At the first meeting I had with one of my clients, he told me that he would like to introduce TPM (Total Productive Maintenance-productive maintenance) in the production factory. I asked him "Why?". My client looked at me surprised and answered: "Because this is what they want from me."
The introduction of the Lean manufacturing in the production or management is NOT, or should not be, a goal by itself! The followed goal with the introduction of the Lean system should be to improve the performance, to reduce the delivery time, to increase the innovation degree etc., so to improve the quality as a whole.
The Lean system has two different components:
1. Techniques and methods, like 5S, TPM, SMED, VSM, etc. These ones are for the improvement of the performances.
2. The philosophy that is behind the techniques and methods, philosophy which has the goal to remove the eight types of wastes (overproduction, waiting, transport, overprocessing, inventory, motion, defects and the waste of unused human talent); wastes that exist in every human activity.
The Lean philosophy is the one which assures the continuous improvement of the results achieved using the Lean techniques and methods.
For the long term success it is required the awareness and the deployment of the organization on the Lean philosophy and principles.
The Lean techniques and methods are forming an assembly being dependent one of each other. For example, SMED (Single-Minute Exchange of Die) can not be implemented successfully without 5S or TPM. It has to be based on the people's responsibility, standardization, Kanban. And the examples may continue. Because of these interrelations, the techniques and Lean methods can not be implemented separately.
Even though the deployment of a certain technique or method can have a short term success, the results will be sustained on a long-term only if the Lean system would be implemented in assembly; this will lay the foundation that will lead to standing and continual improvement. Lean manufacturing can be seen as a chain in which every technique and method is a linked link. When all the links are connected, they will "pull" the performances' continuous improvement, but when a single link is missing the unity of the whole process will be lost and quickly interrupted.
Going back to the client's request to implement TPM because this is what they wanted from him, this type of work represents a long term waste which is contrary to the principles of the Lean philosophy.
The deployment of the Lean manufacturing system in the output or services provides major benefits to the company and, in this way, the raise of the product's / service's value. To obtain these benefits it is necessary the involvement of the whole company, in the first place, the involvement of the management which has to assume their responsibility on the deployment and the compliance with the system. The problems which will inevitably occur to be solved, not masked or avoided.