What is Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)?

Japanese companies are globally recognized for their efficiency and commitment to production quality. But have you ever wondered how they achieved this reputation? The answer largely lies in Total Productive Maintenance.

TPM is an approach that places maintenance at the heart of industrial performance.

TPM proposes a systematic maintenance system involving all employees of an organization in the care and maintenance of their work equipment. Systems and processes are put in place to ensure that all production equipment is always in optimal condition, thus avoiding breakdowns or sub-optimal operations.

The goal of TPM is to achieve total perfection in production, which means that all production equipment must operate optimally, without any delays or problems. To achieve this, TPM aims to completely eliminate all kinds of breakdowns, failures, defects, and accidents.

As you can imagine, the principles of TPM have become indispensable for some of the most productive companies in the world. A company that does not have breakdowns or delays in its production area can truly maximize its capacity and, consequently, increase its profits.

Does this sound too good to be true? Then read on to learn more about TPM and how you could implement it in your organization.


What is Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)?


Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a holistic system designed to maintain the integrity of an organization’s assets. Unlike traditional approaches where maintenance is solely the responsibility of a designated team, TPM involves all employees in preventing failures and breakdowns. This approach, originating from Japan, aims to revolutionize an organization’s maintenance philosophy by engaging every member in equipment care and upkeep.


Explanation of the main objectives

The main goal of TPM is to enhance the productivity of assets by reducing downtime and increasing the efficiency of all production equipment. TPM ambitiously aims to eliminate all losses due to production delays or breakdowns, including:

  • Losses from unexpected failures, often caused by accidents or sudden breakdowns disrupting production.
  • Losses during installation and adjustments, related to equipment downtime during operational condition changes.
  • Operational stoppages, typically short-term pauses in production lasting less than 10 minutes.
  • Losses from reduced speed, occurring when maintenance equipment is not functioning optimally.
  • Quality losses when assets are not in prime condition, impacting the final product’s quality.
  • Capital losses as poorly maintained assets depreciate faster than well-maintained ones.

Achieving zero losses and failures is TPM’s ultimate goal. While reaching a state of zero defects and losses is nearly impossible, TPM continuously strives for improvement, aiming to get as close as possible to perfection in the production process.


Fundamental principles

TPM’s fundamental principles are inspired by the Japanese concept of Kaizen, which focuses on loss reduction and efficiency improvement. The essence of TPM lies in its continuous pursuit of improvement, gradually advancing towards optimal production efficiency at all levels.



Enhance equipment availability and reliability

Benefits of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)

TPM ensures production equipment is always in top condition, regardless of production demands. This means you can trust your equipment to be production-ready, even after intensive use, enabling you to confidently engage in new contracts and sales, knowing your production equipment is set for its role.


Reduce maintenance costs and increase productivity

TPM significantly improves the overall efficiency of equipment (OEE – Overall Equipment Effectiveness), leading to lower operational and maintenance costs. By maintaining all production equipment in prime condition, efficiency and production losses are minimized, thereby reducing operational costs.

What is TPM’s impact on product quality and workplace safety?

A key goal of TPM is to enhance product quality and reduce the total number of failures and accidents. By preventing unexpected breakdowns, production area accidents are significantly decreased. This bolsters a sense of safety among your organization’s members, as they work with well-maintained equipment.


Industrial Maintenance Industrial Maintenance Mob


The eight pillars of total productive maintenance:

n°1: autonomous maintenance

Autonomous maintenance stands as the core pillar of TPM, embedding its fundamental philosophy across the organization. This approach delegates the responsibility for upkeep and maintenance of equipment to all organizational members, from field salespersons to top executives. Operators who engage with the production equipment daily are pivotal, as they are trained to keep their equipment in prime condition. This includes conducting inspections, cleaning, and lubricating their machines to ensure peak operation. While not every employee needs deep repair or maintenance skills, simply keeping equipment clean and operational significantly cuts down on the need for maintenance team interventions.


2: planned maintenance

Planned and scheduled maintenance TPM

Planned maintenance is another crucial pillar of TPM, focusing on servicing production equipment at the most opportune times to minimize downtime. By scheduling maintenance, downtime or off-peak periods can be utilized to enhance efficiency. The maintenance team should also be aware of each production component’s lifespan and maintenance needs, allowing them to foresee and plan for necessary repairs or replacements, thus minimizing disruptions.


3: quality improvement

Beyond reducing breakdowns and downtime, TPM aims to elevate product quality. Implementing a comprehensive maintenance system that keeps production equipment in optimal condition invariably boosts product quality. Additionally, TPM’s “zero defect” philosophy extends to finished products, with the maintenance team also monitoring product quality to ensure any production area failures or defects are addressed to maintain high-quality standards.


4: initial maintenance

Supporting the TPM process from the beginning involves incorporating zero-defect principles right from the planning and acquisition stages of production equipment. If reducing production losses is a goal, it should be a clear objective from the start, including in the acquisition of production assets and system setup. Engaging the maintenance department from the equipment design phase is crucial, especially for organizations frequently updating their equipment, as it helps align new systems with TPM goals from the outset.


5: preventive maintenance

Pillar TPM : preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance aims to preempt breakdowns and failures by maintaining equipment before issues arise. While not all problems can be avoided, preventive maintenance tasks significantly reduce the frequency and severity of failures compared to reactive maintenance. This proactive approach can be systematic, conditional, or predictive, with advanced productive maintenance systems also leveraging performance and production indicators to time maintenance tasks optimally.


6: training and development

Training and developing all organization personnel is a fundamental pillar of TPM. Beyond ensuring production equipment operators know best practices for maintaining their machines, it’s crucial to educate the entire staff on the importance of TPM.


7: safety, hygiene, and environment

Creating a safe and healthy work environment is another essential pillar of TPM. By reducing equipment failures and issues, TPM fosters a safer workplace, thereby minimizing accidents. This enhances team members’ safety confidence, knowing the assets they work with are in top condition and pose minimal failure risks. Moreover, maximizing production equipment efficiency and productivity also benefits the environment, as each finished product requires fewer resources, thus reducing overall waste and positively impacting the environment.

8: team management

TPM principles extend beyond production realms. Any business can leverage this culture to diminish inefficiencies and boost productivity at every organizational level. This is particularly vital for administrative teams, who make key decisions on equipment and asset management efficiency. Additionally, the administrative department often handles essential tasks for the production team, such as processing orders, acquiring new equipment, and scheduling employee work hours. Optimizing these processes and reducing redundancies will support the production team.


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Stages of implementing total productive maintenance

Preparation phase

The initial step in the implementation of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is goal setting. As each organization operates uniquely, the journey to optimal efficiency will differ from one to another. During this phase, the involved teams will outline the objectives for the TPM program implementation and start devising the best approach to achieve them. Concurrently, every member of the organization will undergo introductory training to grasp the purpose of TPM and its impact on their daily tasks.

Start-up phase

At the kickoff, creating a list of breakdowns to address and maintenance tasks pending is among the most critical activities. This enables prioritizing the most urgent tasks to restore your maintenance equipment to optimal condition. By catching up on pending maintenance tasks, you can initiate your preventive maintenance strategy. These steps ensure that your production equipment does not revert to a state of decay and inefficiency.

Consolidation phase

The most significant task of TPM kicks off once the preventive maintenance system is operational. Adhering to the culture of continuous improvement and zero defects, it’s vital to monitor and assess the outcomes. The real work starts here, where you must review maintenance processes to pinpoint improvement areas and redundancies in your systems.


How TPM supports maintenance strategy implementation:

TPM and maintenance

Maintenance policy depends on employees’ interaction with production equipment. In TPM, everyone understands their impact on assets, making maintenance implementation smoother when all are responsible for equipment integrity.

Benefits of maintenance software in TPM

CMMS facilitates TPM culture, tracking actions across the organization. It helps maintain control and history of maintenance tasks, optimizing asset quality maintenance. CMMS automates preventive maintenance tasks, aiding in zero breakdowns and failures goals.

For more information on CMMS, expert discussions, or to see how CMMS can optimize your maintenance, contact us to schedule a demonstration.


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