Total Productive Maintenance: Why You Need TPM

TPM gauges

Companies that become reliable leaders in their industries define processes that improve the quality of products, reduce the costs of production and increase productivity. Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a process to decrease lost production time, reduce defects and minimize material waste build-up. Ask yourself:

  • Do you experience machine breakdowns on a regular basis?
  • Have your machines or equipment failed to produce with consistency?
  • Must you remake items often because they fail quality inspections?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you could benefit from implementing an efficient TPM process.

An Introduction to Total Productive Maintenance


The origins of Total Productive Maintenance go back over 70+ years. It is often considered as an innovative Japanese concept. The overall goal of a TPM program is to improve the integrity of production and the quality of products through regular equipment maintenance. Simply put, TPM is preventative medicine for your machines and equipment. TPM helps your business increase production processes.

Therefore, preventative maintenance is a strategy that focuses on routinely checking machinery and equipment before they break down or cause expensive, unnecessary issues. Oftentimes machine or equipment maintenance is considered the less desirable and difficult lean manufacturing tool; however, it is worth the time and investment in the long run.

In order to implement a successful TPM process, your workplace needs to be organized and clean. Could we be suggesting a 5S workplace? Of course! Because the goal of 5S is to create a work environment that is clean and well-organized. A successful 5S process is an important pre-requisite to have before diving into TPM.

How Does Total Productive Maintenance Work?

With TPM implemented in your workplace, running equipment and machines until they break down is part of the past. Preventative maintenance allows your organization to focus more on production time, instead of wasting time on emergency and unscheduled repairs.

In order to improve the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and eliminate production waste, create small multidisciplinary teams to measure processes. OEE is part of the improvement step of process worth management and takes into account all losses including availability, performance, and quality. Tracking and collecting the OEE data is an integral component of the TPM process. Each collection aims to stop all defects, breakdowns, and stops.

3 Questions that Measure Overall Equipment Effectiveness:

  1. Availability – What is the percentage of time that a piece of equipment or a particular process is available for production, without downtime from breakdowns?
  2. Performance – How well is the production process performing? Has the speed or efficiency of the equipment changed?
  3. Quality – How many products were of good quality? Has the defect-rate of produce goods increased or decreased?

The 8 Pillars of Total Productive Maintenance

  1. Autonomous Maintenance: Place the responsibility for maintenance, cleaning, and inspection on the operators of machinery and equipment.
  2. Development Methods: Get team leaders and managers together to collect information from operators to predict or prioritize preventative maintenance.
  3. Quality Maintenance: Operators and team leaders apply root cause analysis to prevent recurring defects in machines and products.
  4. Process Worth Management: Implement small groups of employees to proactively work together to find any needed improvements in equipment.
  5. Improvement Stages of New Equipment: Use TPM data (maintenance reports and equipment lifecycles) for the enhancement and redesign of new equipment.
  6. Education & Training: Train operators, managers, and maintenance personnel to recognize proactive and preventative resolutions.
  7. Safe and Healthy Workplace: Eliminate unsafe risks and focus on an accident-free workplace.
  8. Administrative Work: Remove unwanted waste beyond the plant floor by making improvements with processes throughout the workplace.

“S.M.A.R.T.” Goals Achievable with TPM

Although this acronym often refers to attributes of a goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely), in the TPM mindset, they stand for the goals you can achieve through a Total Productive Maintenance initiative:

  • Save money when equipment and products meet company standards.
  • Manage a clean and organized workplace.
  • Avoid product, material, and time waste in a rapidly changing economic environment.
  • Reduce accidents and repairs.
  • Develop Teamwork and confidence among your employees through TPM processes.

In conclusion, Total Productive Maintenance focuses on cultivating the overall success of your facility. It requires the total participation of your workplace. Strive to get your entire company on board and start recognizing problems, finding solutions, and preventing breakdowns of equipment or machinery.

Total Productive Maintenance Resources: