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How To Customise TPM Implementation To Suit Your Organization Culture

By 29th April 2019 July 1st, 2020 No Comments

TPM was developed in Japan between 1950 to 1970.  Like TQM, Lean and Six Sigma, TPM also one of the proven strategies for Operational Excellence.  Seiichi Nakajima is regarded as Guru of TPM. The Core of TPM is Machines and Equipments.  Some people called TPM as Medical Science for Machines.

Similar to Lean, TQM and Six Sigma; TPM is also expanded beyond manufacturing Industry. Today even healthcare Industry, Hospitality Industry and Service Industries are exploring the possibilities of Integrating TPM in to their Business Excellence Strategies.

While more details on TPM are available in many websites and Wikipedia, the purpose of this blog is to provide our insights on how to make it work in different Countries, Industries and cultures.

Managing Change is a challenge from Centuries. One of the TPM principles says Operators responsible for maintaining their own machines by doing daily Cleaning, Lubrication, Inspection, Tightening and Adjustment (Popularly known as CLITA).It is easy to sell this concept in Japanese Auto companies like Toyota Honda and their subsidiaries in other countries.  But think about taking it beyond Japan and Automotive Industries. It will be a very tough task. The first resistance comes from Production Managers and Supervisors (not from Operators!)

Based on decades of our experience in implementing operational Excellence in various cultures, we suggest the following steps to make your TPM Journey successful.  These steps are based on a simple and yet powerful tool called 5W1H (What, Why, Where, When, Who and How)

  1. First ask WHAT are the strategies which helps you to achieve your organization goals. If one of the answers is TPM go to next Steps .My post in LinkedIn Synergy of TQM, TPM, LEAN and SIX SIGMA simplified! I tried to explain the application of different methodologies https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/synergy-tqm-tpm-lean-six-sigma-simplified-ramesh-p-r-/
  2. The second question is Where you can implement TPM and WHY. TPM can be implemented only to certain areas to solve some chronic problems OR this can be adopted at the top level as a Strategy. If your objective is Cultural transformation, TPM need to be adopted by the Top Management as a Key strategy
  3. Once it is decided to implement TPM, the next questions are WHO and WHEN. This again depends on Step 2. If it is a top level strategy, then Steering Committee (High Level) should own the responsibility.  The roadmap answers the question WHEN?
  4. The last question Left is HOW? . To answer this, we need to refer JiPM’s 12 Step methodology.JiPM – Japanese Institute of Plant Maintenance is the organization provides complete guidelines TPM implementation.

Below are some of the reasons for Failure of TPM implementation.

  1. TPM is just adopted as a problem solving tool by Maintenance department – The core ideology behind TPM is Total Employee Involvement. Many people mis-understand the letter M in TPM as Maintenance department. It is wrong. T stands for TOTAL meaning 100 % involvement including top, middle and frontline management. P stands for Productivity of all functions and processes and M stands for Maintenance or Sustenance of the gains through standardization and cultural transformation.  The secret of TPM’s success is commitment from leadership team.
  2. TPM is used a Flavour of the Monthconcept – Successful implementation of TPM need minimum 3 years of consistent efforts. Some organizations shift gears from TPM to LEAN to Six Sigma. This problem occurs typically in the organizations where Leadership changes within a span of 1-2 years. Every new CEO comes with his own thoughts , ideas and jargons which confuses people and make them cynical.
  3. Try to solve all Problems through TPM – “If hammer is the only tool you have, you tend to see every problem as a nail” – Abraham Maslow. Different problems need different approaches.  Identify bring those tools under TPM umbrella. For example; Tool Changeover is a problem, SMED or Quick Changeover is the solution. This is considered as a Lean tool but can be brought under TPM umbrella. Similarly Six Sigma has good tools to solve issues related to variation (ex: Statistical Process Control) and those tools can be brought under TPM umbrella.
  4. Implementing TPM just to satisfy Customers – Some organizations implement TPM because of customers pressure. This just wastes time and money. It may help in short –term to make customer happy but it seriously affects in the long-term. Both customer and organization play very important role in overcoming this issue.
  5. Not linking TPM to companies Balance Sheet and P&L – The popularity and success of Six Sigma (particularly in companies like GE) can be attributed to its linkage with financial statements. Though we can expect little financial impact during first 12 months, at some point of time, we need to link TPM with financial results. After all every investment need to be justified by ROI!
  6. Not aligning TPM with Management Systems – Management Systems like ISO 9001, IATF 16949, AS 9100, and ISO 14001 etc should be linked to TPM and brought under TPM umbrella. For example Quality Management Systems can be linked to QM pillar of TPM and ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 can be linked with SHE pillar.
  7. Trying to copy and paste – “One size fits all” will not work for Operational excellence. Best examples are the organizations that tried to copy Toyota model and failed. Customization is very important based on Industry and culture.  This requires much broader and innovative thinking particularly by the leadership team. Taking the help of a Sensei (Guru) will shorten the lead-time for customization.

By overcoming the above 7 issues organizations can successfully implement TPM and reap the benefits.

The Author is Principal Coach and Consultant at “Seven Steps Business Transformation Systems “

Seven Steps Business Transformation Systems is Indian Based organization which provides solutions on Business Excellence. Focus areas are Manufacturing, Service, Education and Healthcare.To find our how your organization can benefit from Business Excellence, get in touch with us.


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