Productive maintenance involves establishing a routine set of care activities with a focus on the following goals:

  • Zero accidents
  • Zero delays
  • Zero deficits
  • Zero failures

This does not mean replacing a machine when it goes down, but coming up with effective strategies to keep the machine from breaking down in the first place. Just like you schedule routine oil changes and tire rotations for your car, you should be scheduling productive maintenance activities for any machines in your company.

Why Productive Maintenance?

Productive Maintenance is the key to keeping machines running at full capacity with the fewest possible pauses in the process. It can reduce the deterioration of equipment as well as the cost that accompanies unexpected maintenance issues. It helps eliminate quality problems caused by equipment malfunctions, helping to improve customer satisfaction dramatically.

Productive maintenance also leads to improvements in the predictability of the processes. This predictability leads to higher employee morale and lower machine failures.

How to Structure a TPM Program

Start by selecting key pieces of equipment for productive maintenance routines. Machines that are pivotal for production, frequently breakdown, bottleneck processes, or create unsafe working conditions should be the first on the list. It is important to select these machines using measured data. Production sheets, maintenance logs, modeling programs, and what-if analyses can provide valuable information to help select the equipment that needs productive maintenance routines most.

The next step is to create a solid plan to ensure that normal machine conditions are maintained. These plans should include space for routine inspection, part and fluid replacement, cleaning schedules, and diagnostic checks. Just like any vehicle, machines and equipment should be inspected and cared for on a routine schedule. Team information boards and auditing processes can help to sustain these plans once they’ve been established. Equipment uptime and throughput should be monitored closely to ensure that the plans are accurate.

A key piece of TPM structure is having techniques in place that enable the quick detection of abnormalities. Visual cues are paramount. Whether that means color-coding oil levels or valve positions, or providing vibrant and easy-to-read charts for temperature readouts, having a visual that is quick and easy to assess will be vital to maintaining the TPM structure. This is especially true when identifying that an abnormality exists on a piece of equipment. An obvious visual cue should be added to the machine as a restorative signal to a maintenance staff member.

Finally, it is important to develop countermeasures to maintain normal working conditions. Often, presenting problems have a deeper root cause. A 5-Why chart or Fishbone diagram can help to ensure that root problems are being addressed immediately.

All lean models, especially ones involving new processes and procedures, should be evaluated and implemented with continuous learning in mind. In order to properly uphold a TPM model, every member of the company should be trained on the new model and feel invested in the new process.

To learn more about the Eight Pillars of TPM and the steps involved, you can download our short handout here.

About Lean Learning Center

The Lean Learning Center was founded in 2001 to address the gaps and barriers that are holding back companies from successful and sustainable lean transformation. In addition to the advanced curriculum, the Center has developed a learning environment designed specifically for adult learning utilizing techniques that include discovery simulations, case studies, personal planning, and reflection – ultimately engaging people at a deep and personal level. We bring our unique lean understanding in creative ways to executives, managers, supervisors, change agents and front-line employees.

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