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TPM Chapter 2 - TPM in Theory

In my previous blog I talked about TPM being a culture and it is rightly so but unless you start practicing you won’t realize it. But it has a definition and there is a systematic step by step procedure to implement it in an organization. In this blog I’ll be giving you a brief about TPM and how did it start.

TPM, Total Productive Maintenance, is primarily a maintenance program where operators and maintenance people work together as a team to solve machine related problems. TPM says that operators look after routine activities like Cleaning, Lubricating, Inspection & Tightening (CLIT) and the maintenance people look after upgrading the machine to improve its life.

Before I explain the meaning in detail, let’s look at the history of TPM. TPM was started in the factories of Japan in 1970s. Some say it was Toyota some say it was developed from the Productive Maintenance concept of USA which was adopted by Japanese factories. Whatever the truth may be the full-fledged concept of TPM was developed in Japan. It started primarily in Automotive Industries and even today if you look at the data of TPM implementing companies, automotive sector has the highest share. Why this is important is because many concepts are best related to assembly line industry and without having proper understanding of TPM if you try to replicate in your industry (SKAPS belongs to Geosynthetics industry – a process industry) it might be a problem. Remember this: the TPM concepts are not wrong, the way they are understood and their wrong execution creates problem.

Before TPM, operators just used to operate the machine and when some problem occurred they would direct it to the maintenance team. Thus there was always a tussle between the two teams. So these Japanese people observed that if we teach the operators basic things like CLIT and make them knowledgeable about the machine then majority of the breakdowns can be taken care of. This would help the maintenance team spend more time on improving the life of the machines as well as make some improvements that would save cost of the company. For this to happen, operators and maintenance people need to work as a team and not as separate departments. Since the earlier way of working was going on for many years, the idea of TPM brought a significant change in the way of working which is why I call it a cultural change.

TPM basically focuses on team work and it starts with operators and maintenance people working together as one. In my next blog I’ll be talking about the foundational step of TPM: 5S – a very common thing in manufacturing industry. 

TPM & Business Development Manager
SKAPS Industries


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