30 years since the Western World first learnt about Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) – but do we really understand it?

Total Productive Maintenance Understanding it after 30 years
by Ross Kennedy, 22 March 2019

Lean and Six Sigma are essential ingredients to Operational Excellence, however If you require a more stable plant operation while maximising capacity, minimising costs and creating a safer and more productive workplace, not to mention significantly minimising Operational Risk, maybe the time is right to revisit TPM.

TPM was initially developed in Japan in the 1960’s to support the development of the Toyota Production System. It was discovered by the Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance while doing a PM Audit at Nippon Denso, a subsidiary of Toyota in the 1970s. The first Japanese book on TPM was published in 1982. Since then the Japanese have developed it through 3 generations and taken the original 6 Big Losses to 16 and the original 5 pillars to 8.

The western world first learnt about TPM in 1989, some 30 years ago, following the publication by Productivity Press in the USA of the first English translated Japanese book on the subject – TPM Development Program by Seiichi Nakajima.

Following the first TPM conference held in Australasia in 1995, CTPM – The Centre for Australasian TPM & Lean was established in 1996 to develop an Australasian version of TPM to support industry, academia and government. A key outcome from the many case studies presented at the conference was that the Japanese approach, although technically very good, did not sustain in the Australasian workplace environment. There was a need to develop an enhanced Australasian version of TPM which recognises the unique attributes of our Australasian workplace culture and the critical role equipment reliability plays in Operational Excellence.

Below are some of the early key learning's that emerged:

TPM is not a maintenance / engineering initiative. It is an operations / production initiative supported by everyone at the site, especially maintenance.

TPM cannot be introduced by a handful of people, it is a site wide initiative involving everyone recognising the need to cascade it at a rate that can be properly supported.

TPM requires time for your Operators to stop their equipment and carry out regular Clean for Inspection activities. As such you need to create time for this by improving Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) before introducing regular Clean for Inspection activities. You also have to recognise that you will take a hit on your labour efficiency measure however your total cost of Operations will significantly reduce.

TPM requires your maintenance people to re-prioritise small jobs such as fixing equipment defects found by the Operators so they are addressed quickly thus encouraging more to be found. This often requires a different approach to current maintenance planning & scheduling practices.

TPM requires maintenance to fix the many equipment defects identified by the Operators and as such maintenance costs may initially rise, however Operational Cost reduction should significantly cover this as well as seeing maintenance cost significantly reduce in the longer term (typically 30-50%).

If you would like to learn more about Australasian TPM, contact myself Ross Kennedy at ross.kennedy@ctpm.org.au.


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