Maintenance Tips

Greg's Total Productive Maintenance Tips

With more than 17 years experience I feel that I have accumulated some useful Total Productive Maintenance/Total Process Reliability (TPM/TPR ) tips.  In today's blog post I want to share a few of these tips with you.  They should provide valuable ways to improve and optimize your TPM/TPR process.

Total Productive Maintenance Implementation: The Importance of Communication

A crucial element to effective adoption and implementation of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is clear and honest communication. To support your TPM implementation effort consider one-on-one meetings with your maintenance crew to communicate the importance of TPM elements: operator care, planned maintenance...etc.  

By sitting one-on-one with your crew you can answer questions directly and discuss the importance of the initiative. Just as important as expressing the virtues of TPM is getting a feel for the level of maintenance support and having the opportunity to answer any questions that the crew may have. It will pay huge dividends to face issues upfront and convert possible skeptics into TPM supporters.



Maintenance Troubleshooting (Quick Tip)


The first key element to solid troubleshooting is "Understanding the System".   If you do not understand the system, read the manuals, articles, web information, and/or Youtube videos to get up to speed.

Of course the best time to invest in the research is before the equipment is down!



Keeping TPM active in your organization (Quick Tip)


Don’t let Total Productive Maintenance become a “flavor of the month”. Communication is key to keeping Total Productive Maintenance active in your organization. Consider promoting it using signs, banners, t-shirts, communication boards, pens, note pads, post-it notes etc. Get creative because you are now a part time marketer as well as a full-time Total Productive Maintenance champion. 

Bonus TPM Tip
Incorporate TPM cleaning and lubrication standards into your document control processes. This will ensure that you are in compliance with FAA, FDA, ISO, etc., guidelines as well as helping TPM become ingrained in your organization’s culture.

Analysis & Validation (Quick Tip)


PM optimization has two key phases, Analysis and Validation. I am going to cover a few key principles for each phase in this blog tip. I see the same errors voiding the performance enhancing purpose of PM Optimization efforts so i want to pass on what i have learned to support others in their PM improvement endeavors.

During the analysis phase the key consideration is to carefully prepare, in advance, a detailed summary of actual PMs and tasks associated with them. Those tasks should be challenged by the most knowledgeable people against particular failure modes. If the task lacks meaning and the ability to prevent a potential failure, the team should decide if the task should be re-written, removed or worth changing is worth having a run to failure maintenance strategy in place. It is importantto understand the risk and consequences assumed with a run to failure strategy.

Successfully Adopt Predictive Maintenance Technology (Quick Tip)

Before you invest in extensive training to kick start your Predictive Maintenance technology program, consider the follow simple yet effective tip.

Rather than risk the financial and time investment (e.g. purchasing equipment, receiving training) required to implement predictive maintenance technologies, consider trying a small pilot project using an outside contractor. With the lower initial expense and the enhanced capabilities of an experienced contractor (you did do your homework on checking out the contractor didn't you?), the likelihood of success is much higher. From this point your program can be expanded on an incremental basis. If eventually you have sufficient need and funding to develop your own in-house program you will have already built your business case and justification with calculated steps showing return on investment along the way.

Clear and Definitive PMs (Quick Tip)


PM's should have a definitive task to address each failure mode for any given piece of equipment. This definitive task should produce an indication of a minor abnormality before it becomes a full blown problem; this strategy would allow us to prepare a job plan for corrective maintenance before the equipment fails. This type of maintenance will produce the reliability necessary to move a company to World Class and show the contribution of maintenance.

If you have any maintenance and reliability tips you would like to share please leave them in the comment box below.  


Establishing Proactive Maintenance


How can you move from a reactive to a proactive maintenance environment?

One element of this answer, although not as simple as it seems, is through structure and organization. A key system for establishing a proactive maintenance department is setting up an effective PM program. The difficulty in establishing an effective PM program is keeping up with PMs when there is so much emergency work.

To change your behaviors and ensure that the PMs are completed, your maintenance crew cannot be pulled away from PMs to do corrective or emergency work. One way to alleviate this problem is to create a dedicated PM team/crew that handles PMs only. Now, as fires will still need to be put out you must establish a dedicated "Do it Now" Squad (DIN) to manage all emergency work. The beauty to this organization and structure is that as the PM crew hits their goals, the DIN Squad will have less emergency work to do.

Over time, with other elements such as planning and scheduling, this behavior will help to transition a reactive environment to a proactive environment.

Effective Planning & Scheduling - 3 Key Partnerships (Quick Tip)


There are 3 key partnerships that must be formed in order to make the Planning & Scheduling improvement efforts more effective. These partnerships are leveraged by good working relations and communication between Operations, Parts, and Maintenance. These three departments are the cornerstones of a successful planning and scheduling process.

One effective tactic to build better relationships and communication is to include your production partner in the weekly maintenance scheduling meetings. They can provide assistance in work prioritization and scheduling machine downtime so maintenance work can be performed.

Build relationships, ask for people's professional opinion, and communicate openly about what you want to achieve. If you make people feel valuable, more often than not, they will help offer more support than you asked for.

Micro-managing Kills Productivity (Quick Tip)

I had just received my new job assignment; I was to replace Jack as facilities maintenance manager. One of the electricians approached me and said, "I just have one question: How are you planning on running this place?" Since Jack had been accustomed to accompanying his employees to the job and telling them exactly how to do every detail of the work, I felt I knew where the electrician was coming from. I responded, "I just have one question for you: How long have you worked here?" "Twenty years!" he responded. "Then I’ll tell you," I said, "if you don’t know how to do your job by now, then I don’t need you…My job is to tell you what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, get you what it takes to do the job, and then get out of your way!" You never saw a bigger smile!

Boost Line & Machine Performance with Equipment Improvement Teams (Quick Tip)

Equipment Improvement Teams are critical to increasing line and equipment reliability and performance. However, to achieve their potential make sure you have prepared well and have executed the fundamentals properly!

Equipment Improvement teams (EIT) can be critical to increasing the performance of a line or machine. To achieve significant results from your EITs, they must be properly chartered, practice good meeting principles, and be commissioned with a specific goal and timeframe. EITs fail when the goals are too big, unclear, and proper meetings are not run. Avoid these pitfalls and you will see a marked improvement in reliability and performance.

If you have any tips you would like to share with others or want us to cover, please leave a comment below.