The origin of total productive maintenance (TPM) is not known for sure. It’s believed by many to have stemmed from the Japanese automotive parts manufacturer, Nippondenso. Others suggest the concept was first coined in the US. Despite the uncertainty of its roots, TPM has gone on to improve manufacturing processes across the world. Here, Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director at industrial obsolete automation equipment supplier EU Automation, explains how TPM is implemented in manufacturing plants.
Aims of TPM
The aim of TPM in manufacturing is to increase productivity without negative implications — particularly on plant equipment. To increase productivity without increasing overall expenditure, the cost of manufacture and the amount of waste generated must be reduced.
Another important focus is employee satisfaction, as TPM involves the input of every employee at every level of an organisation. Typically, satisfied staff are more proactive and produce higher quality work.
The concept of TPM is built on the 5S foundation: sort, set in order, shine, standardise and sustain. 5S streamlines operations and makes problems visible through meticulous organisation and cleanliness of the workplace.
Preventative maintenance is also crucial in the smooth operation of TPM and can be split into periodic and predictive maintenance. Periodic maintenance encompasses tasks that are performed on a regular basis to keep machines in the optimum condition. Predictive maintenance requires careful monitoring and an awareness of the lifespan of each machine part. This allows for parts to be replaced or serviced before defects result in machine breakdown.
Training machine operators to conduct preventative maintenance eliminates the need for a specialised team. Despite its benefits, it does require workers to be flexible with the machines they can operate and maintain.
TPM also involves quality maintenance. This means recurring sources of quality defects are identified and eliminated, resulting in optimum quality products.
Another feature of TPM is focused improvement, which requires employees to act proactively and collaboratively to achieve regular improvements in equipment operation.
Although the primary focus is on manufacturing equipment, for TPM to be effective the initiatives must extend to the office. If administration is efficient, efficient manufacturing will follow.
Introducing TPM into an organisation
Because TPM involves the input and cooperation of all employees, it’s essential to begin with training sessions. Everyone must have a strong understanding of the principles and aims of the programme and of the steps that the organisation will take going forward.
Departmental committees should be established so that every feature of the TPM programme is accounted for. For example, one committee could be responsible for preventative maintenance, whereas another will implement and sustain the 5S principle.
Every organisation needs a set of targets. Targets should relate to the overall plant efficiency (OPE) and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Additionally, there should be no customer complaints, staff injuries or machine breakdowns. There should also be a target regarding the success in delivering products as required by the customer.
The final step is to implement the planned activities and progress towards achieving the targets. It’s advisable to regularly analyse the success of each committee and of the entire TPM program.
Regardless of where the idea of TPM originated from, it’s now widely used across the globe. Manufacturing plant managers who don’t already must consider implementing the system to increase productivity and product quality.