15 Modern role of asset care and TPM

Although TPM is better explained as Total Productive Manufacturing, the way in which maintenance is perceived is a key indicator of a world-class perspective.

How does 'asset care' impact on the business drivers and hence the OEE, productivity, cost, quality, delivery, safety, morale and the environment?

In the world-class manufacturing companies there is one common denominator: a firm conviction that their major assets are their machines, equipment and processes, together with the people who operate and maintain them. The managers of these companies also recognize a simple fact: it is the same people and equipment that are the true wealth creators of the enterprise. They are the ones that add the value. TPM is about asset care, which has a much more embracing meaning than the word 'maintenance'.

The traditional approach to industrial maintenance has been based on a functional department with skilled fitters, electricians, instrument engineers and specialists headed by a maintenance superintendent or works engineer. The department was supported by its own workshop and stores containing spares known from experience to be required to keep the plant running. The maintenance team would take great pride in its ability to 'fix' a breakdown or failure in minimum time, working overnight or at weekends and achieving the seemingly impossible. Specialized spares and replacements would be held in stock or squirrelled away in anticipation of breakdowns.

In the period after the Second World War this concept of breakdown maintenance prevailed. It was not until the 1960s that fixed interval overhaul became popular; this entailed maintenance intervention every three months or after producing 50 000 units or running 500 hours or 20 000 miles. The limitation of the regular interval approach is that it assumes that every machine element will perform in a stable, consistent manner. However, in practical situations this does not necessarily apply. There is also the well-known syndrome of trouble after overhaul: a machine which is performing satisfactorily may be disturbed by maintenance work, and some minor variation or defect in reassembly can lead to subsequent problems.

It is interesting to consider some statistics of actual maintenance performance in the early 1990s. Much of the material quoted below has been derived from a survey carried out by the journal Works Management based on a sample of 407 companies in 1991.

Expenditure on maintenance in the European Union (EU) countries has been estimated at approaching 5 per cent of total turnover, with a total annual spend of between £85 billion and £110 billion. This spend is equivalent to the total industrial output of Holland, or between 10 per cent and 12 per cent of EU industries' added value. Some 2 000 000 people in 350 000 companies are engaged in maintenance work (Table 1.2).

When we look specifically at the UK, we find the annual spend in 1991 was £14 billion, twice the UK trade deficit at that time or 5 per cent of annual turnover. It also equates with three times the annual value of new plant investment in 1991 or 18 per cent of the book value of existing plant (Table 1.3).

Table 1.2 Maintenance expenditure as a percentage of turnover in EC countries
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