Lean Training Consultancy.


Archive for the ‘TPM’ Category

TPM Principles & Application

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Back in 2009, KCTS starting blogging about Total Productive Maintenance which has been a core system within KCTS since it started in 1998.

Read it again below:

TPM Principles & Application

What is it?

TPM means Total Productive Maintenance. TPM is about involving everyone in creating and sustaining the necessary standards in their own areas. The standards must continually challenge the organisation to get better results as fast as possible.

A number of techniques are used to get the involvement and change in standards which are needed to deliver better results.

The techniques are often shown as a “TPM Temple”. This demonstrates that the techniques all aim to reduce Losses & Wastes, often measured by OEE, and apply to any organisation no matter the structure or products. Each technique has a number of Key Steps which need to be done to get the involvement and change in standards which are needed to deliver better results. The techniques focused upon within this programme are:

•    Focused Improvement, also called Continuous Improvement or Kaizen
•    Autonomous Maintenance
•    Professional Maintenance, also called Condition Based & Planned Maintenance
•    5S, also called Workplace Organisation
•    TPM Loss & Waste programme including OEE, Overall Equipment Effectiveness

Other techniques which may be applied as part of TPM are:
•    Safety, Health & Environment, reducing accidents, illness & emissions
•    Training & Education, improving consistency and delivery of knowledge
•    Early Management, improving the way new products and process are introduced
•    Quality Maintenance, reducing quality problems
•    TPM in Administration, involving people who work in offices and helping change standards in the offices to deliver better results

TPM aims to reduce losses to ZERO. This can be an extremely tough target for some losses, but ultimately satisfying for the people where the losses occur when achieved.

When to use it?

Identification of the type of problem can help work out the plan on how to solve it. Autonomous Maintenance and Professional Maintenance can eliminate sporadic problems by getting reliability back into the process, the area or the activities. Quality Maintenance will improve reliability of the process further to reduce quality defects. Other parts of TPM that can eliminate chronic problems include Focused Improvement, 5S Workplace Organisation and Training & Education.

What does it achieve?

Ownership of problems is only possible when people within the area, or activity, where the problem occurs can be involved in its elimination. TPM focuses people on creating and updating standards to share learning and tackle common problems. TPM delivers results faster than tackling problems in an unstructured way.

TPM aims to reduce losses to ZERO.

Key steps:

1.    Visit the area, or observe the activity, and investigate the problem
2.    If the problem relates to Safety, Illness or Emissions, select Safety, Health & Environment techniques to eliminate the problem.
3.    If the problem occurs regularly, every shift or every day or every week the problem is Chronic
4.    Select Focused Improvement, 5S or Training & Education when there are Chronic problems
5.    If the problem occurs regularly, every month or every year or every few years the problem is Sporadic
6.    Select Autonomous Maintenance and Professional Maintenance or Quality Maintenance as an improvement tool when there are Sporadic problems.
7.    Visit the area, or observe the activity, and check the problem has been eliminated


•    Most people do not mind changing, but most people mind being changed. The way that people are involved is crucial and standards must be written by those who work within the area, or activity. These standards must be communicated and reviewed by the other people who also work within the area, or activity.


Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Written by – Cordell Hensley, KCTS Consultant

How well do you listen? If you have children, you are probably good at ignoring sounds and even speech from time to time, they can drone on! But at the work place when we are discussing an issue or problem with someone or coming up with a solution once we have identified the problem how often do we really listen to what the other person is saying? Are we truly listening or is our mind working away, trolling through the old files of possible responses or answers to the points that are being raised?

Some may argue that a quick wit is a sign of intelligence, and it may be, but it can also be a sign of a lack of listening. How can you possibly listen to what someone else says and then immediately have a retort? If you are thinking of the specific response to the statement, then you are not thinking about what is actually being said. We’ve probably all heard about the ratio of ears to mouth, 2:1 and at some point in our lives we have probably all been told to use that ratio in our efforts to communicate, but how easy is it to do, in practice? And how important is it for a leader?

How much “lip service” do we pay to actually listening to people, really listening? How much time do we set aside to just hear what they have to say and then go away and ponder? Do we really need to have all the answers? Do we need to have them straight away? To me being a leader is not about having all the answers, often it is the exact opposite, being able to say “I don’t know”. But to be able to do this we have to be able to listen to the issues and understand what it is that people are saying.

Without listening there is no communication, just because I have a response doesn’t mean I hear what you said, I may have heard the words but if I haven’t internalised the meaning and understood it, really understood it, then it may as well have gone from one ear to the other.

Top Tips for a 5S Engineering Workshop

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Written By: Sean Cole – KCTS Consultant

Engineering Workshops come in all shapes and sizes and varying degrees of tidiness and organisation, however, most are not fit for purpose. A workshop that always looks dirty clearly needs 5S, but what If you see rows of shiny red tool boxes and clean benches, surely this does not need 5S? Just because a workshop is tidy, does not mean it is well organised. The fact that there is more than one toolbox tells you there is waste. As with all 5S, you have to start at the beginning and ask what tasks are performed in the workshop and how is it used as a base for engineering work elsewhere?

I have found that the starting position of most engineers when asked to organise their workshop is: It’s a workshop, it gets dirty; I haven’t got time to clean up; They are my tools, that’s why the box is locked; I need my own bench because then I know I will have a clean space to work. Clearly, there is always a lot of history, but this should not discourage you from ploughing onwards and making a start, history does not always dictate how a future 5S workshop will be organised, only the current required functions and operations can do this.

5S and workplace organisation are well documented, but I will give you my Top 5 Tips to getting 5S really working in an Engineering Workshop:

1. Engage as many engineers as possible is an open discussion about what the workshop is used for. Keep the focus on identifying current losses in those tasks; time to find, waste materials, cleaning time, task time. If there are time and motion issues, keep the discussion on track to “just for a short period, while we see how better it is to work”.

2. During Sort, the Red Tags have to be cleared! The problem with engineering items is they have a perceived high value. This was true when they were purchased, however, they are only worth the scrap metal weight as you don’t have the connections to sell them. If items are spares, put them in the stores system, then they can be easily found and used. All too often you have spares for large items of equipment, but engineers who have been with the company for less than 5 years don’t know where to find them.

3. The other main tip for Sort is how to clear the tools. These are often owned by the Engineers personally and there is a lot of emotion attached to them. There are two stages to this, in stage 1 start by opening up the boxes and taking each tool in turn and asking honestly when it was last used. Sort into three piles, one for in the last month, one for six months and the third pile for over six months. Be sure to split up sets of spanners and hex keys, just the ones being used. Document the contents of each pile of tools, get the engineers to take the third piles home. The first and second piles are placed back in the toolbox, the under a month pile at the top where they can easily be found. Now buy the combined tools from the third piles and place them on a tool board / shadow board in the workshop. After a few months working in this way, start stage 2, open the tool boxes again, document the tool use again to ensure there are no unneeded items. Now, buy one tool box for each person on a shift, i.e. 3 for 12 engineers to share across four shifts, buy the tools as per the combined lists and place laminated check lists inside the lids of the tool boxes. At shift handover, simply include the checking of tools against the lists.

4. During the Set In Order, make sure that work flow into and out of the workshop is the top priority in the proposed new layout and that there will only be one main workbench for everyone. For the weekly and month repeat tasks, create dedicated work cells laid out with tools and can bans for local spares.

5. What really makes the workshop function is having procedures and systems documented for everything; cleaning, work orders, tool storage, work-in-progress storage, dedicated cell tasks and Red Tag clearance. Keep the procedures simple, one page mostly pictures with clearly numbered steps. As soon as new tasks are identified, have the engineers write the procedures for these tasks. Finally, train out the procedures to all the engineers and include checks for them explicitly in the 5S audits.

If you would like to know more about how you can start 5S in your engineering workshop, please contact us here.

Top 5 things to do when launching a Planned Maintenance programme

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Written By: Stephen Ellis – KCTS Consultant

For those maintenance or production personnel contemplating introducing a planned maintenance programme, here, in no particular order, are the top 5 things to do:

1. Do you have the Leadership ‘will’ and commitment towards planned maintenance? To launch a planned maintenance system it will require resources – time, people, materials, systems. It will also require patience and persistence. Planned maintenance does NOT yield immediate results. It is important that the leadership understand:-

a. Why they have to have a planned maintenance system?

b. How to use a planned maintenance system to ensure it delivers effective results?

c. How to develop and create a planned maintenance programme?

2. Do you have a list of assets? To perform planned maintenance you need to understand your asset population and the detailed equipment information about each asset.

3. Where should you focus your planned maintenance resources and effort? With limited resources you will need to focus your resources based on priorities and need. Do you have any data or experience of what goes wrong, or where the risks are?

4. Do you understand the elements of a planned maintenance system – focus equipment and safe access to equipment, capable and available labour resources, available tools and materials, work standards and reporting, work scheduling, work and system review.

5. Do you have the necessary skills:-

a. To manage the planned maintenance system. Do you have to create the system? Is the system created? For both of these questions different skills are required.

b. To apply the planned maintenance tasks. Do you have the relevant skills to perform typical planned maintenance tasks – condition inspection, replacement, setting, calibrating, adjusting etc,?

If you would like to know more about how you can improve your planned maintenance programme effectiveness, please contact us.

Seeing is Believing

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

February 8th, 2011

Written By: Matthew Treby – KCTS Technical Consultant

Have you ever been to an engineering or morning meeting when a problem is being discussed that could be a machine, breakdown or changeover? I have been to many and the meetings can turn into a long brain storming affair when everyone in the room puts forward their own personal theory on either what is happening or how to solve it convinced their solution is the correct one. Each person defends their solution vehemently to not loss face with the others. So as no one can agree the correct solution to go with each idea is tried systematically. The result is many man hours and a major investment in parts, redesign and time spent with the worst case scenario emerging that none of the solutions work.

Production Line Problem

Stop! a picture paints a thousand words and kills any confusion camcorders and cctv system are so affordable now they can be used in any Continuous Improvement program. How much better and more productive would the meeting be if footage of the problem was able to be played back during the meeting so everyone could see exactly what was happening. Even better when you can slow down the footage by watching in slow motion or frame by frame. Now brain storming is removed and a consensus on what was actually happening could be agreed on. All theories are vanquished and the solution is visible in the form of solid facts. A solution to the problem is now easy to identify and furthermore, has a chance of working first time as the team would all be on the same page.

Video and film are hugely influential in correctly diagnosing such problems. If everyone can see how the problem occurs, the guess work is avoided as the evidence is clear to see by all. People’s personal opinions can be confirmed or disregarded and the problem can be solved quickly and efficiently in terms of cost and manpower.

Many different cameras and many different ways can be used to capture problems. How do you record yours?

Are you using Self Assessment Audits to drive your success?

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Written By: Paul Steven – KCTS Consultant

To control the quality of your products it is necessary to have an excellent understanding of the processes within your business. How are you judging your process performance?

Judging process performance of your systems can be measured externally and give you benefits, and it can be measured internally and give you different benefits. External audits can be objective, observation based and external audits measure a process compared to proven practices and experience. Internal audits can allow a much deeper understanding of the health of a process by assessors who use the process as part of their daily life.

Self Assessment is the process of allowing you to use a standardised audit to measure your process against an aspiration. Externally supplied Self Assessments allow you to measure your own progress against industry-standard aspirations or philosophical aspirations. Internal Self Assessments, especially when written yourself, allow you to measure the success of a process against internal aspirations.

Recently I have had the privilege to work with a customer on converting an external Self Assessment, supplied by KCTS, into an internal Self Assessment aligned to the company’s aspirations for the next 2 years. This allowed the language of the audit to be altered and the direction given by the company to be woven into the questions. This particular Self Assessment dealt with 5S, a subject close to my heart, and related to whether the process was truly embracing the Plan-Do-Check-Act philosophy needed to sustain and improve 5S within the workplace. My customer was at first keen to include specific documentation audits as a way to assess the success of the 5S processes, but as we discussed 5S processes and Plan-Do-Check-Act the need to evolve the processes became evident. This internal Self Assessment must look for the evidence of delivery of the process more than restricting it to a documentation checklist. Self Assessment allows reflection on whether the processes or the personalities are driving successes.

The resulting internal Self Assessment also has clear scoring criteria to allow every person within the area to understand and judge their current performance within the process. Targets are being agreed to ensure the audit is progressive. Self Assessment requires discipline to ensure that the score does not rise based on a need to show progress as openness must be the priority whenever Self Assessment is deployed.

To summarise, external assessment allows you to be compared to others but when written correctly Self Assessment allows you to compare yourself against your own aspirations.

The Do’s & Don’ts of Dealing with the “Nay-sayers”

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Written by: Cordell Hensley – KCTS Lean Consultant

If you’ve ever tried to make a change at work or implement a new policy, programme or project you have surely run into one of these characters; the ones who say “we’ve tried that before”, “it won’t work here”, or “here comes another management fad or flavour of the month”.  How you deal with these people can be the difference between the success and failure of your project. Even if they are not in a position to influence the project, they can sure make things difficult for you as the change agent. So the question is “how should we deal with these people”?

The first thing I would suggest is that we attempt to avoid it in the first place; we can often do this simply by communicating early, often & well. We talk about communication all the time, and we see good and bad examples of it. The better your communication with people involved in or affected by a change, the better that change will be accepted, implemented and sustained.

The second – and a lead into the first – is to expect resistance. Often the problem is that managers often think their ideas are so great, why wouldn’t the staff want to do this, that or the other thing? If we don’t expect the resistance, we will not be prepared for it. If we are not prepared for it, then we have a good chance of facing it.

If we have failed to anticipate it, or have anticipated it but been unable to stop it through effective communication then the first thing I would suggest is to try to find out where the negativity is coming from. Is it inherent in their personality (yes, there are people like that out there), is it the memory of a bad experience, have they been through many of these before or is it just the fear of the unknown or of change itself? Understanding where the negativity is coming from should help you deal with it and in many cases allows you to resolve the issues with the person or people who are resisting the project.

Depending on the reasoning behind the resistance the possibilities for dealing with it are many. Some suggestions for things NOT to do:

Don’t goad or push people into something they are uncomfortable with. You may have to force change through in the end but if you at least make attempts to understand the feelings and concerns of the resistors then you have a chance of allaying the fears or resolving the issue. If you force through the change without this “step” you could possibly make an enemy for life.

Don’t let emotions get involved. We are at work, this is not personal (or at least it shouldn’t be) and the more we can keep it on a professional level, the easier it will be to get to a resolution. Emotions build and people get more and more upset and nobody wins.

Don’t “lock horns”. When you are at an impasse or if things are not going well with this person, step away, take a break and resolve to come back later after putting some thought into how to approach the situation/person better.

Regardless of the reasoning behind the resistance there are plenty of Do’s as well:

Do listen and engage with people. Often the biggest issue people have is that they feel like mushrooms – kept in the dark and fed &^%$. Speak to them, communicate with them and treat them as humans- often this is enough to get past the resistance.

Do try to understand their point of view. While we may not always agree with it, resolving differences of opinion often requires the understanding of the other’s views. If we refuse to see things from their perspective, why should we expect them to see things from ours?

Do try to find some common ground. You may not be able to agree on everything, but if you can find some common ground then you have a position that you can move forward together from. Often in disagreements it is much less about the issue at hand, and more about the way we work with people. Finding common ground allows us to feel like we are on the same side. It reduces the barriers which will always help.

Resistance to change is normal, we can probably all admit to being that person at least once in our career. How we deal with it and the people putting it forward says a lot about us and who we are and it can be the difference between a successful project and a failure.

Quick Wins from 5S

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Written By: Paul Steven – KCTS Lean Consultant

5S has many specific definitions for each “S”. I prefer, Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardise & Sustain. All five should be applied together in sequence using Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) to drive a virtuous circle of improvement. PDCA means that rather than gaining perfection in a single cycle of 5S, success is found by repeating and learning from 5S through using it everyday. 

5S may be introduced by itself, but for quick wins I suggest you include the introduction of Standardised Work in conjunction with your 5S programme. Standardised Work is a subject entire books are written to describe and I shall endeavour to discuss it regularly whilst I blog. But as a start, the principle behind Standard Work is that if all people complete repetitive tasks in the same way each time they complete it and describe their methods so that others can do it identically then everyone who follows that method will have the same problems in executing it perfectly. Describing the method including symbols, drawings and photographs it is known as Standardised Work. As we strive for perfection in the method we can try to both understand and solve the problems involved in reaching perfection. Every time we solve a problem, we update the Standardised Work with the improved method and train everyone who uses it to ensure the maximum benefit from the improvement is felt. It is the fastest way to create a learning organisation where everyone’s problem solving is targeted for everyone’s benefit. Let’s look at how 5S and Standardised Work can compliment each other.  

When applying Sort for the first time you can have a number of benefits quickly whether using Standardised Work or nor. In addition to the removal of obviously unneeded items and engagement of allowing people to set their own standards at work, the biggest opportunities come from red tagging. Red tagging can be done using actual red tags or anything that you agree identifies items which may not be required. At the moment of tagging we just don’t know if the item in question is needed. The red tagging is your opportunity to deal with the item. In some simple but effective 5S programmes, the red tags will be cleared by quick discussion some that should be kept are disposed of and many that are not required will be kept, and perhaps shared to other departments within the organisation. This can form part of the virtuous circle of PDCA, but for a quick win from Sort you should use your Standardised Work to drive removal of red tags. The red tags should be kept or disposed of based on whether the items are mentioned within the Standardised Work. 

By having Standardised Work where all tools and necessary materials are accounted for, the red tagging leads to either faster removal of unnecessary items or improved Standardised Work. If you don’t have any Standardised Work, you should start writing how to work in an area whilst applying Sort as it helps you know what items are needed. Although you start writing the Standardised Work during Sort, as all 5S are introduced sequentially but together the Standardised Work will also be visualised during Set in Order. 

Once you try to remove any item using red tagging and Standardised Work, the real use of that item is quickly revealed. The item may now need to be included within a revised Standardised Work document or it inclusion agreed through a trial, or the item may need disposal and the proven standards reinforced. Whatever the outcome, if positive discussion and experimentation is used in the spirit of PDCA, progress is being made towards perfection. We are ensuring only that which is required within the workplace is kept within the workplace by applying Sort. Plus, we reinforce Standardised Work and continue to highlight problems which in turn can be solved by ensuring only needed items are kept in an area. As more problems are identified and solved, everyone benefits – KPI’s increase and work satisfaction improves as we strive for perfection in Standardised Work by eliminating problems.


Wednesday, November 17th, 2010
Written By: Paul Steven – KCTS Lean Consultant

Can Shine within 5 S bring a team together?

As written in previous blogs, 5S forms a foundation for improving your environment. If you need to improve your reliability or reduce the costs of your processes or even increase the capacity within your work place, you should consider using 5S.

The first S, SORT, allows you to select the things needed to complete your work which improves standardisation as only agreed tools, jigs and machines can be used. As Taiichi Ohno, father of TPS, says “Where there is no Standard there can be no Kaizen”, so we must try to get standards in place before trying to improve.

The second S, SET IN ORDER, ensures that you have a place for everything you kept from Sort and that you make it the correct place by thinking about how often you use it. Spaghetti Diagrams and Process Mapping can take Set In Order into the detail where you get quantifiable benefits by creating flow.

The third S, SHINE, will be my focus during this blog. Many explanations of 5S start from a position of single ownership. These explanations work logically on bringing pride and ownership into the work place, which is also true of shared spaces used by teams. When you apply Shine to your work station, in your factory or in your office, you begin to own the cleanliness of your area and set the level of “Shine” to where you find it acceptable.

But, how do you align your ownership with the others in your team when you all share an area. If you work at a specific machine or work centre, or have a desk within an office, you can own your cleanliness standards because it is your own area. Once that specific machine or work centre or that desk is shared across shifts or through flexibility within your business shared with colleagues as a hot desk, that ownership of Shine standards becomes more complex.

So, what can you do to get simple Shine standards? If you start with your standard for handing the area over to another person after use then progress can be made quickly to set Shine standards for Handover. These Handover standards are the best place for you to start building a common Shine standard. You may maintain your own Shine standards during your time within your shared area but if you agree a Handover standard with the other people in your team then you must reset to these Handover standards each time you leave.

Most importantly you should agree that every team member has the power to challenge each other to keep the Handover standards. Do this and success is around the corner for you and your colleagues. In the spirit of continuous improvement, kaizen, the most sustainable to grow commitment is to demonstrate success everyday. You must commit to your Handover standard before challenging others. Once successfully keeping the Handover standard, you will be able to think how to achieve that Handover standard throughout the day so that it can become a Shine Standard. Perhaps starting twice per day then once an hour and so on until it is attained naturally throughout the day. Once the standard is consistent across all the team, any improvement of the Shine standard has a better chance of being sustained.

Have you agreed your Handover Standards for your area? If not, I suggest you start today and if you don’t need a handover standard then I hope your Shine standards are ready for further improvement.

Early Management

Thursday, November 11th, 2010
Written By: Paul Steven – KCTS Lean Consultant

The benefit of learning on Innovation

In the 1990’s I worked as a Project Engineer & Project Manager for capital investments and introduction of innovations for a major drinks company, anything from smaller projects to multi-million transformational changes. Those changes in processes and machinery were driven by many things; reducing costs, complying with changes in legislation, but the most important changes for the business were innovations. As I continued working in change through 2000’s, I found that the organisations that learnt from previous changes benefited from innovations. Have you always looked forward to changes and innovation in your work or like many has experience showed that performance will drop and change is painful?

How can any organisation look forward to changes and innovation?

Early management is a process where you build communications around your business about current problems, study the details of your processes and conduct many small experiments to prepare for change. Many companies already apply Early Management. Some small experiments involving both designers and manufacturing staff deliver fantastic results. Other Early Management initiatives focus on fostering a culture of cooperation to improve the quantity and quality of communications around the business about current problems. Some organisations prioritise the study of processes in detail to understand the impact on individual components or steps within procedures so that changes can be risk assessed accurately. Will a new replacement hose’s connectors allow you to retain your changeover time? Will you need to hire more staff if additional checks are included in a new procedure?

Early Management creates a system to deal with communication, detailed study and small experiments before you introduce innovation so that you can look forward to the positive step change in performance from the next change or innovation.

Yes! You can look forward to changes and innovations with confidence using this powerful tool; Early Management.



KCTS Ltd © 2009. All rights reserved. Use of this website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use.