Total Productive Maintenance and 5S are two methodologies that seem somewhat distant, but the reality is that applying them effectively at the same time can lead to a great synergetic effect that boosts the performance of your company even more. In the end, they both strive to achieve the same goal in different way, with 5S being a more detailed implementation that covers more basis. From some points of view, TPM can be viewed as a subset of 5S, although that’s not really a correct way to view the situation as there are some intricate differences.
Prolonging the Lifetime of Your Assets
The core of TPM is about ensuring that your physical assets – like tools and machines – can last a long time through clever application of preventive maintenance. But you shouldn’t just focus on the tools themselves – it’s also important to consider the environment in which they’re used, as well as the procedures applied in their use.
5S pays a lot of attention to proper organization and maintenance of the workplace itself, not just the tools that are used in the everyday work. Keeping your material base in a good condition isn’t just about maintaining the tools themselves. For example, if your workers have to constantly spend a lot of time looking for the right tool for the job due to a poorly organized storage, this can end up costing you a lot when some of those tools end up forgotten and ultimately ignored in their regular maintenance.
Keeping Things Simple and Streamlined for Your Workers
When all tools are operating correctly and the workplace is maintained in a good condition, everyone will find their job easier to perform and far less time will end up wasted in unnecessary communication. This is a common source of waste for many organizations, especially ones going through a period of quick expansion where many new workers are taken on board. You’ll want to be careful and plan for those situations accordingly, and proper ongoing maintenance is a great way to ensure that you won’t find yourself in a tough situation after a period of success.
5S also puts a lot of emphasis on standardization, which can further help improve the current state of your operations and make things easier for new employees. A commonly applied idea in 5S, for example, is to color-code items according to the way they’re used. You can combine this with TPM and apply different colors to items that are in need of specific types of maintenance. You can even match the colors with the condition grades recognized by TPM and easily combine the two methodologies.
Standardizing Maintenance Procedures
Why not take this one step further? You can standardize the very way things are being maintained in good condition, giving your workers the opportunity to perform maintenance themselves without having to wait for someone to tell them. Enabling this kind of proactive maintenance from your workers themselves can be a very powerful tool, one that can have a long-lasting positive impact on the company as a whole.
For example, a worker capable of repairing a specific tool shouldn’t have to wait for his supervisor to confirm the repair, as long as he can be held accountable for any problems that might occur later on. This can speed things up in situations where equipment issues arise, and it can also help bring everyone up to speed with how those maintenance procedures are to be performed. Of course, you should still have a set of dedicated specialists taking care of the most important repair procedures, but it definitely can’t hurt if you get everyone on board in some capacity.
Combining two methodologies with so much power behind them like Total Productive Maintenance and 5S can lead to some amazing results, especially in an organization that suffers a lot from waste in equipment condition. Of course, you should approach this in a careful and educated way instead of just blindly rushing to glue the two together, but as long as you’re already somewhat experienced with lean practices and the appropriate way of thinking that they require, you shouldn’t face any difficult issues.