The Continuous Improvement Blog

Put a stop to downtime with Total Productive Maintenance

Written by Colin McArdle on 25 Oct 2017

TOTAL_PRODUCTIVE_MAINTENANCE.jpgEquipment problems can impact significantly on your ability to do business. Breakdowns result in downtime, slow running equipment means tasks take longer than they should, and faulty equipment leads to production errors. And let's not forget the potential impact on safety. 

There's no doubt that maintaining the equipment used across your business is a priority.

With Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), you can put a stop to downtime.

In this blog post, we explain how.

What is Total Productive Maintenance?

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a continuous improvement programme focused on maximising the operational efficiency of equipment.

In doing so, a business can increase productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction.

The objectives of TPM are to ensure:

  • No breakdowns
  • No delays due to slow running equipment
  • No defects
  • No accidents

With TPM, emphasis is on empowering all workers to play an active role in maintenance. Operators use the equipment on a daily basis, so they are in a good position to prevent issues, and taking ownership gives them an opportunity to learn more about the equipment and best practice.

First developed in the 1960s, TPM describes the alignment between production and maintenance, for continuous improvement of product quality, operational efficiency, capacity assurance and safety.

It combines the 5s methodology with eight supporting activities (often referred to as pillars). We talked about 5s in a recent post, but as a reminder, it focuses on creating a well-organised and clean working environment. And involves the implementation of five steps:

  • Sort (eliminate what is not needed)
  • Store (arrange items so they are ready to use)
  • Shine (keep the workplace clean and tidy)
  • Standardise (implement standard ways of working)
  • Sustain (keep to the rules and continue to improve every day)

The 8 pillars of TPM

The eight supporting activities, or ‘pillars’ are mostly focused on proactive and preventative techniques for maintaining equipment.

Focused Improvement 

Small groups of employees work together to proactively make regular, incremental improvements in equipment operation, enabling problems to be identified early on.

Autonomous Maintenance

Operators are given responsibility for routine maintenance tasks of the equipment they use, such as cleaning. The operators know their equipment best, and it frees maintenance teams up for other priorities.

Preventative Maintenance 

Maintenance tasks relate to periodic and predictive methods. Periodic maintenance is time-bound, such as inspection or service every 12 months. Predictive maintenance is inspection based upon current equipment condition, forecasting about equipment future life and replacing or repairing as per requirement. It is scheduled for times when equipment is not in use to reduce downtime.

Quality Management 

Defects are eliminated by removing the root cause, resulting in greater profitability.

Early Equipment Management 

Knowledge gained through previous TPM activities is used to improve the design of new equipment, resulting in increased reliability and performance.

Administrative TPM 

Applying TPM techniques to administrative functions to support wider productivity.

Training and Education 

Bridging the skills and knowledge gap by training operators, maintenance teams and managers on TPM practices.

Safety, Health, Environment 

Achieving an accident-free workplace by eliminating risks to health, safety and the environment as a result of equipment failure, change over and production activities.

How is TPM implemented?

The 5s program is the foundation of TPM, so must be in place before any attempts are made to employ the eight pillars.

Once a high degree of efficiency is established using the 5s program, TPM can be implemented by following these steps:

  • Identify a starting point
  • Evaluate and gather baseline data in the starting area
  • Educate and train the workforce on TPM
  • Implement TPM in the starting area
  • Roll out TPM to other parts of the business until it is implemented company-wide

By piloting TPM in one area of the business, any issues can be identified and eliminated before implementing it across the whole business.

An important part of implementing TPM is Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). This is a supportive metric that measures how much planned productive time is truly productive.

It consists of three components that tie in well with TPM objectives:

  • Availability - ensures there are no breakdowns or delays beyond already planned downtime
  • Performance - exposes any loss to speed that may arise during the running of a production process
  • Quality - concerned with the defect-rate and ability of a process to produce high quality products the first time round, every time

How can TPM help my business?

Benefits of TPM can be seen at a production, maintenance, and individual employee level.

At a production level, it means improved efficiency, and greater reliability and quality of products. As well as lower operating costs. It’s about streamlining production to improve profitability.

For the maintenance team, it frees up their time to focus on other priorities, and in doing so improves morale.

And for the individual employee, it means a safer working environment, more control over equipment, fewer hassles, and an opportunity to develop new skills.

What are the challenges?

The biggest challenge will be engaging your workforce, as it’s your workers that will be the key to success. It will be a change for them, but if communicated correctly, it will be seen as a positive one. You’ll need to communicate your vision for the new and improved working environment, and clearly outline how workers can benefit. You’ll need to invest in education and training, and reward their achievements.

By engaging your workforce, you can also combat one of the most common challenges of implementing any new initiative: sustaining it.

TPM is a proven way of developing employee involvement in equipment maintenance to maximise production flow, meet customer requirements and increase profitability. But it can be a long journey - it’s not a quick fix. This blog post gives you an overview of the stages involved, from 5s to implementation, and how to overcome challenges. If you want to find out more about the TPM initiative, set up a free consultation here.

TPM eBook

Topics: TPM, Total Productive Maintenance, Business Improvement

Colin McArdle

Written by Colin McArdle

Colin McArdle, the Founder and Managing Director of Kaizen Kulture is a Lean and Six Sigma Master Black Belt who has over 30 years industry experience. Kaizen Kulture's mission is to be true to the ethos of continuous improvement.