What Is TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) in the apparel industry?

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When talking about maintenance in manufacturing plants, every company has one objective- to achieve optimal plant and equipment productivity but with only a modest investment in maintenance of the same. Total Productive Maintenance is the tool that can help us achieve that.

“Inherent within the TPM concept are the aspects of enhancing the overall effectiveness (efficiency) of factory equipment and providing an optimal group organizational approach in the accomplishment of system maintenance activities. (Blanchard,1997)”

Total Productive Maintenance can be understood as a holistic approach towards equipment maintenance where the aim is to achieve the best possible productivity with no breakdowns, no unplanned failures, no stops, no defects and no accidents.

Being said that, how do we achieve it?

Proactive and Preventive Maintenance is the key.

The roles of production and maintenance teams in TPM are blurred in a way that the operators running or using the equipment himself are empowered to responsibly maintain it. Creating a shared responsibility for equipment maintenance between floor workers and maintenance staff improves equipment’s uptime, reduces the cycle time and eliminates any potential defects. TPM can enhance the production volume and employee morale at the same time.

The Objectives of TPM:

As pointed earlier, the main objective behind TPM implementation is to grow your plant’s and equipment’s productivity but with only a modest maintenance investment.

The 6 big losses of productivity

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is a performance metric used to measure the equipment’s productivity. It was developed to support TPM initiatives and consists of  3 components which takes into account the different types of productivity losses.

1. Performance: The performance factor has two losses that can be associated with it:
a. Equipment running at a reduced speed
b. Minor stops between or within cycles

2. Availability: This factor also has two imminent losses that can be associated with the machine’s availability to produce:
a. Equipment or machine breakdowns
b. Product changeover time

3. Quality: finally, the Quality factor is affected by losses of:
a. Start-up rejections which occur when a new product is being produced on the equipment.
b. Running rejections which occur during the production run which hamper the product’s quality.

TPM enables us to overcome the causes behind the above mentioned 6 big losses, by identifying them and enabling self-managed teams to solve the issues surrounding them.

Pillars of TPM:

The TPM’s foundation is a stable 5S implementation or else disorganization, indiscipline and inefficiency creep in, which eventually causes the failure of the whole TPM program itself. Once 5S stability is achieved, we can go forward and start implementing TPM.

To enhance the reliability of machines, TPM has 8 pillars or principles:

The eight pillars of TPM are focused on proactive and preventative maintenance techniques.

implementation steps or process can help us in our companies to effectively incorporate TPM in daily operations.


Benjamin S. Blanchard, (1997). “An enhanced approach for implementing total productive maintenance in the manufacturing environment”, Journal of Quality in Maintenance Engineering, Vol. 3 Iss: 2, pp.69 – 80

“An introduction to Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)”, Retrieved from: www.plant-maintenance.com.

“Seiichi Nakajima – The Principles and Practice of TPM”, Retrieved from: www.cetpm.de.

Prabhuswamy, M; Nagesh, P; Ravikumar, K (February 2013). “Statistical Analysis and Reliability Estimation of Total Productive Maintenance”. IUP Journal of Operations Management. Rochester, NY: Social Science Electronic Publishing. XII (1): 7–20.

Nicholas, John (1998). Competitive manufacturing management. Europe: McGraw-Hill.
Creech, Bill (1994). Five Pillars of TQM: How to Make Total Quality Management Work for You. E P Dutton.

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