TPM Methodology

TPM methodology (TOTAL PRODUCTIVE MAINTENANCE) originated in Japan in 1971. Its main objective is to improve the availability of the means of production and therefore the OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) of a manufacturing line. The OEE improvement of a plant means:

  • Quality improvement, well maintained machines produce less bad parts.
  • Costs improvement, un efficient installation has lower unit costs .

The TPM approach was revolutionary in the organization of industrial plant maintenance. The maintenance of machines is no longer only the responsibility of maintenance professionals but also of the manufacturing operator.


An industry that is considering implementing TPM in its manufacturing lines, should have accomplished the implementation of 5S methodology (see previous article). There is no point applying improvement and fiabilización techniques if the basics like cleanliness and order of the workshop is not achieved.

TPM methodology pillars

The TPM has eight pillars, but here we are going to present the ones related with OEE improvement of a manufacturing line (leaving other issues such as safety, quality and environment for a separate study).

Loss Analysis

Manufacturing and maintenance resources are limited, therefore it is essential to know where to apply. The TPM proposes a loss measurement system that shows the most penalizing machines in the production process. It is in these bottlenecks operations where we must focus all our efforts. Then, improvements have a direct impact on the progress of the installation OEE. The losses to be recorded are:

Análisis de Pérdidas

Most penalizing machine is the one with higher value, considering all losses types

  • Breakdowns, machine stops for different reasons (natural degradation, forced degradation, lack of skills …). This type of loss is traditionally treated by maintenance professionals even before the TPM methodology.
  • Small Stops, normally it is the operator who restarts the machine. Traditionally they are not given importance, but globally can be more important than breakdowns.
  • Cycle time degradation. A machine is designed to produce a part in a given time. If for any reason there is a degradation of this time, the associated loss can be very important.
  • Quality losses. The ratio of bad parts divided by total production. These losses do not stop the machine but have a significant economic cost.
  • Tooling exchange losses. This change can be frequency (planned) or unscheduled. The way to attack each of them is completely different.


Is the maintenance performed by the manufacturing operator. It consists of a series of activities (usually cleaning, lubrication and inspection) and have a daily or weekly planning. This pillar is very important as it specifies that the operator must perform maintenance activities.
The TPM offers a range of activities within this pillar to achieve progress in autonomous maintenance. Specifically TPM proposes a series of cleaning and anomaly detection sessions at penalizing machines. The purposes of these practices are:

  • Return the machine to its reference state.
  • Implement small focused improvements which may remove certain frequential automaintenance tasks.
  • Improve manufacturing operators skills and achieve their implication in maintaining the machines of their zones.


Planned Maintenance

This pillar is focused on maintenance service. TPM provides a methodology for optimizing maintenance plans based on economic criteria and efficiency. Achieve optimal maintenance plan is important to improve the availability of facilities and, at the same time, save on maintenance costs (spare parts and labor).

Standardization and knowledge management

This is the pillar that anchors the progress achieved in the previous ones. The improvements obtained should be standardized and workers must be properly trained. There are many industries that do not dedicate sufficient resources to this issue, soon losing all the progress achieved and above all, raising doubts about the methodology itself. It is better to move in small steps that can be maintained than fast but unsustainable progress. This idea is part of the TPM methodology and also part of Japanese discipline.


TPM methodology – Links to download:

Losses Analysis, spreadsheet to calculate most penalizing machine of the production line.
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