A set of techniques, first used by Denso in the Toyota Group in Japan, that ensures that each machine in a production process is always capable of performing the tasks expected of it. The word "total" refers to three things. First, it requires the total cooperation of all employees, not only maintenance personnel but also line managers, production engineers, quality experts and operators. Second, it strives for total equipment productivity by focusing on the six main forms of capacity loss that equipment faces: downtime, changeover time, short stops, speed loss, downtime, and rework. Third, it looks at the total life cycle of equipment; maintenance methods, activities and improvements are tailored to where the equipment is in its life cycle.
Unlike traditional preventive maintenance, which is performed by maintenance personnel, TPM involves operators in routine maintenance, improvement projects and simple repairs. For example, operators perform daily activities such as lubricating, cleaning, tightening and inspecting equipment.