Total Productive Maintenance: A Complex Balance of OEE Metrics & Failed Implementations

CMMS Software / December 2023

Proactive maintenance methods are deployed in production-heavy organisations that rely on the constant use of their machinery and equipment. These operations share similar goals; to reduce downtime, cut repair costs, and increase equipment reliability using a CMMS.

Although proactive methods – like preventive maintenance – produce desired results (91% reduction in repair times, 9% increase in uptime, and 20% extended asset life), many production enterprises strive for absolute perfection. For that, there is Total Productive Maintenance.

Total productive maintenance (TPM) incorporates lean manufacturing techniques aimed at maximising overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). The goal of achieving world-class OEE scores (85% and above) is to stamp out production waste and unplanned downtime – the latter costs manufacturers on average up to $26,000 per hour.

Measuring Total Productive Maintenance success with OEE metrics

TPM is a method that relies on cross-functional teams – aligning with the Kaizen philosophy – to ensure no breakdowns, small stops, defects, or workplace accidents. It addresses the most common causes of lost productivity and aims to eliminate them. These are also known as the Six Big Losses:

  1. Unplanned stops
  2. Setup and adjustments (planned stops)
  3. Small stops
  4. Slow cycles
  5. Production rejects
  6. Startup rejects

But total productive maintenance (TPM) is a complex process, and although it has been shown to increase productivity by 50%, over half of all TPM implementations fail.

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What Are the Core Benefits of Total Productive Maintenance?

Total productive maintenance is a proactive maintenance method, meaning its benefits are similar to that of a preventative maintenance approach. However, TPM has several unique core benefits:

  • Near-perfect equipment reliability and availability standards
  • A strict elimination of unplanned downtime through rigorous planned maintenance and focused improvement activities
  • Achieving maximum product quality that exceeds customer expectations
  • Reduced costs associated with repairs and emergency breakdowns – It’s possible to see maintenance costs drop 25-30% over five years with TPM
  • Improved employee involvement and cross-functional team collaboration
  • Extended equipment lifespan through careful condition monitoring and planned maintenance tasks – ageing equipment (34%) is the leading cause of unplanned downtime
  • A safer working environment for employees with regular cleaning and inspections

How Does Total Productive Maintenance Work?

substantial collaborative effort in terms of employees and data sharing. This requires a transition in business culture that sees all levels of an organisation synced and engaged with one another, from top management to maintenance technicians.

To ensure shared alignment across business areas and to increase the chances of success, objectives need to be established. Examples of common TPM objectives include:

  • Increase plant capacity and productivity by 10%
  • Achieve an OEE core of 75% and above
  • No workplace-related accidents in four quarters
  • Zero equipment breakdowns in a 12-month cycle

The basis of total productive maintenance focuses on eight pillars that are built around a Japanese organisational method known as the 5-S system – or 5S:

  1. Seiri/Sort: Reduce and eliminate non-essential clutter from the workplace.
  2. Seiton/Straighten: Organise remaining items into one place.
  3. Seiso/Shine: Clean the workplace in its entirety.
  4. Seiketsu/Standardise: Create processes that standardise the above three components for longevity.
  5. Shitsuke/Sustain: Ensure the first four steps are continuously applied to form a solid workplace foundation when establishing the 8 pillars of TPM.

What Are the 8 Pillars of Total Productive Maintenance?

8 Pillars of TPM

1. Autonomous Maintenance

Machine operators are trusted to take full responsibility for routine and scheduled maintenance tasks, giving them a sense of ownership and empowerment. Such tasks include cleaning, lubricating, and carrying out regular inspections.

This is an important part of the TPM model as with proper care and maintenance comes better equipment efficiency – poor or no lubrication results in the failure of a third of all machine bearings.

2. Planned Maintenance

Planned and preventive maintenance activities are integral to TPM methods to eliminate the possibility of unplanned downtime and breakdowns. Planned maintenance plays out to a well-defined schedule of maintenance and repair tasks.

3. Focused Improvement (Kobetsu-Kaizen)

TPM is an evolving construct that incorporates small but continuous changes to improve overall equipment effectiveness. Employees make these changes as part of a cross-functional team operation, whereby the majority of departments work together and combine insights to identify recurring problems.

4. Quality Maintenance

Using Root Cause Analysis (RCA), quality issues can be detected early to reduce the chances of defective products being moved along the production line. Identifying and removing defects early saves time and money going into reworks.

5. Early Equipment Management (Development Management)

By taking the practical knowledge and understanding of previous manufacturing equipment – how it has performed, what issues were reported, what is the ideal operating levels, etc. – the setup and operation of new equipment becomes a quick initiation with fewer startup issues.

6. Training and Education

Ensuring operators, technicians, and managers are properly trained and educated in TPM principles is essential for success. This fills the knowledge gap regarding maintaining equipment, scheduling maintenance activities, and coaching other employees.

7. Safety, Health, and Environment

Health and safety in the workplace should be considered with every TPM process. By providing employees with a safe working environment, TPM tasks can be performed at their most efficient, resulting in an accident-free workplace.

8. TPM In Administration (Office TPM)

Total productive maintenance goes beyond the workshop floor and touches on administrative areas to reduce waste. This includes improvement areas such as work order processing and material procurement.

How a CMMS Supports TPM Pillars to Promote Implementation Success


CMMS Function

Autonomous Maintenance

A CMMS shows who has been assigned to each job and notifies those associated.

Planned Maintenance

CMMS Software makes it easy to plan, assign, set up, and track scheduled maintenance jobs.

Focused Improvement

A CMMS gathers and stores historical data to help report on loss of productivity and help find the root cause of failure.

Quality Maintenance

When linked with IoT sensors, real-time data is gathered and analysed to help identify issues before they occur.

Development Management

Analysing historical information regarding breakdowns, causes, and fixes to help avoid future issues.

Training and Education

A CMMS highlights what certificates and training are required for particular PM activities.

Safety, Health, and Environment

Stored within a CMMS will be safety procedure documents, operating manuals, and safety checklists.

TPM In Administration (Office TPM)

A CMMS acts as a single source of truth to bridge the information gap between maintenance personnel and admin staff.

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Overcoming TPM Challenges & Implementation Failure

Without considering risks, the chance of a successful implementation is drastically reduced, which is why over half of all total productive maintenance implementations fail. Common challenges of TPM implementation include:

  • Resistance to Change: As TPM requires the input of multiple departments and employees, it is naive to believe that all those involved will accept, understand, or participate in new lean techniques.
  • Underestimating Culture Shift: TPM is a culture, so switching existing maintenance methods can be complex and time-consuming. Without considering this, there may be pushback or rejection of shifting the entire maintenance culture.
  • Costs & Resources: Any maintenance implementation will require a dedicated budget, and total productive maintenance is no different. Companies can expect increased training costs of 10 to 20%, plus another 15% for added maintenance costs. These costs should not be underestimated and should also be compared to the predicted ROI before deployment.
  • Minimal Training and Education: Everyone involved in the TPM process needs to know their responsibilities and have a good handle on them. That includes training for inspections, cleaning, scheduling maintenance, and more. Without proper education, it’s likely the process will not succeed.
  • Not Setting or Tracking KPIs: Setting objectives at the planning stage is vital as it gives a sense of what is achievable. Without this, processes can get too technical and complicated resulting in a lack of focus.

For the best chance of success, a total productive maintenance plan should look something like this:

  1. Gain commitment at leadership and employee levels
  2. Establish a training and knowledge plan for employees
  3. Identify a pilot area to introduce TPM activities
  4. Restore the area to its basic condition following the 5S system
  5. Establish baseline OEE metrics and KPIs to measure changes
  6. Review and reduce losses from productivity and equipment efficiency by following the 8 pillars
  7. Schedule and plan preventive maintenance activities following TPM activities using a CMMS

Calculating Total Productive Maintenance Success With OEE Metrics

Overall equipment efficiency is a key metric for measuring the success of a total productive maintenance program – alongside KPIs that include downtime and maintenance costs. OEE measures an asset’s level of productivity by looking at three key areas; availability, performance, and quality.

By calculating overall equipment efficiency, leaders can gain insight into just how successful their TPM operations are. The percentage benchmarks are:

  • 100% OEE: Perfect production
  • 85% OEE: World-class
  • 60% OEE: Typical
  • 40% OEE: Low

To calculate overall equipment efficiency, the calculation is:

OEE = Availability x Performance x Quality

Availability is calculated by subtracting unplanned stops from 100%. Performance is measured by subtracting slow cycles and small stops from 100%. Quality is measured by subtracting production defects from 100%.

As an example, if availability is at 85%, performance is at 80%, and quality is at 92%, the OEE calculation would look like this:

0.85 x 0.80 x 0.92 = 62.5% (Typical)


What Is the Role of FMEA in TPM?

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a strategic approach to identifying potential issues and their effects before an event occurs. FMEA essentially acts as a risk management tool that can be incorporated into a TPM plan to improve equipment reliability and reduce the likelihood of failures.

What’s the Difference between Total Quality Management (TQM) and TPM?

Total productive maintenance is a subset of total quality management. Whereas TPM is a method that focuses solely on improving the production process, TQM is centred on improving the quality of all areas of an organisation.