Implementing Total Productive Management (TPM)

Phillip Collinsworth

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Total Quality Management (TQM) and Total Productive Management (TPM) can be effective management tools when applied correctly; however, when implemented haphazardly, they can be counterproductive. Please read some books by Deming, Juran, or Crosby before implementing either of these process improvement strategies.

In my experience, Total Productive Management (TPM) is more effective than TQM in a manufacturing environment, and while they can operate side-by-side, implementing both at the same time may overwhelm employees and create substantial resistance to change.

The basic concept of TPM is to increase productivity and overall equipment effectiveness through reduction of maintenance downtime of critical manufacturing or service equipment by empowering non-maintenance personnel to perform routine and preventative maintenance, within their respective capabilities. Based on current research, implementation of a TPM program is beneficial to overall equipment effectiveness and presents positive cost/benefit results, when properly implemented and monitored.

However, as in similar quality and employee empowerment initiatives, TPM can blur the lines between job definitions, distract workers from critical task areas, create hostility among employees who may perceive TPM as a job enlargement scheme, and may pose potential collective bargaining unit contract violations where specific job assignments and scope have been delineated.

The risk of costly maintenance complications resulting from low-skilled personnel attempting on-the-spot fixes can also prove cost prohibitive, and may violate warranty agreements on covered equipment. Safety is an additional concern, and any authorization for non-maintenance personnel to perform maintenance functions should be cleared through the employer's worker compensation underwriter prior to TPM implementation.

As a Project Manager assigned the implementation of TPM, you will need to iron out all these details long before proceeding with this management tool.

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