Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is best described as a maintenance strategy for achieving near-perfect production. That means no breakdowns, no item defects, no small unplanned stops, no slowdowns, and no safety incidents.

A Total Productive Maintenance program applies to both physical assets and labor toward improving productivity across the board by raising the effectiveness of employees, equipment, and supporting mechanisms. The responsibility is then distributed to plant workers and operators alike, as they are tasked with minimizing defects, boosting uptime, and evaluating asset lifecycles. 

What are the 8 Pillars of Total Productive Maintenance?

TPM is a bottom-up approach, starting with the 5S foundation that encapsulates five ideals:

  • Sort determines what is needed and eliminates what is not needed.
  • Straighten organizes after sorting.
  • Shine cleans and inspects workspaces.
  • Standardize documents 5S processes.
  • Sustain is the consistent application of the previous steps.

The eight pillars of TPM are typically cited as described below:

1. Autonomous Maintenance

Operators are given training on routine procedures from inspection to lubricating machines, ensuring they have full knowledge of the technical skills needed to work with equipment and troubleshoot emerging issues. 

2. Quality Maintenance 

A root cause analysis is conducted for QA purposes to detect what causes quality defects. Design errors are caught at this stage, and measures are taken to prevent defects from moving downstream and racking up costs. 

3. Planned Maintenance

This is where downtime and failure rates are applied to maintenance tasks, scheduled around when assets are the least busy. Production won’t be impacted much with inventory buildup executed according to the results. 

4. Focused Improvement

Smaller teams are asked to observe a specific process and plan ways to improve it. This cross-functional activity enables them to recognize persistent problems with the assembly line while analyzing the risks of each action. 

5. Early Equipment Management 

Employs manufacturing practices via TPM to perfect new equipment designs, allowing them to meet performance levels faster. As such, maintenance is easier to manage and new machines can be installed at a low cost. 

6. Training and Education

Operator and managerial training empowers personnel with a newfound knowledge of TPM and its techniques for preventative maintenance. Employees may receive coaching and career development on the side. 

7. Safety, Health, and Environment

These considerations are meant to eliminate the risks of physical harm, which manifests in an accident-free workplace, where equipment is calibrated and correctly set up to align with safety standards. 

8. TPM in Administration 

This part seeks to lessen administrative waste throughout procurement, scheduling, and order approval by exercising TPM in the manufacturing process to track down missing parts and drop off production materials. 

TPM can be calculated from tangible maintenance KPIs such as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). This measures the efficiency, availability, and quality of assets required for mass production. Any equipment performing under peak capacity or stopped in the middle, and any reduction in quality, will reduce the OEE score. 

How a CMMS Enables a Total Productive Maintenance Strategy 

TPM is accompanied by performance metrics that help manufacturers address types of productivity loss. To better visualize OEE and its loss categories, maintenance teams can employ Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) software to assist with the core functions of every TPM step. For instance, a CMMS provides automated work order creation and tracking, making it easier to visualize performance and make adjustments accordingly, while saving significant manual effort. 

A CMMS combined with condition monitoring sensors can also show where and when assets are demonstrating signs of wear so that the team can restore them to normal conditions before they fail. Managers can even assign training workshops to employees through their CMMS accounts including resources offered by vendors. Additionally, the CMMS generates repair logs during Early Equipment Management, which are critical for uncovering the symptoms of asset failure.   

Quality assurance is also strengthened by a CMMS since it detects energy/material waste through manual spot checks or mounting sensors used to monitor asset conditions. It reminds technicians to complete tasks like quality testing the final product. A CMMS is able to print safety inspections and audit records for further review, in case of potential hazards such as storing components in flammable areas. Users can quickly retrieve SOPs, certifications, and other checklists for external agencies.   

Businesses that depend on machines to keep industrial processes moving are facing higher downtime costs whenever equipment ceases to operate. Fortunately, a TPM program can be introduced to remedy the situation through proactive and preventive maintenance while preserving the quality and integrity of those systems. To that end, TPM aims at mitigating losses from unplanned downtime and quantifying stop events, hence restoring equipment to its prime condition. 

Learn more about how a CMMS enables TPM.

5 Steps to Get Started with a TPM Strategy 

Once you have a good grasp of the 5S system, you are ready to implement a TPM program. This section will show you how in 5 steps: 

1. Identify and Choose Equipment for the Pilot Area 

In this step, you will be targeting equipment from among three pivotal categories. There are pros and cons to keep in mind: Companies that lack TPM experience should choose the “Easiest to Improve” for a quick rundown. The next tier is the “Constraint/Bottleneck,” which increases total output and provides ample payback. And finally, the “Most Problematic” tackles well-known problems in order to strengthen a TPM project. 

2. Restore Assets to Prime Operating Condition

Clean up the surrounding area and take photos of the equipment state. Next, you should launch an Autonomous Maintenance program to get operators and technicians on the same page. Document the inspection points of wear parts and use transparent guarding as a visual aid. Be sure to label settings to make audits a smoother process. Take note of all lubrication points during a changeover. Provide operators with adequate training, then create a checklist of the required tasks.     

3. Measure OEE Data to Understand Top Losses

Automate OEE calculations with smart devices that automatically track key runtime metrics. Focus on understanding the reasons for unplanned stop time. Get to the bottom of where productive time is being wasted the most by unplanned stop events. They will be ranked from most to least substantial (Cycle loss, No Caps, Adjustments, etc). Collect data for at least two weeks to calculate the Total Lost Time and confirm if your TPM program is working as intended.  

4. Respond to Shifts in the Six Major Losses 

The source of lost productive time can be drawn out by introducing a Focused Improvement approach. Address the biggest loss through root cause analysis. Appoint a cross-functional team to observe the remaining issues. Collect physical evidence of the symptoms, then record them on an Ishikawa diagram. The proposed fixes should be put into motion by scheduling planned downtime. Reset production to see how effective the procedures are. 

5. Integrate Proactive Maintenance Techniques 

The candidates for proactive maintenance include components that wear and those that fail. What kind of equipment is prone to failing? Consider running a vibration or thermography analysis to test the stress points. Define the maintenance intervals using the wear level, predicted failure, time, and work order. Decide on a baseline interval for each, then create a feedback loop to optimize records like log sheets and conditions. Conduct monthly audits to verify log sheets and review new entries.