TPM The Untold Story Popular Myths Part I

BY SUNIL MALAGI-SENIOR CONSULTANT AT KAIZEN INSTITUTE INDAF - 2018-05-15

KEY TO OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE

Being lean and agile is perhaps the most essential ingredient for success in any business. It becomes even more challenging when the line of business has complex products and services involving intricate design and development, manufacturing and servicing of the customers in a fiercely competitive market. Operational efficiencies need to be at best and product portfolio needs to be constantly evolving, adding value proposition to the consumers. Businesses need to be ahead of competition and at the same time bring home higher profitability to the stake holders by reducing costs of operations and costs of holding inventory by increasing inventory turns to improve cash flow. Under the circumstances, it is perennial to the leaders that they challenge the resources to put in their best by running a continual improvement (Kaizen) program for achieving operational excellence.     

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is also a Kaizen™ program. It has developed into one of the most holistic operational excellence approaches encompassing all aspects of a business. Being a TPM practitioner myself, and having gone through the grind, there is hardly any aspect of operational excellence that remains unaddressed. It has helped many organizations worldwide to be front-runners in their line of business and they have set exemplary benchmarks. There are also several success stories of turnaround in business that has come with the adoption of this approach in their companies. It is seen in many successful organizations, that TPM is a way of life and has active participation, not only from the rank and file of the company, but even from hands-on leaders in the Gemba (Japanese word for work place). There have been many case studies that demonstrate a gradual transformation of leadership from top-down to bottom-up. Seldom do we see significant attrition in companies that have achieved laurels in TPM. The workforce engage themselves in operations improvement to such high levels, because TPM provides them a platform to innovate & improve, thereby fulfilling their higher level needs (ref Maslow’s hierarchy). 

TPM related perceptions

Some self-certified Operational Excellence experts very often write off this program due to several Myths. Some examples of prevailing myths follow:

Myth 1: It is merely an equipment maintenance program! Such people firmly believe that TPM does not extend beyond this!

Myth 2: It is a program limited to shop floor operators and middle level engineers

Myth 3: It is an extension of preventive maintenance activities in a factory

Myth 4: TPM is applicable only to such industries, which have production machines

Myth 5: It is only about cleaning of machines and correcting some obvious abnormalities

Myth 6: Its outcome is limited to reduce breakdowns

Myth 7: It is ok to paint the machines during a TPM implementation program

Myth 8: It is cumbersome as it involves lot of time waste in cleaning, meetings, trainings and document updating

Myth 9: TPM has very little role in developing a culture of excellence in the organization

……………. Innumerable myths!!

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Gemba Kaizen