Total Productive Maintenance: Everything You Need to Know

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Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) - A Holistic Approach to Maintenance Management

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a methodology that aims to increase productivity and efficiency of manufacturing processes by minimizing equipment downtime, improving machine reliability, and increasing employee involvement in maintenance activities. TPM is a holistic approach that requires a cultural shift in the organization and involves all employees from the top management to the shop floor workers. In this article, we will discuss the concept of TPM, its benefits, implementation process, and the challenges associated with it.


There are three main types of Total Productive Maintenance:

1. Autonomous Maintenance

Autonomous Maintenance is the process of transferring the responsibility for routine maintenance tasks to the operators and training them on how to perform these tasks. The goal is to reduce unplanned downtime by ensuring that equipment is maintained in good condition and to increase operator engagement and ownership.

2. Preventive Maintenance

Preventive Maintenance is the process of performing maintenance activities at scheduled intervals to prevent equipment breakdowns and failures. This type of maintenance is based on the equipment usage and condition and is aimed at extending the equipment's life and improving its reliability.

3. Early Equipment Maintenance

Early Equipment Maintenance is a proactive approach to maintenance that aims to detect and prevent equipment failures before they occur. This type of maintenance involves monitoring the equipment performance using various techniques such as vibration analysis, thermography, and oil analysis.

TPM focuses on the elimination of equipment-related losses, which are often categorized as the Six Big Losses.

The Six Big Losses

The Six Big Losses are the most significant sources of production inefficiency in manufacturing processes. They are:

  1. Equipment Failure
  2. Setup and Adjustment Time
  3. Idling and Minor Stoppages
  4. Reduced Speed
  5. Defects and Rework
  6. Reduced Yield

TPM focuses on eliminating these losses through a systematic approach that involves all employees in the organization.

 The 8 Pillars of TPM

TPM is built on eight pillars, each with a specific objective. The pillars are:

  1. Autonomous Maintenance: Autonomous Maintenance is the foundation of TPM. It involves transferring responsibility for routine maintenance tasks from the maintenance department to the operators. The aim is to prevent equipment breakdowns by having the operators perform regular maintenance tasks such as cleaning, inspection, and lubrication.
  2. Planned Maintenance: Planned Maintenance involves the scheduling of maintenance activities based on equipment conditions and usage. The aim is to prevent breakdowns and extend the life of the equipment.
  3. Quality Maintenance: Quality Maintenance focuses on maintaining the quality of the product by preventing defects and ensuring that the equipment is in good condition.
  4. Focused Improvement: Focused Improvement focuses on continuously identifying and addressing problems and issues in the production process to improve overall efficiency and productivity. It involves using various problem-solving techniques and tools such as root cause analysis and Kaizen to reduce losses and improve the quality of the production process.
  5. Early Equipment Management: Early equipment management focuses on the proper management of equipment and maintenance from the beginning of its life cycle. This pillar involves activities such as equipment installation, commissioning, and testing to ensure that the equipment operates at its optimum level. Early equipment management also includes preventive maintenance, which helps to identify and address any potential equipment issues before they lead to breakdowns or downtime.
  6. Training and Education: Training and Education aim to improve the skills and knowledge of employees in the organization. This includes technical skills, problem-solving skills, and teamwork skills.
  7. Safety, Health, and Environment: Safety, Health, and Environment focus on the safety and well-being of employees and the environment in which they work.
  8. TPM in Administration: TPM in Administration involves applying TPM principles to administrative functions such as procurement, human resources, and finance.


Implementing TPM requires a systematic approach that involves the following ten steps:

  • Step 1: Formation of TPM Team: The first step in implementing TPM is to form a cross-functional team that will be responsible for the implementation process.
  • Step 2: Assessment and Baseline Data Collection: The second step is to assess the current state of the manufacturing processes and collect baseline data on the equipment performance, maintenance practices, and employee involvement.
  • Step 3: Development of TPM Master Plan: The third step is to develop a TPM master plan that outlines the objectives, strategies, and action plans for each of the eight pillars of TPM.
  • Step 4: Education and Training: The fourth step is to provide education and training to all employees on the concepts of TPM, its objectives, and the expected outcomes.
  • Step 5: Autonomous Maintenance: The fifth step is to implement Autonomous Maintenance by transferring the responsibility for routine maintenance tasks to the operators and training them on how to perform these tasks.
  • Step 6: Planned Maintenance: The sixth step is to implement Planned Maintenance by developing a schedule for maintenance activities based on the equipment usage and conditions.
  • Step 7: Quality Maintenance: The seventh step is to implement Quality Maintenance by establishing processes to prevent defects and ensuring that the equipment is in good condition.
  • Step 8: Safety, Health, and Environment: The eighth step is to implement Safety, Health, and Environment programs to ensure that employees work in a safe and healthy environment and the manufacturing processes do not harm the environment.
  • Step 9: TPM in Administration: The ninth step is to apply TPM principles to administrative functions such as procurement, human resources, and finance to ensure that these functions support the TPM implementation process.
  • Step 10: Continuous Improvement: The final step is to continuously improve the manufacturing processes through the implementation of the eight pillars of TPM, monitoring of the equipment performance, and employee involvement.


Total Productive Maintenance offers several benefits to manufacturing organizations, including:

  • Improved equipment reliability and availability
  • Increased productivity and efficiency
  • Improved product quality and reduced defects
  • Increased employee involvement and motivation
  • Reduced maintenance costs and downtime
  • Improved safety and environmental performance


Implementing TPM can be challenging for manufacturing organizations due to various reasons, such as:

  • Resistance to change
  • Lack of understanding of TPM concepts and objectives
  • Lack of employee involvement and commitment
  • Insufficient resources and budget
  • Poor data quality and availability
  • Lack of management support

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a holistic approach to maintenance management that can help organizations improve in various ways. By adopting TPM and its eight pillars, utilizing the various tools and techniques available, organizations can achieve sustainable improvements and remain competitive in today's ever-changing market.

The material provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to replace professional/legal advice or substitute government regulations, industry standards, or other requirements specific to any business/activity. While we made sure to provide accurate and reliable information, we make no representation that the details or sources are up-to-date, complete or remain available. Readers should consult with an industrial safety expert, qualified professional, or attorney for any specific concerns and questions.


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Author: Herbert Post

Born in the Philadelphia area and raised in Houston by a family who was predominately employed in heavy manufacturing. Herb took a liking to factory processes and later safety compliance where he has spent the last 13 years facilitating best practices and teaching updated regulations. He is married with two children and a St Bernard named Jose. Herb is a self-described compliance geek. When he isn’t studying safety reports and regulatory interpretations he enjoys racquetball and watching his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.