VKS company logo
VKS company logo






Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)

Total Productive Maintenance is a teamwork-based method of preventive machine maintenance in manufacturing for lean operations. Under a TPM framework, all employees are expected to partake in preventive maintenance rather than designated maintenance staff, leading to less downtime and fewer unplanned stops that add to production waste.

Key Takeaways

What Is The Purpose of TPM?

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a methodology that aims to increase the availability and reliability of manufacturing equipment. It can be applied to all kinds of machinery, including electrical and mechanical equipment, computers, and software.

TPM has been used by companies around the world for over 80 years, but it's still gaining popularity in recent years because of its effectiveness at improving productivity and quality while reducing maintenance costs over time.

Some of the purposes of Total Productive Maintenance are for ensuring security and standardizing shared processes, avoiding sunk costs due to equipment malfunctions, and sharing responsibility for equipment and processes which leads to empowering workers to claim greater ownership within workflow.

What About Total Quality Maintenance (TQM)?

TQM and TPM are very similar, indeed, but the former is focused on quality control and the latter is focused on predictive and preventative maintenance. You could say they are two sides of the same coin, and understanding the core beliefs of both systems will undoubtedly address manufacturing concerns for an overall more productive workflow.

Who Is Involved In TPM?

The “total” aspect of TPM is no joke – ideally, all employees from operators to maintenance crew to executives should be involved in contributing towards a totally productive culture within the company.

Individuals such as reliability engineers, equipment operators, and managers will be tasked within small, interdisciplinary teams to standardize processes like the machine cleaning, lubrication, and replacing parts as needed.

But involvement doesn’t stop there – additional effort is put towards preventative measures like spotting deterioration, monitoring sensors and IoT indicators, analyzing machine data, and outlining and approving more ambitious maintenance procedures for the future.

The 8 Pillars of Total Productive Maintenance

There are eight pillars that construct the foundation of a solid TPM strategy:

1. Autonomous Maintenance

Autonomous maintenance refers to the routine responsibilities of machine operators that should occur on a frequent basis, such as cleaning, lubrication, and checking for basic issues like defects.

2. Focused Improvement

Focused improvement is a way of organizing small teams for combining collective talent and awareness. This teamwork works to identify areas of preventative maintenance as well as continuously improve workflows.

3. Planned Maintenance

Planned maintenance is intermittent, scheduled upkeep of worn or broken machine parts by trained mechanics and engineers.

4. Quality Maintenance

Quality maintenance involves applying root causes analysis to uncover new ways of incorporating preventative maintenance through automated error detection.

5. Early Equipment Management

Early Equipment Management is applying practical knowledge of operations to new designs for machinery within the production process.

6. Education and Training

Education and training address knowledge and skills gaps within all levels of your workforce in order to standardize tribal knowledge.

7. Office Administration

Office administration is a crucial area where TPM techniques can be applied to improve scheduling, materials acquisition, and flow of information within an organization.

8. Safety, Health, & Environment

Environmental health and safety are important aspects of creating a sustainable TPM plan, and are essentially for keeping your workforce safe and content.

Together, these facets of TPM thinking address all areas of waste management within a manufacturing company.

The 7 Steps of Implementing TPM

The goal of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is to increase equipment availability, improve equipment reliability, reduce operating costs and improve quality. TPM also helps to improve employee morale by giving them a sense of purpose in their work.

There are seven steps that experts have identified for implementing a holistic TPM culture within an organization:

  1. Evaluate the extent of existing TPM practices
  2. Found an IEP team (Introductory Education and Propaganda) for research
  3. Form official TPM committees
  4. Develop a master plan for TPM implementation
  5. Provide step by step training to employees referencing the 8 pillars of TPM
  6. Prepare implementation process
  7. Establish TPM goals and policies within a road map

Total Productive Maintenance has been applied in many settings, including product support services such as computer maintenance and information technology (IT) help desks; production processes such as quality assurance; transportation systems like railroads; military operations such as weapon maintenance; and software development projects.

It should be noted that TPM is not just for machinery — it can be used to improve any kind of equipment or process that requires maintenance over its lifecycle from design through decommissioning or replacement.

Ultimately, TPM is an improvement methodology that aims to increase the availability and reliability of manufacturing equipment. This means increasing the efficiency and productivity of your workforce, as well as reducing waste and inefficiency through measures like 5S.

A successful TPM mindset focuses on creating a culture of continuous improvement, where everyone from managers to operators is constantly looking for ways to improve their processes and workflow.

Discover More

Share The Knowledge


Read up on manufacturing trends and noteworthy industry news

Read The Latest


Enhance your shop floor experience and gain instant benefits with our work instruction software solution.

Start Learning


Keep in touch with us and our expanding, up-to-date knowledge base