You are on page 1of 2


What Is TPM? - Kaizen introduced the idea that employee expertise generates improvements. The 5S’s
suggested a clean and organized workplace will lead to clearer thinking. TPM is all about Total Plant
Maintenance. The underlying concept is, if you properly maintain plant machinery there will see a sharp decline
in machine breakdowns, safety and quality problems.
Under TPM, machine operators carry out routine maintenance such as checking water, oil, coolant, and air
levels. This may involve some training of machine operators. Through operator training to do simple
maintenance on machines will promote ownership and more attention to detail.
The actual maintenance teams should as a result of spending less time doing routine maintenance is in a position
to concentrate on more urgent machine breakdowns. TPM should promote better team working in the
workplace, as the operators will be helping the maintenance team with their tasks.
Analyzing existing maintenance against planned maintenance will show that over time the costs for maintaining
machines using existing methods keeps increasing, whilst using TPM the initial costs are high as the machine is
stopped regularly for maintenance checks, but over time the costs are actually lower as the machine has in the
past been maintained.
The underlying objective of TPM is to try and bring the machine back as close as possible to it’s new condition.
Here are some simple pointers towards developing a regular TPM event:
1. Decide upon which section is going to have TPM take place. It is best to complete TPM’s on
one section at a time.
2. The TPM team will consist of all operators who use the machines in that section (ideally
include all members across all shifts - it safes having to keep repeating the process). The TPM
team will also consist of any team leaders, maintenance personnel, and someone from either
support engineering or the quality section to explain the logic behind TPM.
3. Make sure everyone in the team understands the logic behind TPM, if needs be this will
include literature and one-on-one discussion by with operators by whoever is explaining the
TPM logic.
4. The actual TPM process can begin in several ways, the simplest is to get all the operators
around the machine and actually identify what is not right with the machine.
5. Areas for improvement will cover everything from oil leaks, filter changes, new guards
required, loose bolts, poor fixtures, machine requiring re-painting, etc.
6. Under TPM each area for improvement are given tags, using color codes, to identify the
priority of the improvement task is highlighted. For example red could be high (needed urgently
to prevent breakdowns) and green could be low priority (does not affect machine functionality)
7. All tags are numbered and where possible stuck to different areas of the machine. This will
show anyone entering the workplace, the potential errors with this machine.
8. Details from the tags placed on a machine are highlighted on a sheet to all the machine
operators and the maintenance teams.
9. Using a control board, place in the section where the machine belongs, the machine name and
the number of tags which needed are displayed to highlight the amount of work to be completed
in a section.
10. Operators are trained by the maintenance teams to detect simple signs of machines behaving
11. Operator training matrix's are designed to reflect which operators have been trained to
complete which levels of machine maintenance.
12. Repeat the process for the section that has just completed for example on 6-month intervals.
Whilst other sections in your production cycle go through the process from step 1.
Successful TPM’s often use photographic models to show how a machine has undergone the TPM process.
Often someone with a camera will take pictures of the machine in it’s pre and post TPM stages and display the
data on the TPM control board to use as model for other machining areas
The whole emphasis of TPM is to ensure a business maintains its capacity to produce customer requirements. In
order to be implemented effectively, your business will have to develop a planned maintenance program with
management acceptance of downtimes when the machines need servicing. This does go against the traditional
view that machines only stops when they breakdown. This is very common in western manufacturing
companies, the business has to appreciate that the machine life is extended considerably with regular
maintenance. TPM works hand in hand with both Kaizen and the 5S’s.