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    TPM before Lean

    Total Productive Maintenance helps organizations achieve more than just equipment reliability, it also ensures a reliable process.

    By establishing a partnership between production, maintenance and engineering technical, through autonomous maintenance activities, TPM fosters cross-functional activities that become the bedrock to building and maintaining a reliable, capable, and sustainable process…a Lean process.

    Despite the difficulties that have befallen Toyota over the past few years, they still remain the benchmark for Lean.  At Toyota TPM fosters rapid continuous improvement through the use of employee engagement, employee empowerment and a closed loop measurement of results.   In other words, train your people well, empower them to use that training, and have a good measurement system in place to measure the effectiveness of the overall effort.

    Many organizations have jumped ahead on the road to becoming Lean without the proper due diligence around equipment and process reliability.   In conversations I find these organizations have come to rely on safety stock as a superficial replacement for reliability.  I always ask them…“At 38,000 feet, flying in a commercial airliner, what would you prefer – reliability or safety stock?”  I know what I want!

    Perhaps I am bias, but my experience tells me that TPM is a grassroots process that should not be shortcut if your organization is going to achieve the results it is after.  There is no such thing as equipment that lasts forever; there will always be natural deterioration.  TPM is the enabler that allows us to lengthen the life-cycle of the equipment.   TPM builds synergies and fosters cooperation among associates so everyone understands they are on the same team and all have ‘skin in the game’.

    Without TPM there is forced deterioration of the equipment which results in degradation of our processes and ultimately to ineffective Lean implementations. 

    That’s why I contend (and always will) that you can’t become a Lean company without TPM and I believe you are better served when you set a good foundation by establishing a TPM process before you begin Lean activities.

    If your company is engaged in Lean activities and you don’t have a TPM process in place it isn’t too late!  I encourage you to establish one…soon!

    If you would like to talk more about what TPM can do for your organization, get in touch.  I’d enjoy the opportunity to exchange ideas.

    Ellis New, Senior Management Consultant

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