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Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)

Posted on January 18, 2012 in Articles

T is for Total Quality
Competition is stiff, and as manufacturing companies expand and diversify their operations, the need for overall quality in output and operations management becomes more evident. Quality for manufacturing companies may be defined as the combination of a well executed method to deliver results and a collective involvement of individuals/group geared towards the improvement of machine availability, performance and output. So the question now is how can quality and operational excellence be achieved in a very competitive playing field?

Quest for answers gave birth to what is now known as TOTAL PRODUCTIVE MAINTENANCE (TPM). Its pillar based approach does not only help organisations adhere to a “World-Class Operations Management” (WCOM) through efficient practices, but also help management realise total quality.

P is for Pillars of Growth and Productivity
TPM’s pillars may be categorised into two, the core and support pillars. Core pillars are comprised of the Focused Improvement (FI), Planned Maintenance (PM), Autonomous Maintenance (AM) and Early Equipment Management (EEM). In order to advance any process improvement projects through TPM, an organisation needs to run a diagnosis to know its current state. Such diagnosis shall provide management an idea on what they envision themselves to be and how to realise these goals. Such initiative rest upon the first pillar of TPM, FI; considered as the mother of all TPM pillars, FI acts as the main driving force from which the rest of the TPM pillars depend on. FI is also the first step for organisations to predict how much improvement (Overall Equipment Effectiveness [OEE]) must be met annually to support expanding market demand and production volume.

Prevention is better than cure, and as such, the Planned Maintenance (PM) pillar suggests that in order for an equipment to function efficiently, there should be a systematic way of inspecting and maintaining its functionality regardless of its current state. Through such scheduled approach to maintenance, output is not jeopardised and the functionality of the equipment is maximised. Because of this, the PM pillar is considered as the brain of TPM because of its technology oriented approach.

Overall production efficiency should not solely depend on how equipment can be maintained to meet demand. People’s ability to act and solve problems independently is also important for an effective TPM implementation. Such concept is the main premise of the Autonomous Maintenance (AM) pillar. Equipment effectiveness and efficiency does not end with machine maintenance, rather, it should be further reinforced by the people’s ability to manage a machine’s accelerated deterioration.

Completing the 4-core pillar is the Early Equipment Management (EEM). This pillar answers the question “What would be the most cost efficient way for me to get my new products into the market?”. Simply put, EEM provides a structured approach on how equipment may be designed in order to maximise its functionality and availability while managing equipment cost.

Having core pillars in an organisation may not be enough to sustain efficiency in production, which is why support pillars need to be in place in order to realise the goals set by the management. For TPM, these support pillars are the Quality Maintenance (QM), Education and Training, and Safety. Customer delight would always be the be-all-and-end-all of any organisation. As such, a systematic non-conformance to the standards that were set is a predicament that top management would like to avoid. This can be avoided through the QM pillar which strives for the production of quality output based on the set specifications.

The growing competency gap amongst baseline employees could also hamper output efficiency. Obsolete knowledge and skill could easily demoralise operators making them less effective. A constant upgrade of skills and knowledge can uplift disheartened and demoralised employees; this can be achieved through the Education and Training Pillar. Operators and other baseline employees can have a renewed motivation to work and perform all required function if they know that they have more worth. This pillar also acts as a wedge to ensure that there are no regressions amongst employees and gains are achieved.

A WCOM factory does not only take into account Zero defects and downtime, one of the major components of a WCOM is ZERO ACCIDENTS. Such goal can be attained through the Safety Pillar of TPM which ensures that there should be a balance between operation effectiveness/ efficiency and its potential impact to its employees, end-users and environment.

M is for Magnified Success
At the dawn of the new century, market demand had become more diverse. With this, organisations cope with the expanding demand through efficiency/ improvement measures and better investment both for their workers and machines. With the manufacturing industry heavily dependent on machines and technological innovation, errors and mistakes are never an option and quality should never be jeopardised. Empowerment of workers and better workload distribution also comes into play as organisations recognise the importance of their employees’ collective contribution in achieving business goals. TPM leaves us with the following questions to answer: does your current set-up depend heavily on technological innovation and machines? Do you experience poor machine availability? Are you not meeting targets after each shifts based on your theoretical machine rates? And do your people lack motivation to work, thus leading to a decline in your workforce productivity? If you answer “YES” to all of these questions, then TPM could just be the solution which could magnify your business success.

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