Success, like fame and the summertime glow of the firefly’s light, is fleeting. One second, there it is. And the next, it’s disappeared into thin air. Time is as cruel and relentless as gear wear and corrosion. Nothing lasts forever. But some things require a bit of longevity, just to make them worth the effort.
Total productive maintenance (TPM), for example, is effective only if it includes a long-term culture change within the organization. Potential stumbling blocks are everywhere, and many organizations’ TPM efforts fail down the road, sometimes after success already has been declared and backs have been patted. But certain key performance indicators (KPIs) can help to gauge when you’re ready to claim victory.
“In any organization, with any culture change, you have to have people understand the reason for change,” says Joe Ghislain, manager, lean supplier optimization, for Ford Motor’s powertrain and chassis group. As a Six-Sigma black belt, he knows of what he speaks. “For long-term change, it needs to be built into the culture. It needs to be part of what you do. If it’s a program, it can be dropped. But if it’s part of your daily business and the operators can do minor equipment changes and it becomes a team event, that’s the real key. It’s really better if it’s the whole organization and not any one person or one team who handles TPM. When you can see sustainable improvements, that’s an indication that your TPM is successful.”
It all culminates in better operations and better quality, he says. “It all ties into that piece. Because it needs to be part of the culture, TPM should be a continuous improvement process. It needs to be an ongoing process. It’s going to be a balance of the manpower and time you put into it. You need to continuously review your PM process and your TPM process,” says Ghislain.
“One of the key challenges, especially in the beginning, is to balance reactive or unscheduled maintenance and preventive or scheduled maintenance,” says Jim Laprade, director of strategic marketing, Barnes Distribution. “It’s important to understand maintenance employees’ capacity versus demand. Making maintenance personnel more productive by eliminating wastes, such as looking for manuals, parts, or tools, in their daily work is critical. 6S activities help with eliminating some of this waste.”
Along with normal production parameters, items such as downtime, quality level, and throughput should be key inputs to your TPM program, explains Ghislain. “For critical equipment, there need to be KPIs,” he explains. “Mean time to repair (MTTR) and mean time between failures (MTBF) are important, but there’s another one I’m looking at – mean time to respond. If I have a breakdown, I know my repair time. I know my frequency of that breakdown. I don’t know how long it took the people to recognize it and respond, so you can improve that over time.”
If you know when the equipment went down, you want to know how long it took before the electrician or millwright showed up to start working on it. “You want to track it because, on the critical equipment, the operator might have to call the central shop, which might have to call the personnel to respond,” explains Ghislain.