What Is Total Productive Maintenance? (Including Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 26, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Maintaining a company's equipment can help improve production and generate more revenue for operations. To coordinate maintenance activities, many companies implement total productive maintenance (TPM), which typically involves everyone in an organization. Understanding the definition and benefits of TPM can help determine whether to recommend this maintenance approach at work. In this article, we define TPM, explain its benefits, describe how to coordinate it, discuss factors that can lead to successful TPM programs, and answer frequently asked questions about TPM.

What is total productive maintenance?

Total productive maintenance (TPM) is a method of improving equipment effectiveness by involving management, technical professionals, and non-technical employees in maintenance procedures. It emphasizes preventive maintenance activities. For example, a maintenance professional may replace a printer's components to prevent downtime.

Management can participate in TPM by promoting it as a company policy. Similarly, the role of employees in TPM is typically to act as equipment owners. This involves being responsible for basic maintenance actions on machines they use. For example, a clerk can clean, inspect, or lubricate a computer system because they are usually familiar with its specific operations and may detect faults quickly. TPM involves continuous improvement, so you can also apply it to production scheduling, materials management, and information flow in a company.

Benefits of TPM

There are several reasons to consider adopting TPM in an organization, including:

Increases productivity

TPM aims to reduce unscheduled downtime, which offers increased time for production. It also encourages employees to manage their time and become more productive. TPM enables maintenance professionals to follow planned schedules instead of attending to basic maintenance tasks they can delegate.

Related: 8 Job Training Methods to Improve Employee Productivity

Reduces maintenance costs

TPM focuses on proactive maintenance actions, which involve repairing or fixing a machine before it becomes urgent. This can help reduce the cost involved in maintaining equipment across all departments. For example, cleaning computer cables is typically less expensive than changing them when they develop a fault.

Improves safety

TPM can help reduce accidents because it encourages employees to become accountable at work. Maintenance technicians may also take reduced risks fixing a machine if there are fewer breakdowns to address. For example, if maintenance technicians only have technical challenges to resolve, they typically follow safety procedures and environmental standards.

Reduces inventory

TPM aims to make equipment more reliable to fulfill production demand; a company can produce the quantity customers require without considering extra units to cover equipment downtime. Reducing product inventories can help a company save money when renting warehouses or use its current storage space for more productive activities.

Improves employee morale

Empowering employees to have more equipment ownership can show that a company's management trusts them to make informed decisions. TPM helps team members improve their skills and learn how to maintain the equipment they use. For example, encouraging clerks to perform routine maintenance on computer systems can help improve their computer skills and expand their mechanical knowledge.

Related: How to Boost Employee Morale and How it Affects Employees

How to coordinate TPM in an organization

You can take the following steps to implement TPM programs at work:

1. Define the TPM program goals

Creating a primary plan and setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for implementing a TPM program can help a company track its maintenance performance. For example, an organization may adopt TPM to reduce maintenance costs by 23% in two years. It's also essential to select the equipment to maintain and individuals to work on the TPM goals.

2. Train the TPM team

Maintenance professionals can train the TPM team on routine maintenance tasks. For companies based in Canada, it's essential to have safety sessions that follow the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) guidelines. Once trained, the TPM team can start collecting data to determine equipment performance.

Related: How to Train Employees More Effectively (With Tips)

3. Establish maintenance plans

Maintenance professionals can develop a schedule to check the activities of the trained TPM team. For example, a company may create maintenance logs and pair technicians with TPM team members. It's crucial that maintenance schedules integrate with production activities to avoid schedule conflicts.

4. Develop ways to reduce maintenance activities

Once they have collected the data, a company's management can share information on equipment performance with asset manufacturers; this can help them improve equipment designs. It's important to identify ways of reducing maintenance activities so employees can focus on their primary duties. As the company coordinates TPM, the upper management team can include it in the company's standard operating procedures.

Factors that can lead to successful TPM programs

Factors that can positively impact an organization's TPM program include:

Management support

A supportive management team can encourage employees to continue implementing TPM. These directors, managers, and supervisors can reward department members for proactive maintenance, revise business plans to include TPM goals, and offer training sessions to production employees. The management team can ensure the TPM program continues during team reshuffles and all departments follow the same approach.

Related: What Are the Four Functions of Management? (With Tips)

Data availability

It's essential to use relevant data for planning TPM programs. This establishes the relationship between equipment performance, product quality, and maintenance costs. Consider collaborating with the maintenance team and data professionals to collect and analyze data records that can help quantify the benefits of TPM programs.

Employee union support

TPM typically involves transferring responsibilities from maintenance technicians to equipment operators. This often means seeking the support of trade unions and clarifying how TPM can positively impact their members. For example, a company's representatives can explain TPM benefits, including how it can help employees improve their skill set. Educating all team members before adopting TPM and clarifying their roles helps ensure the program succeeds.

Related: What Is a Unionized Job? (Definition and Examples)

FAQs about TPM

Frequently asked questions and answers that can help you learn more about TPM include:

How do you measure TPM success?

You can measure TPM improvements by calculating the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). A company's OEE refers to the percentage of time its equipment remains productive and generates revenue for a company. This metric considers equipment performance, availability, and quality, using the formula:

OEE = availability × performance × quality

A system's availability is a ratio of its operational time to the total planned production time. It describes how often an asset works when required. A machine's quality is the ratio of outputs available for sale to total outputs. It defines how many marketable items an asset produces. A system's performance defines how quickly an asset operates compared to its maximum speed.

What tips can help you calculate OEE?

Useful practices to help calculate a company's OEE include:

  • Use a calculator or computer system: OEE calculations typically involve ratios, so it can help to use a calculator. You can use a spreadsheet package to create a template if you calculate a company's OEE regularly.

  • Review calculations: It's essential you check OEE calculations for errors before using the results for planning and decision making.

  • Consider creating visual representations: Graphs and charts make it easier to interpret OEE results.

What are the pillars of TPM?

The pillars of TPM refer to principles guiding TPM implementation in an organization. They include:

  • Autonomous maintenance: This principle requires everyone to contribute to maintaining an asset.

  • Focused improvement: This refers to using a scientific approach to solve problems and using resources appropriately.

  • Planned maintenance: Creating maintenance plans helps prevent asset downtime and breakdown.

  • Quality maintenance: This pillar encourages the production of quality products to meet customer needs.

  • Early equipment management: The consideration of previous experiences when choosing new assets or developing new products.

  • Training and education: Employee and management education is crucial for adopting TPM.

  • Administrative and office TPM: You can include TPM in an organization's administrative and support functions.

  • Safety, health, and environment: You can put measures in place to prevent accidents, pollution, and to maintain employee health when adopting TPM.

What's the difference between TPM and TQM?

Total quality management (TQM) is like TPM because it involves improving a company's production capacity. You can differentiate between them according to their purpose: TQM focuses on a product's quality and TPM focuses on reducing losses that can impact production assets. Many companies combine TQM and TPM to enhance production activities and meet profit targets.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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