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TPM: Total Productive Maintenance
Part 3 of 6


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Breakthrough Approach

TPM takes the approach that all defects must be elimi­nated. Even slight defects lead to significant losses as they accumulate, interact erratically, and as they grow into bigger defects over time. Dust, contamination of any kind, vibration, or any deviations from the optimal conditions for static and dynamic precision of the equipment, improper installation, etc.are slight defects that are tackled in the Kaizen and Ownership Maintenance efforts. The approach is to theoretically put down the optimal conditions for the particular piece of equipment based on the physics of the equipment, study the relationship of the optimal condi­tions to the equipment and worksite, and target the devia­tions from optimal conditions (slight defects) for elimina­tion through Kaizen.

Another key feature of TPM is that it covers equipment through the entire lifespan from concept and design stage through fabrication, installation and startup, operation, and replacement. It covers personnel from all departments (across departmental barriers) from Design to Engineer­ing, Production, Maintenance. Equipment Planning is a vital part of TPM activities. Equipment planning activities for new equipment covers maintenance prevention and maintainability improvements (to support maintenance activities). And achieving reliability, cost, performance and safety for the new production equipment.

The Maintenance Prevention Design activity includes de­sign for Quality Assurance, Design to Life Cycle Cost, and design for flexibility and cost efficient automation. Equip­ment Planning is achieved through systematic activities from equipment design to startup. Maintenance Preven­tion Design Information Systems utilize the operating information from existing equipment, from which equip­ment design standards for the new equipment are pre­pared. Weak points in the technology and design of the new equipment are identified at every stage and resolved using the checklists of design standards and needed quality.

The TQM team found that the existing requirements definition process was adequate—if the primary goal was to develop software. But since the goals were directed at improving business processes, the team shifted their bound­ary from one focusing on computer system requirements definition to one of overall business process improvement.

A business can be described by the processes it performs in order to deliver its product. A process can be defined as a set of related tasks performed to achieve a defined business outcome. Typically a process;

1. crosses organizations, but improvements to it are often limited by organizational boundaries,
2. creates output that does not necessarily consider the needs of other organizations involved,
3. has no "process owner," i.e., a person who is account­able for the effectiveness and efficiency of the process..

Each of these processes is interdependent with the other processes of the total business. As time goes on and changes occur in the business environment, processes will become unresponsive if they too do not change. Processes must continually be monitored, reviewed, altered and streamlined to remain competitive. Electric Boat has instituted the use of business process reviews as the primary activity to evaluate and improve those processes.

But reviewing processes is not a new technique. There have been countless "Red Teams", "Tiger Teams" and various and sundry "Quality Improvement Teams" in the past. Most of these team have done a great job of identifying the problems and providing recommendations to correct them. But there has been little follow up on implementation and measuring success. Little has been done to involve the experts who perform the process in bringing about the needed changes. There has also been inadequate focus on the people and cultural aspects of the process.

Finding the Way

What was needed to hurdle these shortcomings was a methodology that is easy to understand, simple to follow and flexible so as not to constrict creativity. Since Electric Boat is a culture has had a philosophy of "not invented here," they chose to develop their own approach to the review of their business processes.

Developing their own methodology would foster a greater sense of involvement, and a greater feeling of achievement. The result was a Process Improvement Road Atlas.

The Atlas was created with the goal of empowering indi­viduals to follow up on opportunities that they have iden­tified. It is a tool to provide a road map from the time an opportunity for process improvement is identified through the implementation of recommendations. Some of the major activities in the Atlas include:

• Identify Improvement Opportunity
• Establish an Owner/Sponsor and Team
• Define Boundaries
• Collect Data to Understand the Process
• Analyze Data/Identify Improvements
• Quantify the Improvements' Cost/Benefit
• Prioritize Improvements
• Make Recommendations
• Build Implementation Team
• Define Implementation Approach
• Plan Implementation
• Perform Scheduled Implementation Activities

The Atlas is structured hierarchically and breaks down each of these major activities into varying levels of detail including examples of many tried and tested techniques. There are also sporadic "lessons learned" from prior pro­cess review efforts. After all, "those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them."

To be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 01


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