How important is TPM (total productive maintenance) to Australian manufacturers?

Total Productive Maintenance

In Japan, Toyota showed that to maximise the money you can make in manufacturing, you need Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). In other words, you have to take care of your equipment so you can eliminate all unplanned downtime.

It means you need highly trained operators to do two things all the time on your equipment: fault-find and basic maintenance. Getting production equipment to work perfectly is a key component of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

But how closely does the average Australian manufacturer have to listen to the discoveries of a large international automaker?

Sure, TPM (or, if you like, Total Preventative Maintenance) generated more profit for Toyota but at what point does the benefit of having preventative maintenance outweigh the expense of setting up Total Preventative Maintenance on the line? Let’s examine two approaches to equipment management: Reactive Maintenance vs. Preventative Maintenance.

The traditional approach: reactive maintenance

Potential Benefits: Hopefully, your equipment won’t break down. Even better, if it does break, an inexpensive, quick-stop solution may hold. With some luck, you won’t have to spend much money on repairs, parts, tools, or maintenance labour. Cross the bridge of “downtime” and idle labourers when you come to it.

The Costs: Reacting to maintenance on an “as needed” occurrence has the attractiveness of flexibility. Until you find yourself in a rut—unable to get the parts or labourers you need within a profitable timeframe.

The “putting out fires” approach usually occupies valuable resources, as key staff or technicians are forced to make crisis management time in their day.

Worse, when you do have to fix something, you are working on limited information. You’ll have to order supplies, tools, and trained labourers when breakdown happens, leading to unpredictable downtimes. And all the while your floor staff are idle, unable to do their jobs.

If products aren’t going out, and you’re unable to meet your commitments, reactive maintenance to a breakdown on the line could cost you more than is necessary in money, and sales, and customer relationships.

The lean approach: predictive, preventative maintenance

Potential benefits: On a closely monitored line, you have more information about the condition of your equipment. So you can discover what’s causing the breakdowns or production stoppages more quickly.

You’ll avoid the “grey” areas of assessment (and dodge unnecessary equipment purchases) with up-to-date, real-time information on hand. It also means you can get to the root cause of quality problems by ensuring equipment competence. When your product is coming off the line with first-pass quality assurance, you avoid the expense and hassle of rework.

Preventative maintenance is also a major factor in increasing the life of your line equipment. In fact, many Matthews customers have in-line printers on the field for 15 (or more) years—even though the expected life of most printers is 5-7 years.

The costs: Expect to pay a monthly fee. Costs are determined by your choice in company and plan.

But by eliminating the risk of unplanned downtime, and by using a company who supplies highly qualified operators, you’ll save the expense of requiring additional staff to handle the assurance of OEE.

For instance, an entry-level product like iQinspect gives you predictive analysis with scheduled inspection calls from a manufacturer-trained professional who has the repair parts before you need them. Equipment is only changed at the end of life, and all conditions are assessed to predict damage before it occurs.

The next service level, iQMaintain, is even more preventative. Offering the same level of scheduled checks frequency, and data analysis (giving each technician more information to work with), you can better manage your equipment assets. Savings on discounted rates for parts and maintenance are also advantageous.

The conclusion: In light of all of these factors, the Reactive Maintenance approach seems akin to letting the oil run out on your car: it’s far more expensive to blow a gasket than it is to get an oil change regularly. With so many variables, expense piles up quickly, even for smaller Australian manufacturers who are looking to keep expenses low and grow relationships with retailers.

Unless you’re on an equipment rental program (saving short-term capital) where you refresh your printers and equipment very four years with the latest technology, the Reactive Maintenance approach gives Australian Manufacturers additional ‘bad news’ such as the hidden costs of letting your equipment go into decline.

To find out more about our preventive maintenance programs, contact us today. See here also for why “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. You may also be interested why it’s something contract packers should be aware of, while this blog sets the difference between preventive maintenance vs breakdown repair (it may be a surprise to know that the true cost of a machine breakdown has been estimated as between 4 to 15 times the maintenance costs — don’t get caught out: choose a local provider, with 24-hour support). You may also be interested to see how inefficient coding and labelling equipment can waste time, money and resources, so check out 10 ways to optimise your current operations.

Read Matt’s article “Business intelligence: code for success”, written for Food & Beverage Industry News that covers TCO and more. You can find it here, along with other articles from our Thought Leaders.

Matthews: The Australian leader in intelligent product identification, product inspection and software traceability solutions
Matt Nichol

Matt Nichol

Key Account Manager at Matthews Australasia
Matt is a laser marking expert and has in-depth knowledge of product ID technologies. He is a regular at international trade shows like Pack Expo and is constantly looking at emerging trends and technologies.
Matt Nichol

by Matt Nichol

Matt is a laser marking expert and has in-depth knowledge of product ID technologies. He is a regular at international trade shows like Pack Expo and is constantly looking at emerging trends and technologies.

2 thoughts on “How important is TPM (total productive maintenance) to Australian manufacturers?

  1. Pingback: 10 ways to optimise your current coding and labelling operations

  2. Pingback: The real cost of unreliable equipment — it's significant

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