Total Productive Maintenance: What is TPM? – Method and implementation approach

The cost of downtime is staggering. Consider these statistics:

  • Organisations lose up to 1% to 10% of their total production time due to scheduled and unscheduled downtime.
  • Equipment downtime causes an average manufacturer to lose 800 hours annually or 15 hours per week.
  • Industrial manufacturers lose up to $50 billion a year because of unscheduled downtime.

Downtime is costly, and disruptive and your business cannot afford it in a competitive world. One way to minimise it is to adopt a holistic approach to equipment maintenance that not only eliminates system breakdowns but also optimises product output and quality. 

This is where Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), a subset of Lean Manufacturing, steps in.

What does Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) mean?

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a comprehensive programme for maintaining and improving manufacturing machinery through proactive and preventive maintenance techniques. TPM aims to eliminate equipment breakdowns, defects, or any accidents that can cause downtime and impact production.

TPM improves the quality of production and operations by making maintenance a shared responsibility of maintenance teams, plant floor workers, and senior executives. In other words, it gets operators and executives proactively involved in maintaining their equipment rather than relying on maintenance teams to fix it after a breakdown.

This approach requires continuous employee training and seamless collaboration between maintenance and production teams. By implementing TPM, industries can eliminate -

  • equipment malfunction
  • product defects
  • resource waste
  • employee accidents
  • human errors

The primary goal of TPM is to ensure Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). OEE is a measure of the equipment’s efficiency and is calculated as a product of asset availability, performance, and quality. When OEE is 100%, it means that the equipment is functioning at optimal capacity.

TPM methodology – 5S and the 8 pillars of lean manufacturing

The TPM approach is based on ‘5S’, a foundation of five principles that form the basis of lean management. The 5S are as follows:

  • Sort – Sort essential tools, resources, and materials by their purpose and frequency of use. Eliminate broken, obsolete, and unnecessary equipment.
  • Set in order – Organise the useful resources and put them in their allotted places.
  • Shine – Clean the workspace and equipment regularly to promote efficiency and safety.
  • Standardise – Set standard procedures for the first three activities.
  • Sustain – Ensure smooth operations through the 5S system and sustain them for the long term.

These five elements support the eight pillars of TPM that assist in proactive and preventive facility maintenance.

  • Autonomous maintenance – Train operators to perform routine cleaning and maintenance on their assigned equipment.
  • Focused improvement – Form small teams to undertake focused improvement tasks and resolve issues through a cross-functional approach.
  • Planned maintenance – Schedule regular maintenance tasks based on the machine’s age, efficiency, and failure-rate data.
  • Early equipment management – Use the practical knowledge and experience of operators and maintenance personnel while designing new machinery so that it can meet the planned performance levels.
  • Quality maintenance – Use automated programs to monitor equipment performance. Undertake root cause analyses to identify and eliminate recurring issues. Design new equipment with built-in error detection and prevention tools.
  • Training and education – Hold continuous training programmes for employees at all levels – operators, maintenance staff, senior executives, and management – to educate them about TPM goals and ensure organisation-wide participation.
  • Safety, Health, Environment (SHE) – Always provide a safe working environment to eliminate accidents and enhance productivity.
  • TPM in administration – Ensure that TPM goals extend beyond production and address waste in all administrative functions, such as scheduling, procurement, and order processing.

TPM implementation

There are five key steps to successfully implementing a TPM programme in your organisation, as follows:

  1. Identify a pilot area

    Start with a small pilot area or a single piece of equipment as a tester. This will help you avoid overwhelm, gauge the benefits of TPM, and get buy-in. The pilot area could be any of these three:

    • The easiest to improve
    • The one with the maximum bottlenecks
    • The one with the most frequent breakdowns
  2. Bring equipment to its prime operating condition

    In this step, you restore the chosen machinery to its baseline state by applying the 5S principles:

    • Declutter the work area
    • Organise all your tools and resources 
    • Meticulously clean the machinery and workspace
    • Establish SOPs and checklists to ensure that all employees follow the first three activities
    • Document the changes and perform regular audits to maintain the continuity of this process

    Once you establish the 5S, enlist the help of maintenance teams in training machine operators to perform autonomous maintenance.

  3. Track OEE

    To track OEE, collect a few weeks’ OEE data, identify the drops in OEE percentage over time, and perform root cause analysis to establish the reasons. This will help you to identify problem areas and address issues before they escalate.

  4. Address losses

    The purpose of tracking OEE is to eliminate the six major losses to an organisation, including –

    • Unscheduled stops
    • Setup and adjustments
    • Small stops
    • Slow functioning
    • Production defects
    • Reduced output

    Your ‘focused improvement’ team can identify these losses and find solutions.

  5. Introduce proactive maintenance

    Identify the wear-prone, failure-prone, and stress-prone components of your equipment and train operators to run predictive and preventive maintenance on schedule. 

    Implementing TPM processes in your organisation can dramatically improve your productivity, work environment, and bottom line.

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    How can Infosys BPM help?

    Infosys BPM provides extensive manufacturing support services for organisations planning to implement TPM at the workplace. Our manufacturing and operations support offerings include tools and resources for equipment performance management, quality management, production planning, documentation support, and much more.

    Know more about manufacturing bpo services and how Infosys BPM services can help your organisation eliminate losses and boost productivity.

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