31 October 2017
by the Tetra Pak Editorial Team
What if you could create a working environment where increasing efficiency, decreasing downtime and ensuring quality is second nature. A work environment where every employee had a proactive approach towards continuous improvement, always looking one step ahead to identify potential risks, anticipate issues and take preventive actions to improve the effectiveness and longevity of plant equipment? This is part of the culture change required to make Total Productive Maintenance, or TPM, a reality.
The first article in this two-part series explores what TPM is and the many benefits of this methodology for food and beverage producers. But implementing TPM isn’t a one-time event; once it has been implemented, it needs to be maintained and managed for long-term, lasting results. And it’s not just about changing the way you work – it requires a change in mindset to get people talking and thinking holistically and cross-functionally.
Tetra Pak’s Paul Grainger, technical key account director, explores some of the most-asked questions about TPM in this Q&A.
Q: What are some of the top reasons plants implement TPM?
A: The goal of TPM is to increase overall operational efficiency while also increasing employee morale and job satisfaction. Taking a holistic view of your plant’s operations often leads to strategies that reduce operational costs and maximize efficiency.
Aside from the numbers piece of TPM, there is also a benefit to your employees. Ii includes everyone from upper management to operators in the process, building engagement across your company. This can lead to an increased sense of ownership, higher job satisfaction and better employee retention.
Q: I’m interested in putting TPM into practice, but not everyone in my company is convinced. What can I do?
A: Implementing TPM definitely requires a strategic vision, not just for those involved in day-to-day plant operations, but one the whole company can get behind.
It might be helpful to consult with a TPM expert to conduct a preliminary ROI study and to get a better idea of what the process might entail for your specific operations. Oftentimes, middle management can be the most hesitant, so having this information could help you sell them on it and build a vision that they can relate and subscribe to. Effective and sustained change management is critical.
Once you decide to start your TPM journey, be sure to conduct a baseline study first. Not only will this help identify areas for improvement as you begin, but it will also be your main way to determine how TPM has impacted your operations. Being able to quantify your improvements will provide a solid justification for continuing the program into the future.
Q: What are some ways to accomplish and manage the culture change that TPM requires?
A: The biggest key is communication. Communicate well, and communicate often. From the outset, be clear about why TPM is being implemented, its benefits and how the process is going to work. Be careful not to create an environment where employees think TPM is here to fix some kind of problem; rather, focus your message on how TPM can help them. To succeed, it needs to be a bottom-up approach, consistently supported and facilitated by leadership at all levels.
Holding proper training and ongoing meetings in support of TPM is another important step – not just for management, but for everyone involved.
Lastly, use accountability and incentives to your advantage. Give employees targets and goals as a way to empower themselves and hold themselves and others accountable to those objectives. And creating an incentive or recognition program can go a long way toward meeting those goals and celebrating achievements along the way.
Q: How long can the process take?
A: To initially implement TPM, it really depends on how big your operations are, everyone’s cooperation level, the thoroughness of your planning and more. And TPM is never a “one and done” process. It requires continual support from the top down to keep it going. So, the process basically doesn’t end, however, it becomes engrained in the company’s way of working.
Q: Where can I get more resources and support on TPM?
A: Working with an experienced TPM practitioner is key to success. It ensures better results and faster improvement time. Be sure to select someone with a track record of success who will be there not just for the initial implementation and training, but who can provide continual support and guidance.

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