During the last couple of years, we saw a significant increase in the number of TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) projects launched (or launched again) in manufacturing companies in Western Europe.
It seems almost unusual for TPM (as well other “TPM based” programs like WCM) to be reborn some 30 years after Seiichi Nakajima published “Introduction to TPM” in English.
In my opinion, there are almost two main reasons for that.
The first is linked to the way TPM disappears. We experienced a sort of “sudden death” of TPM immediately after the Lehman Shock. In a business environment characterized by strong reduction in production volumes and by a flat demand, the fight to increase equipment availability had no sense anymore.
Now several companies has restructured their production system in order to realign production capacity to demand, and with a slightly growing volume environment, to increase OEE rates becomes strategic again.
Another reason is related to the new technological development. We are in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution (known as Industry 4.0). Companies are going to face a new age, where machines will be quicker and smarter, but also more complex and more critical.
To improve the real equipment utilization (OEE) in that environment, in order to prevent breakdowns and to increase internal technical knowledge, will be a key issue to guarantee the expected returns on technological investments.
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