What is TPM?
Companies enjoy considerable success when they efficiently use their resources including expertise, employees and systems and above all their employees. The goal here is to consistently employ and utilize these resources. TPM stands for Total Productive Management. It is by far the world's most wide spread improvement system and for several years has been practiced not only in Japan, where it was created, but also in a number of European countries. TPM is a comprehensive approach and affects all production areas as well as various service areas in Deutsche Solar GmbH. TPM's main approach is to "hunt" for losses and waste and eliminate them over the long term.
The approach focuses on improving system efficiency, quality or throughput times, for example. According to TPM, everything that does not create value or serve the value-added chain is considered a loss. TPM is a comprehensive management system offering a proven concept that increases added-value and therefore boosts competitiveness. The TPM process starts with the systematic loss and error analysis. Based on this, the workflows are continuously improved through numerous small steps. The "zero-loss" goals that TPM is a never-ending improvement process. The key to the TPM's success is the participation of all employees from all company departments.
Goals and TPM pillars
In the TPM process, goals are set whose achievement is defined on specific key indicators. They include the company's productivity, product quality, production costs, supply availability or inventories, work process security and employee motivation.
Eight measure packages, also referred to pillars, serve to achieve these goals: automatic repair, continuous improvements, planned repair, quality protection, education and training, start-up monitoring, TPM in service and security, health and environment. They stand next to each other with equal importance and are implemented at the same time.
TPM @ Deutsche Solar
The wafer producer Deutsche Solar is the first company in the global photovoltaic sector that was successfully audited for the bronze CETPM award from the Centre of Excellence for TPM (CETPM). During a preliminary audit, the targets for TPM were set by the Centre of Excellence for TPM, which were achieved through improvement measures within a single year. Deutsche Solar therefore proved that they had control of their costs and effectively use the saving potentials found through TPM. TPM was introduced in Deutsche Solar in 2007 and since then has proven its effectiveness by achieving savings in the millions.
50 TPM teams now work in the various production areas as well as in the service departments, such as IT and project implementation. The Freiberg TPM teams achieved its goals by achieving specific key indicators, such as reducing manufacturing costs, increasing system availability and lowering waste costs. The 50 teams continuously compete in an internal competition as "loss hunters" to improve the production processes and product quality.