Maintenance Strategy

How TPM boosts productivity in manufacturing

Adopt total productive maintenance to improve manufacturing productivity

By Jonathan Wilkins November 17, 2020
Figure 1: Periodic maintenance encompasses tasks performed regularly to keep machines in optimum condition. Courtesy: EU Automation

The origin of total productive maintenance (TPM) is not known for sure. It’s believed to have stemmed from the Japanese automotive parts manufacturer, Nippondenso. Others suggest the concept was first coined in the U.S. Despite the uncertainty of its roots, TPM has improved manufacturing processes across the world.

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 organization. Typically, satisfied staff are more proactive and produce higher quality work.

Features of TPM

The concept of TPM is built on the 5S foundation: sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain. 5S streamlines operations and makes problems visible through meticulous organization and cleanliness of the workplace.

Preventive maintenance also is crucial to the smooth operation of TPM and can be split into periodic and predictive maintenance. Periodic maintenance encompasses tasks performed regularly to keep machines in optimum condition (see Figure 1). Training machine operators to conduct preventive maintenance eliminates the need for a specialized 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 organization

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 program and of the steps the organization will take going forward.

Departmental committees should be established so that every feature of the TPM program is accounted for. For example, one committee could be responsible for preventive maintenance, whereas another would implement and sustain the 5S principle.

Every organization 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 also should 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 toward achieving the targets. It’s advisable to regularly analyze the success of each committee and of the entire TPM program.

Regardless of where the idea of TPM originated, 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.


Jonathan Wilkins
Author Bio: Jonathan Wilkins is marketing director at EU Automation.