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Historical Background of TPM concept

Till 1950s organisations were carrying out breakdown maintenance. As and when a machinery goes out of order maintenance crew will attend to that and put it back to normalcy for production.

In 1950s in USA 'Preventive Maintenance' system was introduced. Under this either during the holidays or taking planned shutdown machineries were checked for their wear and tear. Necessary actions like, timely change of worn-out parts, repair etc., were carried out. Leaving that major cleaning operations, oiling, checkup of the set up, alignment etc., were done. Preventive maintenance helped to create an awareness and recognition about the importance of reliability and economic efficiency in plant design etc.

In 1960s the 'Productive Maintenance' came into existence. Awareness created a system of regular check on a day to day basis like checking up the tightness of the nuts, bolts, leakages etc. This caused 'Maintainability Improvement'. Preventive maintenance and maintainability improvement helps to bring 'Maintenance Prevention' i.e., considerable reduction in maintenance activities.

Japan adopted Preventive maintenance and Productivity maintenance in their plants. Seiichi Nakajima in 1971 made Productive Maintenance as Total Productive Maintenance. If quality can be responsibilities of the process control people, why not the machine they use also? He created a comprehensive system wherein autonomous maintenance became an integral part of productive maintenance system. TPM is achieving PM efficiencies through comprehensive system based on respect for individuals and total employee participation and it brought in autonomous maintenance in to the system.

Definition of Total Productive Maintenance

1. To set a goal to maximise equipment efficiencies (overall efficiency).
2. By establishing a total system for PM for the entire life of equipment.
3. Participation by all departments, including equipment planning, operating, maintenance departments.
4. Involving all personnel, including top personnel to first line operators.
5. For promoting PM by motivation management namely by autonomous small group activities.

How TPM work is done?

TPM is carried out by all employees through small group activities like Quality Circle and is part of TQM. Like quality control activities carried out company wide TPM is equipment maintenance performed on a company wide basis.

What said above makes it clear that TPM is not an activity restricted to production area. It is now a new direction in production. Modern tough competition has brought in automation and robotization. Now not only Quality but also products cost, inventory, safety, health etc., are dependent on equipment.

But they are not going to do away with human labour completely. Only output can be automated, maintenance still depends upon human being.

TPM has now dual goal

- Zero breakdown.
- Zero defects.

This has brought in the new definition for TPM.

New definition for TPM

1. Taking a prime objective a company structure that pursues production efficiency to its ultimate limits (= comprehensive efficiency).
2. Putting together a practical shop-floor system to prevent losses before they occur throughout the entire production system's life cycle: zero accidents, zero defects, zero breakdowns.
3. Involving all functions, including production, development, sales and management.
4. Having all employees participation from top executives to front-line workers.
5. Achieving zero losses through overlapping small groups.

Benefits of TPM

It is found to be benefiting in all areas



* Labour productivity.
* Value added per person.
* Rate of operation.


* Breakdown.



* Defects in in-process material.
* Defects in processed material.
* Cleaning from clients.


Reduction in

* man power.
* maintenance cost and
* conservation of energy.


Reduced stock (by days).
Inventory turn over increased.


Zero accidents.
Zero pollution.


Increase in improvement ideas submitted.
Increase in small group activities.

Now let us see to institutionalise TPM in an organisation what kind of an organisational set up needed and what kind of losses it prevents or reduces and how to train the people for autonomous maintenance etc.

TPM Development Programmes

There are four stages and twelve steps involved in this.


STEP 1 Announcement by Management to all about TPM introduction in the organisation.

Like for any concept proper understanding, commitment and active involvement of the top management in needed for this also. Senior management should have an awareness programmes prior to this and also frank discussion amongst themselves and a firm decision based on that. Once decided announce it to all. Publish it in the house magazine and put it in the notice board. Send a letter to all individuals if possible.

STEP 2 Initial education and propaganda for TPM.

Training is to be done based on the need. Some need intensive training and some just an awareness. Take people who matters to places where TPM already successfully implemented.

STEP 3 Setting up TPM and departmental committees.

TPM includes improvement, autonomous maintenance, quality maintenance etc., as part of it. When committees are set up it should take care of all those needs.

STEP 4 Establishing the TPM working system and target.

Now each area should benchmark and fix up a target for achievement.

STEP 5 A master plan for institutionalising.

Our next step is implementation leading to institutionalising wherein TPM becomes an organisational culture. Achieving PM award is the proof of reaching a satisfactory level. Do not forget award is not ultimate, as there is no limit for improvement.
Zero defect, zero breakdown and zero loss have to become a way of our life.


STEP 6 Kick off or starting of TPM

This is a ceremony and we should invite all. Suppliers as they should know that we want quality supply from them. Related companies and affiliated companies who can be our customers, sisters concerns etc. Some may learn from us and some can help us and customers will get the communication from us that we care for quality output.


In this stage eight activities are carried which are called eight pillars in the development of TPM activity.
Of these four activities are for establishing the system for production efficiency, one for initial control system of new products and equipment, one for improving the efficiency of administration and are for control of safety, sanitation as working environment.

STEP 7 Establishing systems for improving production efficiency

7.1 Individual improvement for manufacturing equipment efficiency thereby maximisation of production efficiency and reduction of losses.
7.2 Autonomous Maintenance
Establishing an autonomous maintenance system / Autonomous maintenance will be dealt separately more in detail.
7.3 Planned maintenance
Establishing planned maintenance system by maintenance department.
7.4 Operation and maintenance skills upgrading by training give group education of leaders training members?

STEP 8 Establishing initial control system for new product and equipments

Production engineering department must design a maintenance free equipment at the design stage and product engineering department must stabilise the operation of new equipment at the earliest.

STEP 9 Establishing a Quality Maintenance set up.

This is setting conditions without defectives and its maintenance and control.

STEP 10 Establishing systems to improve.

Efficiency improvement of administration and other indirect departments.
Support for production increasing efficiency in the department and of equipment.

STEP 11 Establishing a safety and environment management plan.

Establishing zero accidents and zero pollution system. Getting certified under ISO 14001 standards.


By all there activities one would has reached maturity stage. Now is the time for applying for PM award. Also think of challenging level to which you can take this movement.

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