Total Productive Maintenance Case Study
In 1996 MRC Bearings, a unionized
aerospace industry supplier, recognized it had a problem.
They were behind on their orders. Their customers were
pushing for shorter lead times and cost reductions.
Approximately eighty percent of their maintenance hours
were dedicated to emergency work orders. In October
of 1997 over one thousand, six hundred and sixty hours
were consumed by unplanned maintenance in just one area.
Ten months later that number fell to less than thirty
hours. That's over a 99% decrease.
In another area they were able to achieve almost a 98%
decrease in the number of unplanned maintenance hours
in an eight-month period. Greg Folts, Manager of Continuous
Improvement at MRC attributes their remarkable success
to having a hardworking, dedicated maintenance team
and implementing a Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)
started slow, beginning with a small area that was critical
to our process but was experiencing chronic problems,"
said Folts. "At first, a lot of people were skeptical
and not really interested in getting involved with TPM,"
he said. "We had a core of people who were excited
about TPM and we enlisted the help of people outside
of our organization to work with us," Folts said.
MRC worked with Marshall Institute to organize their
TPM efforts. He got our folks fired up about TPM."
One of MRC's customers, Pratt-Whitney, also supported
their efforts by facilitating MRC's first TPM event
and sharing their TPM practices with MRC..
MRC began with a week-long TPM event. Folts explained
they would begin by cleaning, inspecting, lubricating,
and performing corrective work on a piece of machinery.
Once a machine was cleaned, it would be painted. At
first, people were reluctant to participate in TPM events.
As time went on, people began to notice what improvements
were being accomplished under the TPM events. "In
fact, the same people that were hesitating in the beginning
were suddenly asking when their machine would be scheduled
for a TPM event," Folts said.
Rick Staples, an Electrician that has
been involved with TPM since it's inception said, "The
physical changes are easy to see. Our machines are more
reliable, the area is cleaner and a lot more pleasant
atmosphere to work in. Other changes, to those of us
that work here every day, are not as easily detected.
For instance; several people who were totally against
TPM at the start, have now willingly participated in
TPM workouts or equipment improvement teams.
Another individual, who one told me to keep my TPM away
from his machines, now is a fully trained TPM Coordinator
in his area. It's these types of things that truly amaze
me. The culture change is slow, but it's happening."
formed Equipment Improvement Teams (EITs) to work on
resolving equipment-related issues. Folts credits the
EITs with a success that was critical in their adoption
of TPM. He explained they had a piece of equipment with
chronic problems. It was breaking down monthly requiring
three or four days each time to fix. He explains, "We
were really frustrated by this problem, we kept fixing
it only to see it break down again."
The Equipment Improvement Team took on this problem
and discovered the original manufacturer had used a
sub-spec coupling on a drive unit. The problem was solved
by upgrading to the proper coupling. This fix alone
increased the efficiency on this piece of equipment
by sixteen percent. "By taking the time to find
the root of the failures, rather than just fixing the
symptoms, we were able to solve this problem. In the
years following this repair, the problem was completely
eliminated. That success showed a lot of people in the
company that TPM can make everyone's daily life easier
as well as improving productivity," Folts said.
After the initial success, followed by
eight TPM events, MRC expanded their TPM efforts to
their second facility. They created a TPM Steering Committee
at their second site and also created a Policy group
to coordinate the efforts of both facilities. The President
of MRC Bearings, Bengt Nilsson joined the Policy group
as an active member. "Having the company president
working with us to drive TPM sent a clear message to
everyone that this was not just another flavor of the
month program," said Folts.
Russell was then solicited to assist in driving the
process as the TPM Coordinator. "We have been very
fortunate to have fantastic support from both management
as well as our U.A.W Union personnel," said Russell.
In a recent MRC company newsletter, President Nilsson
is pictured shoulder to shoulder with the TPM Area Coordinators.
TPM at MRC has been described as one of the most successful
co-management programs ever started at MRC. Mr. Nilsson
said, "I am very pleased and proud of how the whole
organization, after the initial skepticism and hesitation,
enthusiastically embraced the TPM concept. It is of
utmost importance to have reliable and well maintained
machinery in order to serve our customers well and to
get on-time deliveries. A well developed TPM program
is one of the cornerstones in our drive for manufacturing
MRC trained ten TPM Area Coordinators who are dedicated
to TPM one week each month. These TPM Coordinators organize
TPM events in their areas, also lead EITs, and make
sure the process keeps working. MRC has begun to create
full-time TPM teams. One such team, comprised of Jeff
Franklin, an Electrician and Jim Klugh, a Mechanic,
and Jeff Johnson, an Operator, were able to correct
a long-standing equipment problem which reduced the
scrap produced by that equipment to almost zero.
Folts and Russell attribute their success in implementing
TPM to seven things. Russell said, "We realized
early on that we couldn't do it all. So we identified
a few areas that we felt were key, we did those things,
and we did them well." The areas that MRC focused
- Putting predictive maintenance process
in place (i.e., vibration analysis equipment)
- Cleaning the machines, resulting in
- Creating standards on the equipment
for cleaning, lubrication, and daily checks
- Collecting data on downtime
- Creating Equipment Improvement Teams
- Creating TPM Area Coordinators
From this experience, Russell suggests
organizations beginning TPM programs start small and
keep it simple.
Did MRC learn any lessons implementing
TPM? Folts said, "We learned that training is a
key to being successful with TPM. We did some initial
TPM awareness training for the organization, about one
week of training with the operators, and some for the
mechanics. But, looking back we could have had quicker
success if we had done more training." Folts also
credits their success to the support of their management,
the U.A.W. union, the hard work of the people at MRC,
involvement of Marshall Institute, and the support of
their customers. "Ultimately this is a people issue
and we are lucky to have the right people involved,"
Thinking back about the initial resistance to TPM, Don
Russell laughs and says, "At first a lot of folks
here defined TPM as 'Totally Painted Machines'. Now
I can say we all define TPM as 'Taking Pride in our