5 total productive maintenance (TPM) myths

TPM has been around industry for over 25 years, and yet is still an new concept to many organizations. There are many myths and misunderstandings about TPM that circulate industry.



By Greg Folts, President, Marshall Institute

TPM has been around industry for over 25 years, and yet is still an new concept to many organizations. There are many myths and misunderstandings about TPM that circulate industry. Here are few myths and the correlating truths:

Myth #1 - TPM is all about operator based maintenance

WRONG. While a solid TPM process includes operator care of equipment, it is not the only element. We must combine solid maintenance practices, training development, equipment improvement, and equipment design excellence. Operator care is critical, but alone will not result in significant reliability improvement.

Myth #2 - TPM can be driven by one passionate champion

While we need a champion, this passion must be developed into a coalition for change. This is the only way to drive the deep roots required to weather the seasons of the business cycle. In addition we should develop floor level champions that own the process for a specific area of the plant.

Myth #3 - Many Kaizen workshops strung together will result in sustainable change

This simply will not get us to our destination. We need strategy and a mix of quick wins and system improvements. Do not confuse activity with accomplishment.

Myth #4 - TPM will become so much a part of the culture that we will not need to focus on the process any longer

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but think of TPM like a garden. Weed are always trying to creep back in. A gardener pulls the weeds as they pop up to keep the pretty rows and organized garden. The weeds of your plant are dirt, clutter, breakdowns, disorganized parts. Systems will help maintain the order, but we must have people tending to our progress.

Myth #5 - Teams are a waste of time and resources

It is true that poorly run, non -ocused teams are a waste. However; strong focused teams are vital to change management and strategy deployment. To manage the change of many years of culture, we use teams that span the organization horizontally and vertically. People will support change they understand and help design. They also know how to adapt the TPM principles to best fit their culture. In summary, drive a deeply supported team-lead culture change to achieve sustainable results in your organization.

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