Total Productive Maintenance, or TPM, is a comprehensive program meant to maximize equipment availability, which is accomplished via preventive and predictive maintenance.
A central idea in TPM is the concept of self-directed maintenance, wherein machine operators are responsible for the routine maintenance and operations of their machines and equipment. With regular, routine maintenance, cleaning, and necessary upgrades, machines and equipment should ultimately improve in functionality and longevity. A major goal of TPM, apart from lengthening the life of equipment, is total elimination of all losses -- lost equipment, lost time, lost money. Eradicating these things can lead to improved utilization of production assets and plant capacity, as well as a boost in worker morale.
TPM emerged from the lean manufacturing practices brought on by Toyota in the 1950s. The post-WWII mega manufacturer saw some flaws in their facility processes: Operators used the machines, then waited while specialized maintenance crews serviced and maintained those machines. The result? Too much downtime, over servicing of equipment, and consequently lost money. Toyota began requiring its operators to learn some routine maintenance functions while reserving the more sophisticated procedures and upkeep for its technicians. Those working the machines then became specialists in their respective areas, knowing the ins and outs of their own equipment. Maintenance, cleaning, and upgrades became a routine daily activity integrated with regular operations. There was a drop in breakdowns and downtime, and an increase in production and employee skill. TPM was born.
With an emphasis on steam-lining operations with overall organization and efficiency, many businesses -- industrial and otherwise -- have adopted lean techniques to capitalize on the greatest resource they have: people. Giving workers autonomy in their duties and functions with greater responsibility and accountability has historically resulted in a more competent and confident set of workers. And a better worker can turn out a better product.
The original Toyota model, or the Toyota Production System (TPS), launched a new wave of doing business. The concept, and everything that has since branched from it, focuses on restructuring manufacturing and business practices to become as efficient and waste-free as possible. The Toyota Production System, and the lean manufacturing style that it has prompted, draws on traditional Japanese philosophy, such as establishing harmony and maintaining a clean and pure environment for ultimate human efficiency and peace of mind. The notion translates well to the workplace -- an area that is free of chaos and running smoothly will naturally generate a better product, ideally with less expense and less waste. The model of optimizing equipment efficiency and effectiveness with TPM compliments this overall philosophy.
Learn more about how TPM can improve your workplace by requesting a TPM guide, sent to you free.
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