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Total productive maintenance (TPM) is a new way of looking at maintenance, or conversely, a reversion to old ways but on a mass scale. In TPM the machine operator performs much, and sometimes all, of the routine maintenance tasks themselves. This auto-maintenance ensures appropriate and effective efforts are expended since the machine is wholly the domain of one person or team. TPM is a critical adjunct to lean manufacturing. If machine uptime is not predictable and if process capability is not sustained, the process must keep extra stocks to buffer against this uncertainty and flow through the process will be interrupted.. One way to think of TPM is "deterioration prevention" and "maintenance reduction", not fixing machines. For this reason many people refer to TPM as "total productive manufacturing" or "total process management". TPM is a proactive approach that essentially aims to prevent any kind of slack before occurrence. Its motto is "zero error, zero work-related accident, and zero loss".



TPM is a maintenance process developed for productivity.

Original goal of total productive management:

Continuously improve all operational conditions, within a production system; by stimulating the daily awareness of all employees” (by Seiichi Nakajima, Japan, JIPM)

TPM focuses primarily on manufacturing and is the first methodology Toyota used to improve its global position (1950’s). After TPM, the focus was stretched, and also supplier and customer were involved, this next methodology was called lean manufacturing. This sheet gives an overview of TPM in its original form.

An accurate and practical implementation of TPM, will increase productivity within the total organization, where:

(1) .. a clear business culture is designed to continuously improve the efficiency of the total production system
(2) .. a standardized and systematic approach is used, where all losses are prevented and/or known.
(3) .. all departments, influencing productivity, will be involved to move from a reactive- to a predictive mindset.
(4) .. a transparent multidisciplinary organization is reaching zero losses.
(5) .. steps are taken as a journey, not as a quick menu.

Finally TPM will provide practical and transparent ingredients to reach operational excellence.


TPM is a Japanese idea that can be traced back to 1951 when preventive maintenance was introduced into Japan from the USA. Nippondenso, part of Toyota, was the first company in Japan to introduce plant wide preventive maintenance in 1960. In preventive maintenance operators produced goods using machines and the maintenance group was dedicated to the work of maintaining those machines. However with the high level of automation of Nippondenso maintenance became a problem as so many more maintenance personnel were now required. So the management decided that the routine maintenance of equipment would now be carried out by the operators themselves (this is autonomous maintenance, one of the features of TPM). The maintenance group then focussed only on 'maintenance' works for upgrades.

The maintenance group performed equipment modification that would improve its reliability. These modifications were then made or incorporated into new equipment. The work of the maintenance group is then to make changes that lead to maintenance prevention. Thus preventive maintenance along with maintenance prevention and maintainability improvement were grouped as productive maintenance. The aim of productive maintenance was to maximize plant and equipment effectiveness to achieve the optimum life cycle cost of production equipment.

Nippondenso already had quality circles which involved the employees in changes. Therefore, now, all employees took part in implementing Productive maintenance. Based on these developments Nippondenso was awarded the distinguished plant prize for developing and implementing TPM, by the Japanese Institute of Plant Engineers (JIPE). Thus Nippondenso of the Toyota group became the first company to obtain the TPM certifications.


TPM has five goals [1]

TPM identifies the 16 losses (types of waste) (muda) and then works systematically to eliminate them by making improvements (kaizen). TPM has 8 pillars of activity, each being set to achieve a “zero” target. These 8 pillars are the following: focussed improvement; autonomous maintenance; planned maintenance; training and education; early-phase management; quality maintenance; office TPM; and safety, health, and environment.

TPM success measurement - A set of performance metrics which is considered to fit well in a lean manufacturing/TPM environment is overall equipment effectiveness, or OEE.

Further reading

  • Nakajima, Seiichi (1989). Introduction to TPM. Cambridge, Mass.: Productivity Press.  
  • Hartmann, Edward George (1992). Successfully Installing TPM in a Non-Japanese Plant: Total Productive Maintenance. TPM Press. ISBN 1882258002.  
  • Nakajima, Seiichi (1989). TPM development program: implementing total productive maintenance. Cambridge, Mass.: Productivity Press. ISBN 0-915299-37-2.  
  • Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance. TPM for Every Operator (Shopfloor Series). Cambridge, Mass.: Productivity Press. ISBN 978-1-56327-080-2.  
  • Leflar, James A. (2001). Practical TPM: successful equipment management at Agilent Technologies. Portland, Or.: Productivity. ISBN 978-1-56327-242-4.  
  • Campbell, John Dixon; James V. Reyes-Picknell. Uptime: Strategies for Excellence in Maintenance Management (2nd ed.). Cambridge, Mass: Productivity Press. ISBN 978-1-56327-335-3.  




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