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What TPM (Total productive maintenance) have to do with manufacturing?

Before we can begin to talk about what TPM has to do with manufacturing you must be able to understand what TPM is, as well as understand what manufacturing is. But if you are reading this article then you probably already know what manufacturing is because you most likely work in the manufacturing industry. But just in case you don't know manufacturing is basically an industry that makes products to sell, basically they take a variety of smaller products and put them together to form one big product that they then sell to vendors who in turn sell the product to the public.

While manufacturing is actually rather easy to understand TPM or total productive maintenance is not as simple to understand. But TPM is a manufacturing initiative that emphasizes the importance of each individual person. This manufacturing initiative is based on a 'can do' and 'continuous improvement' philosophy and focuses on the importance of production and maintenance staff working together. This initiative is presented as a key part of an overall manufacturing philosophy. Basically, TPM seeks to reshape the organization so that the company can live up to its own potential, which basically allows it do to everything that it is capable of doing and then some.

TPM encourages a lot of changes in the manufacturing industry such as:
- Flatter organizational structures, which means fewer managers and more empowered teams
- Multi-skilled workforce
- A very vigorous appraisal of the way things are done and this often leads to the goal of simplification

The reason why TPM encourages these kinds of changes is because in order to compete in the global marketplace the last thing that any manufacturing company needs is to get in its own way because of the way it approaches the business of looking after income generating physical assets. So basically what TPM is trying to do is to help the company rethink their business processes so that they can achieve improvements in cost, quality, speed and other areas so that they can keep up with the rapidly changing business environment and compete in the global marketplace.

But not only does TPM encourage changes in the manufacturing industry but the manufacturing companies that have already adopted TPM have already seen numerous achievements in their company. Some of the achievements these companies have seen and your company can see in the future are:
- Better understanding of the performance of their equipment, basically what this means is that the companies are achieving overall equipment effectiveness and they understand what the reasons are for non-achievement
- Better understanding of equipment criticality and where it is worth deploying improvement efforts and potential benefits
- Improved teamwork and a less adversarial approach between production and maintenance
- Improved procedures for changeovers and set-ups, which helps to lead to reduced costs and better service
- Carrying out frequent maintenance tasks, not to mention the better training of operators and maintainers, which all lead to reduced costs and better service,
- General increased enthusiasm from involvement of the workforce.

But one thing that you need to keep in mind is that TPM has a lot to do with manufacturing because it is a manufacturing initiative and it focuses on ways that you can provide maintenance to the manufacturing end of your company by having maintence and production work together. But the problem is that no matter how well you follow TPM you are still left with the problem of what kind of maintenance should be done and how often it should be done.

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