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5 Total Productive Maintenance Implementation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Total Productive Maintenance - 30 Templates (Excel workbook). This Excel workbook contains 30 templates for Total Productive maintenance ( TPM ) concepts. Templates include OPL ( One point Lesson) Gantt Chart, Why Why Analysis, Overall Inspection, Jishu Hozen Step - 4 , List of "Fuguai" in the Equipment, Why Why Because Logic [read more]

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Almost every business, manufacturing, or industrial process today happens with the help of machines. Therefore, one of the reasons why organizations adopt any maintenance strategy is to minimize unplanned downtime and improve asset availability.

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is one of several proactive maintenance strategies available today. It is a lean manufacturing strategy and its ultimate goal is to accomplish production with zero defects by involving employees in maintaining their equipment. In addition, TPM focuses on preventive maintenance techniques to achieve:

  • No breakdowns
  • No accidents
  • No stops or running slowly
  • No defects

However, to succeed with total productive maintenance implementation,

it is vital to handle the entire process in a strategic and thorough manner from day one.

Here are five critical mistakes that every organization should be wary of when embarking on this journey.

1. Inadequate Preparation for Change Management

Change is a foundational component of any improvement initiative. Unfortunately, resistance to change is often an obstacle to progress in any workplace.

It is a mistake to assume that TPM, and all it encompasses, will be accepted by all staff and that every stage of the implementation process will progress without hitches. The expected challenges with getting staff buy-in will be even more complicated in organizations that run a haphazard workflow and have never embraced a lean mindset.

Such organizations will require significant changes to almost every aspect of their operations in order to adopt TPM. Certainly, workers will likely resist at some point.

To get around this issue, expect resistance and prepare for it:

  • communicate with employees in a way that focuses on the benefits that TPM will bring rather than on the work they will have to put in
  • give plenty of notice and implement a open door policy
  • introduce them to tools like CMMS that you want/plan to implement into their workflow

Once they are convinced that changing the status quo will make their daily work easier, there’s a better chance of ensuring their cooperation.

Change management must be handled carefully because it’s usually one of the first obstacles you’ll meet while implementing TPM.

2. Inadequate Resource Allocation

The initial stages of TPM implementation will require a dedicated budget, especially in terms of labor and time. Quoting from the Marshall Institute, Plantengineering.com states that despite the benefits of TPM implementation, the cost to entry can be substantial. They stated that companies can expect increased training costs of 10 to 20%, plus another 15% for added maintenance costs.

But, a common mistake is that organizations underestimate the costs involved, or they gloss over it. Consequently, they start the implementation process, but abandon it mid-way because management becomes increasingly resistant to committing more funds to the project.

For example, one of the eight pillars of TPM is Autonomous Maintenance. During this stage, teams try to correct abnormalities in their equipment. Also, there is a lot of cleaning, organizing, etc. – all labor-intensive and time-consuming activities.

To avoid this situation, it is important to sit down and estimate the expected costs before venturing into TPM. This estimate will serve as a ballpark figure and hopefully prevent unpleasant surprises down the road.

3. Lack of Training and Education

One of the key elements in any maintenance strategy are the technicians as they are the ones that are taking care of all assets. TPM, however, represents a very unique approach by expanding the definition of “technicians” to include all staff by motivating everyone on the plant floor to participate in basic maintenance activities (e.g. inspection, cleaning, and lubrication).

This is a top to bottom process that aims to free up the maintenance team to focus more on advanced/specialized maintenance activities.

However, for this approach to work, all workers must be trained in handling these basic maintenance tasks. Remember that you are handing over machines to people that have probably never attempted such tasks in the past. If you rush the process,  you risk machine-related injuries, people abusing the machines, or even compounding the initial state of the equipment.

Hence, thorough training is key.

4. Starting Large Scale

Another mistake that occurs during TPM implementation is taking on too much, too fast. Just like many other process improvement methodologies, the efforts may start well with excitement about the benefits to come. But, there is often the tendency to overwhelm people right from the kickoff stage.

If you try to change the workflow for every single thing at once (change how you report and manage work requests, change what people need to do after their shift ends, how you pick up parts from the inventory storage, where different tools and equipment is located…), people will quickly get demoralized as they will feel they don’t know how to do their job anymore.

This happens often in companies that see TPM as a quick-fix to make drastic changes to a failing maintenance system. Instead, make gradual improvements. After people get the hang of one change, move to another.

5. Poor Provision for Review and Continuous Improvement

If there was any doubt, TPM is a long term endeavor. Although the benefits are expected to roll in with time, it can be tricky to keep the successes coming in as the years go by. Added to that, some organizations find that they don’t have a solid system in place for evaluation and review.

This is why you should always look to define maintenance KPIs (so you know what you want to achieve) and maintenance metrics (that will help track if you’re going in the right direction).

To sustain the momentum of TPM improvements, and keep everyone committed to the process, you’ll need to create an enabling environment where:

  • feedback is encouraged
  • staff share their ideas for improvement
  • operating procedures are regularly updated
  • new best practices are always being documented
  • there is ongoing training and frequent auditing of new processes

Doing this will improve your chances of changing things permanently, and also prevent staff from falling back into old habits.

In Conclusion

Although we discussed just 5 mistakes during TPM implementation, being aware of these issues will help organizations to avoid needless frustration and wasted resources.

It is critical to remember that just like any other major improvement you seek for your company, your results will largely depend on your people, and they are not the machines.

139-slide PowerPoint presentation
The goal of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is to increase equipment effectiveness so that each piece of equipment can be operated to its full potential and maintained at that level. To maximize equipment effectiveness, you need a measurement tool that can help you understand your [read more]

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About Bryan Christiansen

Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO at Limble CMMS. Limble is a modern, easy to use mobile CMMS software that takes the stress and chaos out of maintenance by helping managers organize, automate, and streamline their maintenance operations.

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