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The link between TPM and Lean Six Sigma

The link between Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) and Lean Six Sigma lies in their shared goal of achieving operational excellence through continuous improvement, waste reduction, and optimization of processes. While TPM and Lean Six Sigma are distinct methodologies, they are often integrated to create a comprehensive approach to enhancing overall efficiency and effectiveness within an organization. (For more background, consult the separate articles in this Essential Insights series that introduce each of these methodologies.) To help shed some light on the link between the two methodologies, this article briefly describes their (1) commonalities, (2) integration points, and (3) complementary aspects.
It’s not a choice

In the world of operational excellence, using Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) and Lean Six Sigma isn’t about choosing one over the other. This short article explains how TPM and Lean Six Sigma work together to make operations smoother, reduce mistakes, and use resources wisely. For business leaders who want to optimise their operations, understanding how these methods can be used together is important: reaping the practical benefits of each method, and getting the best of both for your business.

Common Objectives
  1. Continuous Improvement:
    Both TPM and Lean Six Sigma foster a culture of continuous improvement. They encourage teams to identify and eliminate inefficiencies, defects, and waste in processes, leading to enhanced productivity.
  2. Waste Reduction:
    Both methodologies target the reduction of waste in various forms, that go hand in hand. This shared focus contributes to improved resource utilization and cost savings:
    • minimizing downtime (TPM),
    • eliminating non-value-added activities (Lean), or
    • eliminating defects (Six Sigma).
  3. Employee Involvement:
    TPM and Lean Six Sigma emphasize the importance of engaging employees at all levels in the improvement process. Empowered and knowledgeable employees become key drivers of positive change within the organization.
Integration Points
  1. Root Cause Analysis:
    Lean Six Sigma’s Analyze phase and TPM’s focus on identifying and addressing root causes of equipment failures align seamlessly. Integrating Lean Six Sigma tools with TPM practices enhances the effectiveness of root cause analysis, leading to more sustainable solutions.
  2. Visual Management:
    Both methodologies utilize visual management tools to communicate performance metrics, project progress, and key information. This shared visual approach enhances transparency and facilitates communication across teams.
  3. Standardization:
    Lean Six Sigma emphasizes standardization of processes, and TPM aligns with this by standardizing maintenance procedures. The integration ensures that standardized processes are not only efficient but also reliable and sustainable.
  4. Data-Driven Decision-Making:
    Lean Six Sigma relies on data analysis to drive decision-making. When integrated with TPM, data on equipment performance and maintenance activities contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the entire production process, allowing for informed decision-making.
Complementary Aspects
  1. TPM as a Foundation:
    TPM can serve as a foundation for Lean Six Sigma initiatives by ensuring that equipment reliability and efficiency are optimized. A stable and well-maintained production environment provides a solid base for Lean Six Sigma projects to build upon.
  2. Holistic Improvement:
    Combining TPM’s focus on equipment and process reliability, with Lean Six Sigma’s broader approach to eliminating waste and defects, results in a holistic improvement strategy. This integrated approach addresses both process and equipment-related challenges.
  3. Cultural Alignment:
    Both TPM and Lean Six Sigma promote a cultural shift toward continuous improvement. When implemented together, they contribute to a unified culture where employees are not only committed to maintaining equipment but are also actively engaged in broader process improvements.

The link between TPM and Lean Six Sigma is a strategic integration that recognizes their complementary strengths. By combining the preventive maintenance focus of TPM with the holistic waste reduction and process optimization approach of Lean Six Sigma, organizations can create a robust framework for achieving sustained operational excellence. The integration allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the entire value stream, from equipment reliability to end-to-end process efficiency.

Do not hesitate to get in touch with us for more information on TPM and Lean Six Sigma, for help with training your team, or for a successful implementation of these powerful methodologies.

Improve your efficiency, improve your quality, and reduce your waste.

photo of Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 and Masters report

Gartner®’s Supply Chain Top 25 continues to recognize sustained world-class supply chain performance via the “Masters” category.

To be considered as “Masters”, companies must have attained global Top 5 scores for at least 7 out of the last 10 years.
Only P&GAmazon, Apple and Unilever qualified for the category in 2024.