TQM vs TPM: Distinctions Between Similar Lean Concepts

business-world-1757578_1280Total Quality Management (TQM) and Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) share similarities and are therefore often used interchangeably. Together they’re recognized as the key operational activities of a quality management system. However, they are two separate approaches to what we understand today to be Lean Manufacturing.

You may think TQM is a bit outdated, as it was popular in the 1980s and eventually replaced with Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma. If you look at the basics of this model, however, you’ll see that it really encompasses the tenants of lean models we use today. Using a familiar concept like TQM could help lower the learning curve for manufacturers who struggle to get lean strategies to work.

TQM was a shift of accountability. Rather than blame workers for poor quality, managers took responsibility for imposing systems that decreased their employees’ desire or ability to do quality work. When you look at the basic practices from decades ago, you’ll recognize some rules:

  • Reduce or eliminate waste
  • Minimize inventory
  • Use a pull system (pull from demand)
  • Maximize workflow
  • Empower employees
  • Customer requirements determine standards
  • Do it right the first time
  • Create a culture of Continuous Improvement – of processes and products

Sound familiar? This looks like the basics of Just-In-Time and Kaizen. In short, TQM aims to increase the quality of goods, services, and customer satisfaction by creating cross-organizational awareness of quality concerns. There isn’t necessarily a cemented approach to TQM. Much like Lean, you can use various strategies to ensure that the basics are accomplished.

TPM focuses on maintaining and improving production and quality systems through the processes, machines, equipment, and employees that add value to the product. According to this article, it “Enhance(s) the volume of the production, employee morale and job satisfaction.”

TPM focuses on five cornerstones to keep equipment working at full capabilities, thereby avoiding breakdowns and delays in the manufacturing process. The cornerstones are:

  • The product
  • Processes allowing the product to be produced
  • The organization providing the environment conducive to a working process
  • The organization’s guiding leadership
  • The entire organization’s commitment to excellence

Both TQM and TPM aim to optimize the process and build a quality product. TQM concentrates on the quality of the product itself, and TPM focuses on the equipment that produces the products. By separating the manufacturing process into these two parts, some manufacturers may find it easier to create the culture of Continuous Improvement.

As mentioned, these ideas have been around for a while. Consequently, improvements have been made and strategies have been perfected in the world of Lean. For example, equipment like battery-powered tugs are widely used to eliminate wastes and improve productivity in manufacturing. They also increase safety and can reduce energy consumption. If your workers have pushing and pulling tasks, talk to Load Mover Inc about how a power tug significantly increases their efficiency. Call 952-767-1720, or email info@loadmoverinc.com.