In the ever more competitive marketplace, manufacturing companies are under relentless pressure to increase profit margins, improve market shares and expand product portfolios while ensuring low-cost production, enabling a highly agile supply chain and serving a global market. These aren’t trivial challenges, and every company deals with them in unique ways. Companies constantly look for best practices and new management philosophies that can help meet these challenges and leapfrog the competition.
During the past decade, lean concepts, cellular manufacturing and quality circles have been on the forefront of management philosophies and practices that have helped companies face these challenges. In addition to these well-known concepts, there also is a practical concept, relatively undersold in the Western world, that has been practiced for a long time by many Japanese and Asian companies. It offers a sure-shot method to achieve overall lifetime manufacturing cost reduction with increased efficiencies in quality and reliability. It’s called total productive maintenance (TPM).