Total Productive Maintenance: What You Need to Know

Learn What TPM is, and Find Out How it Can Help Your Organization Perform Better

What is Total Productive Maintenance?

Total productive maintenance (TPM) is a system of maintaining and improving the integrity of production and quality systems that add business value to an organization. While some TPM philosophies only focus on machines, Milliken believes TPM should focus on keeping all equipment, processes, and employees in top working condition to avoid breakdowns and delays in manufacturing processes. The end goal here is a zero-loss mindset: no breakdowns, no small stops, no slow running, no defects, and no accidents. Companies tackle movement towards that goal using overall equipment efficiencies. The objective is to identify, prioritize, and eliminate the causes of equipment inefficiencies.


Overall Equipment Efficiency is dictated by three values: performance, availability, and quality. Each factor has associated losses:

  • Performance references the frequency of people, processes. and equipment performing at their best. Performance losses include running at reduced speed, and minor stops
  • Availability references the ability to use people, processes, and equipment in manufacturing. Availability losses include breakdowns, accidents, and product changeover
  • Quality references the quality of outputs from people, equipment, and processes utilized on the manufacturing floor. Quality losses include startup rejects and running rejects

There is a reason that TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) was the developed and implemented first in the timeline of manufacturing methodologies – it is simple and foundational. If you’re evaluating your options to improve your safety, quality, efficiency, or productivity, the best way to maximize your ROI is to first ensure you have strong foundational systems and the engaged and empowered workforce that is eager to improve and sustain. No one system is better than the others, but a customized system that establishes TPM fundamentals and culture first creates the discipline to later support efforts in TPS/Lean/Six Sigma.

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Understanding the Pillars

Many in manufacturing view TPM as common sense: of course equipment should be maintained (Preventive Maintenance), certainly those closest to the machine every day should identify and correct issues first (Daily Team Maintenance), yes! the work environment should be organized (5S), definitely production associates should be trained to operate their jobs (Continuous Skills Development), and of course effort should be made to continuously improve processes (Focused Improvement). Milliken precedes this list with the assertion that absolutely, we must ensure our products can be made safely without injury to our associates.

Pillar House


About Performance Solutions by Milliken

Since our 1865 founding, a commitment to continuous improvement and safety has been the foundation of Milliken & Company’s success, and we’ve spent the past two decades scouring the globe to discover the best ways to work. We’ve looked, listened, and learned; and we’ve used the knowledge we’ve gleaned to develop our own holistic approach to improve efficiency and productivity based associate engagement and to incorporate lean manufacturing concepts.

Milliken has developed proven performance systems in both operations and safety that can help companies like yours improve their outcomes by using best methods. These methods— based on total employee engagement, efficient manufacturing processes, redefined metrics and practical expertise are transferable and customizable. You can expect improved productivity and a return on investment using these systems that have been our company’s compass and foundation for more than two decades, in more than 40 Milliken sites worldwide.

Case Study

Chemical Plant Embraces a Holistic Operating System

Read this case study to learn more about how a multi-billion dollar, global chemical firm systemized best practices and realized a 4.5-to-1 return on investment working with Performance Solutions in the first year.

Case Study

Packaging-Product Plants Implement Performance System

Read this case study to learn more about how a $3 billion packaging-products manufacturer improved breakdown performance, reduced minor stops, and reduced breakdowns by 50 percent or more.

TPM Success and the Milliken Performance System

At its core, success in total productive maintenance relies on changing the organizational culture to engage and empower the workforce to manage the maintenance themselves. Leaders must also learn how to lead differently and support the newly engaged force. To achieve true culture change, you must be patient, nurture the right changes, and accept that mistakes will occur to the betterment of the organization. TPM requires the construction and integration of the systems that support the empowered workforce for long term sustainment.

Like other TPM strategies, the Milliken Performance System helps businesses increase productivity, quality, and efficiency by promoting the goal of reducing defects, breakdowns, waste, and other abnormalities to almost “zero” as the expected norm. But the Milliken Performance System’s distinction is that it changes the entire business culture by engaging everyone, resulting in long-term, holistic, sustainable improvement. Achieving long-term success can be challenging for organizations, and it takes a special expertise to get this right.

The system is characterized by a foundation of safety and strategic clarity and is supported by 9 pillars which continue to drive Milliken to continuous improvement.

By utilizing the Milliken Performance System, you can dramatically improve your operational performance and employee engagement.

Performance Solutions by Milliken

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