Customers expect manufacturers to provide excellent quality, reliable delivery and competitive pricing. This demands that the manufacturer's machines and processes are highly reliable. But what does the term 'highly reliable' really mean?

Certainly, with manufacturing, process and service industries becoming progressively dependent on the reliability of fewer but more sophisticated machines and processes, it means that poor equipment operating performance is no longer affordable or acceptable. The overall effectiveness of our machines, equipment and processes is paramount to provide consistency of product quality and supply at a realistic price.

Coping with modern manufacturing technology that is intrinsic in the materials, mechanisms and processes which we invent, design and use is one issue. Delivering the manufacturing company's vision and values as a lean, just-in-time producer to its customers, shareholders and employees is another.

Some world-class Japanese companies recognized over twenty-five years ago that the effective application of modern technology can only be achieved through people - starting with the operators and maintainers of that technology - and not through systems alone. Hence the emergence of total, productive maintenance as the enabling tool to maximize the effectiveness of our equipment by setting and maintaining the optimum relationship between people and their machines.

The problem with the words 'Total Productive Maintenance' - and hence the philosophy or technique of TPM - is that, to Western ears, they sound as though TPM is a maintenance function or a maintenance department initiative. But it is not! On the contrary, TPM is driven by manufacturing which picks up production and maintenance as equal partners: it is no longer appropriate to say 'I operate, you fix' and 'I add value, you cost money'. What TPM promotes is: 'We are both responsible for this machine, process or equipment and, between us, we will determine the best way to operate, maintain and support it'. Perhaps a better way of describing TPM, therefore, is to think of it as Total Productive Manufacturing, as it picks up operations and maintenance as equal partners under the umbrella of manufacturing.

The problem of definition has arisen because the word 'maintenance' has a much more comprehensive meaning in Japan than in the Western world. If you ask someone from a typical Western manufacturing company to define the word 'maintenance', at best he might say, 'Carry out planned servicing at fixed intervals'; at worst he might say, 'Fix it when it breaks down'. If you ask a Japanese person from a world-class manufacturing company, he will probably say, 'Maintenance means maintaining and improving the integrity of our production and quality systems through the machines, processes, equipment and people who add value to our products and services, that is, the operators and maintainers of our equipment'. Whilst this may be a longer definition, it is also a more comprehensive and relevant description. Hence it is now more appropriate to think of TPM as Total Productive Manufacturing.

Over the last few years, certainly since the advent of the 1990s, a growing number of Western companies have, with varying degrees of success, adopted the Japanese TPM philosophy. The companies who have been successful in using TPM in their operations have recognized and applied some key success factors, including:

• You must enrol and secure the commitment of senior managers from the start.

• TPM is led by manufacturing.

• TPM is a practical application of total quality and teamwork.

• TPM is an empowerment process to give shared responsibility and ownership.

• The TPM philosophy is like a heart transplant: if you don't match it to the patient, you will get rejection. You must, therefore, treat each company or recipient as unique and adapt the principles of TPM to suit the local plant-specific issues without corrupting the well-founded and proven principles of TPM.

Total Productive Maintenance, an original Japanese management protocol developed to alleviate production losses caused by machine breakdowns, has moved on. Through TPM, more companies now accept the concept of zero breakdowns as achievable. From the foundation of striving for zero breakdowns, world-class plants are able to run for complete shifts without the need for intervention. TPM is still pushing back the boundaries of what was thought possible. This does not mean that people are no longer needed. On the contrary, it is the ingenuity of operators, maintainers, engineers and management, working as full members of the company team, which makes such progress possible, often working as a positive 'partnership for change'.

Based on our experience of working with world-class companies, this book provides a practical guide to delivering TPM benefits within cultures where professional cynics have had years to practise their craft. Based on the proven principles of TPM, the book emphasizes the need to build on existing good practices and to win commitment by delivering results. It is based on the author's first-hand experience of seeing TPM in Japan and then adapting those principles to suit the strategic needs of companies across four continents. It builds on Peter's earlier book TPM the Western Way, updating the scope of applications and tools. It includes more detail on the 'life after pilot' as well as the application of TPM to equipment design, administration and non-manufacturing areas. The TPM route map is updated to include the journey to zero breakdowns and beyond. It also provides a systematic structure to evolve from the classic Total Productive Maintenance towards Total Productive Manufacturing and, hence, deliver a Totally Productive Operation capable of world-leading performance.

Peter Willmott Dennis McCarthy

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