How to Improve Industrial Maintenance with TPM?

One of the main objectives of TPM – Total Productive Maintenance – is to create a shared responsibility for equipment by empowering operators to help maintain machines. The so-called autonomous maintenance can drastically improve productivity through increased up time, reduced cycle time and timely eliminated defects. Making TPM a substantial part of your industrial maintenance strategy for continuous improvement is definitely worth it.

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What Is Total Productive Maintenance?

The Total Productive Maintenance approach was initially developed in Japan and widely promoted and distributed by the Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance. Nippondenso was the first Japanese manufacturer of components for the automotive industry who started using TPM in 1961. Later Toyota and other Japanese manufacturers also implemented the approach.

As many other maintenance strategies, TPM strives to achieve a continuous production cycle without any breakdowns by maintaining and improving the integrity of production and quality systems.

The Main Tools of TPM Are the 5S and the 8 Supporting Pillars

By applying the concept of the 5S and promoting 8 supporting activities, the Total Productive Maintenance approach has a major impact on the quality of industrial maintenance, on the manufacturing techniques improvement, on plants’ cleanliness and order and on the skills and education of maintenance employees. Setting goals for maximized equipment efficiency and engaging all departments in planning, production, quality and maintenance are the main goals of the 5S and the 8 supporting activities. Employees are at the center of this system and are continuously educated in lean manufacturing techniques by identifying and eliminating waste. In maintenance, this would mean: no breakdowns, no production interruptions, no defects and no accidents.

What Are the 5S of the TPM?

In simple terms, the 5S methodology is simply aiming at removing unnecessary items and organizing the ones that remain in the best possible way by developing behaviors that keep the workplace organized. The implementation of the concept is essential for the safety, quality, efficiency and downtime of work. 5S stays for 5 Japanese words, beginning with “S” and describing the steps of a workplace organization process:

1. Seiri (Sort)

The first S aims to eliminate anything that is not truly needed in the work area as for example unnecessary materials and equipment.

2. Seiton (Straighten, Set)

The objective of the second S is to organize the remaining items in order to define and maintain clean locations for tools, machines and materials.

3. Seiso (Shine, Sweep)

The third S refers to the implementation of regular cleaning practices by dividing the manufacturing floor into different cleaning areas and assigning a responsible team to each area.

4. Seiketsu (Standardize)

The fourth S is focusing on creating standards for performing the above three activities.

5. Shitsuke (Sustain)

The objective of the fifth S is to make the system sustainable by ensuring that all standards are regularly applied.

The successful implementation of the 5S should result in a clean and well-organized work environment where tools are easier to find and emerging issues as leaks, cracks and spills can be immediately detected.

What Are the 8 Supporting Activities of the TPM?

The 8 supporting pillars of the Total Productive Maintenance Program help professionals to achieve the objectives set for higher rate of machine utilization and productivity.

1. Focused Kaizen

During this activity, problems related to equipment failures are identified and improvement goals are set in the so-called kaizen event. The most important step here is to ensure that cross-functional teams work together to come up with the root cause of the problems and apply solutions targeting continuous improvement.

2. Autonomous Maintenance

The second activity is characterized with autonomous maintenance where operators of particular machines are responsible for machine adjustments and minor maintenance of that machine (for example: cleaning, lubricating and inspections). This results in more motivated and skilled employees, understanding the objectives of a lean organization and cost savings due to the reliable equipment, that has been continuously monitored and maintained.

3. Planned Maintenance

Planned maintenance includes preventive and predictive maintenance routines based on the monitoring of machines’ behavior, the maintenance history as well as the sensor data. Scheduled maintenance can anticipate major breakdowns, reduce unplanned stop time and thus increase the capacity for productive activities.

4. Education and Trainings

This activity is focusing on the continuous improvement of all employees’ skills by initiating training and coaching programs. For example machine operators develop skills for autonomous maintenance, senior maintenance professionals learn techniques for preventive, predictive and prescriptive maintenance techniques and managers are trained into improvement strategies as Kaizen and TPM.

5. Early Equipment Maintenance

This pillar is about the design stage of a piece of equipment and is aiming at designing a machine in a way that it is easy to operate and maintain. This includes for example easy cleaning, lubrication and inspection, accessibility of machine’s parts and paying a special attention to ergonomic aspects. This leads new equipment to reach planned performance levels much faster.

6. Quality Maintenance

This activity is ensuring that equipment is able to detect and prevent errors during production. Using lean tools such as autonomation (jidoka) and andon, machines can detect and report any abnormal condition targeting the removal of all root causes of defects.

7. The Office TPM

This pillar is addressing the use of TPM principles in the administration aiming at improving for example the order processing procedures, procurement and scheduling. The main idea here also remains “waste elimination” through improved administrative operations.


8. Safety, Health and Environment

The last pillar of Total Productive Maintenance is setting standards for the working conditions of all employees by eliminating potential health and safety risks. An example of such an activity includes the implementation of a set of measures (as guards, work standards) making machines safe to use.

Why Should You Adopt Total Productive Maintenance?

The implementation of the golden 5S and the related supporting activities depends on the size, needs, processes and culture of your business. But no matter what your objectives are, you can definitely enjoy numerous benefits from adopting the TPM best practices. Here are some of the most important once at a glance:

  • Cost savings
  • Optimized working schedule of all employees
  • More efficient workforce
  • Safer and cleaner workplace
  • Equipment reliability
  • Minimized delays, breakdowns and production stops

Mobility Work Enables Total Productive Maintenance

Total Productive Maintenance requires constant observation to succeed. A next-gen Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is streamlining your daily maintenance routines ensuring that all technicians are at the right place in the right moment. Preventive maintenance plans, monitoring, and maintenance history – everything is stored and accessible anytime and anywhere from any smart device though your CMMS mobile app. In case anomalies occur, they can be easily identified and addressed via the notifications sent to the assigned team. Like this all problems get solved before turning into real failures.

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The main objective of Mobility Work CMMS is to ease the participation of each employee involved in the daily maintenance routines. Therefore the tool is user-friendly and versatile, offering a wide range of features, adaptable to the needs of various businesses. One of the guiding principles of our team when creating Mobility Work was to launch a product that creates an environment conducive to the growth of employees motivation.