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Assessing your TPM Progress

Lean Articles

Making the Grade – Assessing your TPM Progress

The Roofing Products Group of manufacturer CertainTeed began implementing a TPM assessment process two years ago. The initiative is already starting to bear fruit, helping the division move toward its goal of 95 percent uptime at each facility within three years of deployment.

CertainTeed is a major player in the roofing business, with more than $1 billion in sales, 1,500 employees and 14 plants in the U.S., nine of which make residential shingles.

Leaders at CertainTeed Roofing, a high-volume continuous manufacturing operation, began their TPM journey in 2006 with the goal of enhancing planned and un-planned downtime through employee empowerment and ownership. To achieve this goal, they began by implementing fundamental Lean techniques including 5S, visual controls, autonomous maintenance, and SMED at each facility.

They also recognized that to sustain their improvements, they would need to develop their people and make these techniques a way of life. What followed was a series of culture-change sessions at each of the plants, focused on building teamwork, ownership, and empowerment to ensure clarity and alignment of company vision and goals.

Two years into their overall TPM implementation, they recognized the need for an internal assessment process to measure progress against goals. One tool they have been using to help make this a reality is the TPM Scan – a system of checks and cross-checks that allow leaders and process-owners to track progress, communicate, and collaborate on implementation projects and help uncover issues that need to be addressed.

Now entering their fourth year of TPM implementation, CertainTeed’s executives continue to ensure their program, which they call a “work in process.” stays on track over the long term. At Productivity’s TPM Conference, CertainTeed shared details of their TPM journey and specifically how TPM scans, as a means of self assessing progress, are allowing them to continually reach their goals.

John Hardy, a master Six Sigma black belt for operational excellence at the company (and one of the speakers at the conference), notes that shingles are “close to a commodity,” which puts CertainTeed under intense competitive pressure on pricing, quality and everything else. That means downtime is costly, and Hardy says the company’s uptime numbers were “not state-of-the-art.”

And manufacturing shingles is an equipment-intensive process. The company’s plants have machines 600 feet long, pressing, laminating, cutting, and packaging the shingles, with the capacity to produce enough shingles to cover a house every few minutes.

The goals of the assessment efforts include providing each local plant’s TPM steering team with feedback on areas of current strength and areas where improvements are needed.

There are actually two types of TPM assessments that CertainTeed uses. One is a “deep dive” Scan that is used to look at individual machine sections. The other is a general, plant-wide assessment of TPM status.

The assessments are based on general documents from Productivity Inc. that were customized for CertainTeed. Hardy called Productivity “very instrumental” in development of the initiative, helping CertainTeed to write the company-specific documents, as well as training CertainTeed’s people in how to conduct the Scans.

The “deep dive” Scan covers eight sections. Within each section, machinery is given ratings of from 1 to 10 on a range of specific items, with 10 being world class.

For example, one standard in the main body section declares that “The main body of the equipment shall be completely free of outside contaminates and debris. The machine should be painted and clean.”

Similarly, one standard in the section on air systems requires that “Air gauges are in good working order with no cracked or broken lenses as well as being visible and visually controlled with color coded limits.”

These scans are conducted about once a month, and take about four days per plant. The people conducting them are Master Black Belts, maintenance managers, and operations/manufacturing managers, in teams of two per assessment.

The plant-wide assessment occurs on a broader scale. There are still categories – 10 of them – with standards that lead to ratings of 1-10. But the categories cover issues such as documentation, data collection, employee involvement, spare parts management, and so on.

There are also five different levels of plant-wide assessment. Hardy notes that CertainTeed is currently at the first level, which he compares to being in grammar school. Over time, a company graduates to higher levels, where standards are higher and attaining high scores is more difficult. By starting at a low level, Hardy says, the company avoids the “demoralizing low scores” that would occur from trying to meet the very highest standards at the outset. We are now starting to raise the bar and level for these assessments after two years into the process.

Ratings must be consistent and accurate, and that requires a small group of trained “TPM umpires.” Hardy is one of three so far, people he describes as having “a lot of years of experience in operations and maintenance, and who know what to look at.”

Initially, Hardy says, plant leaders were simply expected to work on all the elements covered by the Scan to bring up their scores. But now each plant’s leaders are being asked to develop an action plan for those key elements they think need the most attention. Management is now looking at these assessment scores as one of several measures of a plant’s level of professional maintenance development – and expects regular progress to be made.

The effort has not been without some missteps. Progress was slow at the beginning because management wanted to skip implementing 5S. But since “TPM is really designed to be a springboard off 5S,” Hardy says, the company “recognized our mistakes” and is now on track. Changing old habits has been the toughest part, he adds, but significant progress has been made in that regard.

Today CertainTeed is not yet at its uptime goal, but Hardy is confident that goal will be achieved. He notes that “our operating units per day are getting better,” and the effort begun by the roofing group is “starting to take off” within other CertainTeed divisions.

As with every Lean initiative, improvements achieved through TPM (total productive maintenance) should be measurable. And you can only measure improvement if you have standards and a process for assessing your performance. CertainTeed’s use of the TPM Scan is helping them to measure their progress, make needed mid-course corrections and stay on course.