In a nutshell, TPM aims to shift the responsibility for servicing/repairing plant equipment and machinery away from solely the maintenance crew, and share it with the actual operators. Blurring the lines between the production and maintenance side and emphasising the importance of preventative maintenance creates a proactive workforce which anticipates problems, rather than one who simply reacts to them.
What are the benefits?
Though creating, and sustaining a proactive environment can be difficult to achieve, once implemented, a TPM culture can lead to far greater output due to the number of breakdowns, blockages and unexpected breaks in production being significantly reduced. Regular servicing can also help prolong the life of tools and machinery, saving unnecessary outgoings on costly repair and replacements.
In addition, fatigued or malfunctioning machinery which is still being operated is far more likely to cause serious accidents and harm, so TPM works towards better safeguarding the health and safety of the workforce.
How is it broken down?
For ease of implementation, TPM is broken down generally split into eight areas, and though sometimes referred to by different terms, the focus is still the same.
· Autonomous Maintenance– operators take ownership for the routine cleaning, lubrication and checking of equipment
· Planned Maintenance– creating a structured maintenance schedule based around known downtime, when machines aren’t involved in production
· Quality Maintenance– searching for the actual causes of recurring issues and fixing them at the source
· Focused Improvement– the belief that small steps, whether achieved individually or as a team, can bring about big changes
· Early Equipment Management– the knowledge gained from implementing TPM filters through to the design of new equipment and systems, resulting in a minimum amount of downtime
· Training & Education– instilling a respect for TPM as a whole, but especially Autonomous Maintenance, in every staff member, from the very top all the way down the chain
· Safety, Health & Environment– creating an environment where accidents do not occur and fatigued or defective equipment is identified promptly
· Administrative TPM– applying the principles of TPM to other areas of the business, such as the office to improve procurement, communication and logistics
Why is it so hard to achieve?
The two most common reasons businesses struggle to successfully implement a TPM culture are in fact linked, that of having to rely on everyone pulling together and a lack of comprehensive training overall. The best way to combat both of these factors simultaneously is through the creation of TPM ‘champions’, a select group of individuals, ideally representing the entire hierarchy of the business, who attend as many training seminars and conferences as possible, prior, during and following TPM implementation. These champions can then disseminate the information to the entire workforce through regular training sessions, either for groups or individuals, and react to situations as they arise. By ensuring the champions are continually kept abreast of new developments and techniques within TPM, knowledge within the business is frequently being refreshed and improved.