production line that is under their purview.

3. Ownership

Once a team has reached a stage where they feel ownership or responsibility
for the performance of their machines and equipment, something of a cultural
shift occurs. Segregations of “I’m the operator, and you’re the repair technician”
disappear. Now in place is a unit that realizes they share a responsibility toward
the functioning of their equipment, regardless of their actual roles.

All have the goal of keeping everything running efficiently,
and the SGA team will deal with issues that arise in line with the Pareto Principle.

  • Otherwise known as the 80/20 rule, this is a concept that 80%
    of the effects will typically come from 20% of the causes. In terms of Total Productive
    Maintenance, this would mean that 80% of the losses are caused by only 20% of
    the machines.

Once the team has deduced what the 20% is, or where the root
causes lie, they will draft a proposal for resolution, typically including a
cost-benefit analysis.  Assuming a fix is
approved and implemented, the SGA team can check to see if OEE had improved.

4. OEE is Improved Step by Step

Once those initial issues that have been prioritized
are out of the way, the team continues to deal with each new or existing
problem. And each step moves toward improving OEE incrementally.

These steps continue in a cycle, but overall
this is just a single step toward TPM.

There are eight pillars in TPM, and this is
just the first.

The Eight Pillars  
1Continuous Improvement
2Autonomous Maintenance
3Planned (preventative) Maintenance
4Total Productive Maintenance Training
5Early Equipment Management
6Quality Maintenance
7Total Productive Maintenance in the Office
8Safety & Environment

Let’s address some of these pillars.

Pillar 2. With the second pillar and the introduction of
autonomous maintenance, it’s realized that the task of maintenance doesn’t rest
solely with technicians. Everyone, operators, techs, and anyone with expertise
play a part in upkeep.

Pillar 3. This involves the preparation of schedules, for both
preventative and predictive maintenance.

Pillar 4. Training is necessary so that all employees are made
familiar with the principles of Total Productive Maintenance and continuous improvement
and how it relates to their jobs specifically.

Pillar 5. Early management addresses the development of new
processes or new machines. When purchasing new machines part of the selection
process should be the extent of methods of maintenance that will have to be
carried out.

The Benefits of Total Productive Maintenance

There’s no question that there are a number of benefits to be had from implementing TPM, but let’s address just a few of them.

Empowering employees is always a good idea,
but allowing them to take responsibility for the maintenance of their own machines
and productivity means a manufacturer can realize better, Safety, Efficiency,
Moral, and Satisfaction.

Safety. We
mentioned the 5S approach above. If and when all five are implemented—Sort, Set in
Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain—there is no doubt that the work environment
will be well organized, clean and safe to work in. 

Thanks to TPM’s ongoing focus on preventative and proactive maintenance
workplace disorder is a thing of the past while the lifespan of equipment
increases. A workplace that is productive and efficient is often a safer workplace.

Efficiency. A key component of implementing
TPM is measuring Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).
A byproduct of achieving a high OEE is efficiency, as a company is working toward
production lines that aren’t hampered by mechanical defects, breakdowns or accidents.

Moral. For
TPM to work it’s necessary for it to be a complete team effort. There must be
buy-in from everyone. And once everyone sees the benefits and improvements,
those that may have been slow to adopt it, or even resisted it, will likely
stop resisting. Employees are now empowered to care for their own equipment and
take ownership of its upkeep. This can engender a feeling of pride employees
may not have felt before.

Satisfaction. While all the above-mentioned benefits are important, the best
benefit of a total productive maintenance plan would have to be customer satisfaction.

One of the pillars of TPM is Quality
Maintenance. When improvements are made to the production process results are
often seen not only in an increase of production itself but better quality.
Better quality means customer satisfaction.

Again, a few of the benefits include:

  • Safety
  • Efficiency
  • Moral
  • Satisfaction

Remember the Total Productive Maintenance Definition?

It’s where the manufacturing process and
equipment maintenance are combined.

It may seem like a complicated process but isn’t necessarily so in practice. And the benefits far outweigh any initial complications.

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