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“Machines are at the heart of our factories and offices.”, said Yuzuru Ito, the celebrated Lean philosophy thinker. Reliability of machines in a factory is key to ensuring smooth plant operations. Total Productive Maintenance, or TPM, is one such tool that can be used to improve the reliability of machines in your facility. In this article, we’ll review the definition and key concepts of TPM and the KPIs used to measure it.

What is Total Productive Maintenance?

Total productive maintenance, or TPM, refers to the set of tools or techniques used to increase the productive output of the machine. This is accomplished by:

  • reducing machine downtime,
  • reducing speed losses,
  • eliminating defects,
  • building a safe and organized workplace, and
  • empowering people.

TPM is a holistic approach to machine operation and maintenance by melding together the two functions rather than separating them. It incorporates the lean values of reducing waste, increasing customer value, and involving people in maintenance activities. 

Most companies have regular operators that run the machines on a regular basis. The company will also have a dedicated maintenance team that performs routine maintenance and reactive maintenance. Their functions do not overlap, which means operators do not take up any maintenance activities. This is how most plants and facilities function.

Under the TPM paradigm, operator functions and maintenance functions are not completely exclusive. The operator of a machine is the one who works extensively with it and will be the one to know the tiny changes in it. TPM empowers the machine operator to investigate the observations of the operator and perform corrective action.

If operators experience unusual sounds or vibrations while using the machine, they are free to investigate the cause of the aberration and replace parts if necessary. The organization has provided the operator with access to replacement parts and other required tools. In this way, the operator is able to perform preventive maintenance, rather than the maintenance team performing reactive maintenance after the machine eventually breaks down.

This contributes to the elimination of unscheduled machine downtime. Reactive maintenance causes prolonged machine downtime and huge costs, whereas the maintenance cost and opportunity cost is very low with preventive maintenance. 

Under TPM, the boundaries between the functions of operators, maintenance technicians, and managers are erased. This happens as everyone in the organization works together efficiently to reduce waste and cost. Sharing best practices with colleagues in the organization is a key part of working together and smarter. 

Core Tenets of Total Productive Maintenance

Total productive maintenance is a tool to achieve three broader goals for machines in the facility:

  • Improving stability.
  • Increasing reliability.
  • Improving effectiveness.

TPM aims to embody the true essence of Kaizen by improving everyday, everywhere, with everyone. According to TPM principles, the goals for machines in the facility are achieved by a change in the mindset of the people within the organization. The four key elements to changing the mindset of the people involved are:

  • Empowering machine operators with the responsibility of maintenance.
  • Shared problem solving. This is augmented by the sharing of tools, techniques, and best practices across the organization.
  • Maintenance teams act as trainers and facilitators, as the bulk of maintenance is performed by the operators.
  • Maintaining a targeted machine downtime of 0%.
Technician in a Factory Performing Machine Maintenance With Wrench

KPIs for TPM

TPM embraces continuous improvement, which is prevalent across the lean philosophy landscape. To promote continuous improvement, the outcome of processes must be visible. Measuring key metrics gives the visibility required to measure the success and failure of TPM activities. What cannot be measured cannot be controlled or managed. Measuring and tracking KPIs eliminates such a possibility.

The KPIs related to maintenance should not only track maintenance activities. One of the key goals of TPM is to reduce maintenance and related downtime.

Some metrics you have to keep track of to measure TPM are listed below.

  • Availability – Availability is the percentage of time the machine or service is available for use within a given period. The goal is to have an availability of 100%. The implementation of TPM should show an improvement in the availability of machines.
  • Performance – Machine performance will improve through the use of TPM. Since regular maintenance activities are performed by operators, the machines are always working in optimal conditions. 
  • Quality – The output quality of the machine should also improve with TPM, but the output of the whole facility has to improve, not just that of the machine. The specific metric to measure the quality will change depending upon what is produced in the facility. Pick the appropriate quality metric for the machine and the facility in question.
  • Machine enhancements – TPM embraces continuous improvement, and enhancing the machinery to improve the output is one of the functional ways this manifests. Thus, one of the metrics used to indicate effectiveness is the number of machine enhancements. Be sure to track the quality of enhancements too, not just the numbers. Similarly, the number of innovation projects in the facility can also be tracked. 
  • Operator training – With TPM, the onus of maintenance falls on the operator of the machine. This means the operator must possess a wide range of skills and knowledge related to the machine and other applicable matters. Tracking operator training is an effective metric to gauge how knowledgeable machine operators are.

The key to effective TPM is measuring and tracking suitable metrics. Effective asset tracking with durable maintenance management asset tags for a CMMS plays a huge role in measuring the effectiveness of TPM and identifying avenues of improvement. In a fast moving facility, tracking assets becomes difficult due to the speedy wear and tear of labels. Durable labels are a wise investment, as they can help to effectively track assets. Contact Camcode today and discover how durable labels can help your business.

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