Total Productive Maintenance: What You Need to Know

Total Productive Maintenance: What You Need to Know

Learn What TPM is, and Find Out How it Can Help Your Organization Perform Better

What is Total Productive Maintenance?

Total productive maintenance (TPM) is a system of maintaining and improving the integrity of production and quality systems that add business value to an organization. While some TPM philosophies only focus on machines, Milliken believes TPM should focus on keeping all equipment, processes, and employees in top working condition to avoid breakdowns and delays in manufacturing processes. The end goal here is a zero-loss mindset: no breakdowns, no small stops, no slow running, no defects, and no accidents. Companies tackle movement towards that goal using overall equipment efficiencies. The objective is to identify, prioritize, and eliminate the causes of equipment inefficiencies.


Overall Equipment Efficiency is dictated by three values: performance, availability, and quality. Each factor has associated losses:

  • Performance references the frequency of people, processes. and equipment performing at their best. Performance losses include running at reduced speed, and minor stops
  • Availability references the ability to use people, processes, and equipment in manufacturing. Availability losses include breakdowns, accidents, and product changeover
  • Quality references the quality of outputs from people, equipment, and processes utilized on the manufacturing floor. Quality losses include startup rejects and running rejects

There is a reason that TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) was developed and implemented first in the timeline of manufacturing methodologies – it is simple and foundational. If you’re evaluating your options to improve your safety, quality, efficiency, or productivity, the best way to maximize your ROI is to first ensure you have strong foundational systems and the engaged and empowered workforce that is eager to improve and sustain. No one system is better than the others, but a customized system that establishes TPM fundamentals and culture first creates the discipline to later support efforts in TPS/Lean/Six Sigma.

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Understanding the TPM Pillars

Traditionally, TPM pillars start with 5S activities as a base, then expand to include the following items:

  • Autonomous Maintenance
  • Planned Maintenance
  • Continuous Improvement (Kaizen)
  • Quality Maintenance
  • Training
  • Office TPM
  • Safety, Health and Environment

There are many benefits to both Lean and Six Sigma, however, in Milliken’s journey to Operational Excellence, we set out to achieve better success as a company. We needed a way to achieve sustaining gains.

The Milliken Performance System is a daily management system which overcomes the limitations of Lean and Six Sigma methodologies by offering a comprehensive approach resulting in reducing defects, increasing employee engagement, and a safer manufacturing environment. The goal was to spend less time fire-fighting and more time on long-term systemic work that results in improved productivity through common language, common processes, and common goals across the organization. Utilizing the Milliken Performance System, organizations will see plant-wide improvements.

Milliken has developed proven performance systems in both operations and safety that can help companies like yours improve their outcomes by using best methods. These methods— based on total employee engagement, efficient manufacturing processes, redefined metrics and practical expertise are transferable and customizable. You can expect improved productivity and a return on investment using these systems that have been our company’s compass and foundation for more than two decades, in more than 40 Milliken sites worldwide.


TPM Success and the Milliken Performance System

At its core, success in total productive maintenance relies on changing the organizational culture to engage and empower the workforce to manage the maintenance themselves. Leaders must also learn how to lead differently and support the newly engaged force. To achieve true culture change, you must be patient, nurture the right changes, and accept that mistakes will occur to the betterment of the organization. TPM requires the construction and integration of the systems that support the empowered workforce for long term sustainment.

Like other TPM strategies, the Milliken Performance System helps businesses increase productivity, quality, and efficiency by promoting the goal of reducing defects, breakdowns, waste, and other abnormalities to almost “zero” as the expected norm. But the Milliken Performance System’s distinction is that it changes the entire business culture by engaging everyone, resulting in long-term, holistic, sustainable improvement. Achieving long-term success can be challenging for organizations, and it takes a special expertise to get this right.

The system is characterized by a foundation of safety and strategic clarity and is supported by 9 pillars which continue to drive Milliken to continuous improvement. Establishing a foundation of safety built a trust component of our manufacturing operating system. Built on safety, we established further goals and methods to achieving true, long-lasting success. The inclusion of strategic clarity as part of the foundation ensures that the entire organization has alignment around what matters most.

By utilizing the Milliken Performance System, you can dramatically improve your operational performance and employee engagement.

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