TPM Application in Fresh Food Processing

Interesting case:


Applying Focussed Improvement and Autonomous Maintenance to increase yield and throughput



The client processes fresh natural raw material to prepare for further processing at another internal business unit. The process is labour intensive, but relies on a handful of key machines to keep productivity globally competitive. The site believed they were close to achieving the theoretical maximum yield from the product although the process yield and efficiency regularly changed and was believed to be due to differences in natural raw materials.

The Challenge

There are many factors that affect the yield and performance of the process, not least the impact of the size and texture of the natural products arriving direct from their harvested environment. The team were aware that the raw material variation could be used as an excuse for variation in performance, and set out to prove which of their process inputs were significant to the yield and throughput. The throughput rates needed to improve to remain competitive and the standard yield target had not been altered since the era when products were processed purely by hand.

The Objectives

The client group have a corporate approach to continuous improvement which incorporates Lean manufacturing, six sigma and Total Productive Maintenance principles. The site team had limited experience of applying the improvement tools, so required support to implement the tools to improve the team’s understanding and control of the process.

The Industry Forum Solution

Recognising the size of the site and the amount of resource available for improvement activities, Industry Forum facilitated a Loss Tree Workshop to understand the current losses seen in the process. This highlighted a key machine to run a Focussed Improvement Workshop and an Autonomous Maintenance Workshop in the initial processing area of the factory. Time was spent analysing the differences between machines and raw materials to pinpoint several causes of variation in the process. The 4M (Manpower/Machine/Material/Method) inputs were considered and a matrix created to highlight what potential variations needed to be fully understood in terms of their impact on the process performance. Carefully controlled trials were designed and performed by the team to further understand the variation sources. After full analysis of the trial results, several solutions were implemented:

  • Grading of the raw material introduced
  • Standardisation of optimum machine settings matched to material size
  • Introduction of Autonomous Maintenance checks to ensure optimal equipment conditions
  • Equipment improvements through modifications to rollers and trays as well as replacing worn components
  • Modifying the team structure to allow better process control and data analysis
  • Specification of a raw material freezing method designed for optimal yield
  • Improvement of data collection documentation and elimination of duplication

The 18 day programme has generated savings of £175k through the combined impact of increased throughput (+2%) and yield (+2%) achieved.  Based on the improvements a new standard yield target has been set at the highest ever level.


TPM Book. 12. TPM Effectiveness

(c) “TPM in Process Industries”. Edited by Tokutaro Suzuki

TPM Effectiveness indicators can be classified into 7 types: –          Management –          Plant Effectiveness –          Quality –          Energy-Saving –          Maintenance –          Health, Safety, and Environment –          Training and Morale

Management Indicators: 5

Plant Effectiveness Indicators 6

Quality Indicators and Energy-Saving Indicators 7

Maintenance Indicators 8   9

Health, Safety, and Environment Indicators 10

Training and Morale Indicators 11

Samples of TPM effectiveness 12

TPM Book. 11. TPM Small-Group Activities

(c) “TPM in Process Industries”. Edited by Tokutaro Suzuki


TPM Activities are not voluntarily but part of people’s daily work. This os one of basic differences between TPM and QC.

– TPM Small Groups and QC Circles Compared


TPM Small Groups Implement the TPM objectives of Top Management

Overlapping TPM Small Groups




TPM Small Groups in Action: Preparation Phase (set up a promotion office, give TPM introductory education to every employee, form small groups, select group leaders), Implementation Phase (understand present position and circumstances, identify problems, determine ideal conditions)

Key to Small Group Success



TPM Book. 10. Building a Safe, Environmentally Friendly System

(c) “TPM in Process Industries”. Edited by Tokutaro Suzuki

Your goal must be zero accidents and zero pollution.

Step-by-Step Safety Development Plan:

  1. Initial cleaning
  2. Action against contamination sources and inaccesible places
  3. Prepare provisional cleaning and other standards
  4. General equipment inspection
  5. General process inspection
  6. Systematize autonomous maintenanceImage

TPM Book. 8. Operating and Maintenance Skills Training

(c) “TPM in Process Industries”. Edited by Tokutaro Suzuki

1. Education and Training in TPM

Skill is the ability to do one’s job, to apply knowledge and experience correctly and reflexively in all kinds of events over an extended period.

Levels of skill:

1-Lack of both theoretical knowledge and practical ability (needs ti be taught)

2-Knows in theory but not in practice (needs practice training)

3-Has mastered practice but not theory (cannot teach others)

4-Has mastered both theory and practice (can teach others)

Equipment-competent operators:

  • can detect equipment abnormalities and effect improvements
  • understand equipment structure and functions and are able to discover the causes of abnormalities
  • understand the relationship between equipment and quality and can predict quality abnormalities and discover their causes
  • can understand and repair equipment

2. Six Steps to Boost Operating and Maintenance Skills

  1. Analyze the current program and set policy and priority strategies
  2. Design a training program for improvement operating and maintenance skills
  3. Implement operating and maintenance skills training
  4. Design and develop a a skill-development program
  5. Foster an environment that encourages self-development
  6. Evaluate the activities and plan for the future

to be continued…

TPM Book. 7.Quality Maintenance

(c) “TPM in Process Industries”. Edited by Tokutaro Suzuki


1. Quality Maintenance consists of activities that establish equipment conditions that do not produce quality deffects. Quality Maintenance in TPM is aimed to prevent quality deffects from occuring altogether.

2. Preconditions for Successfull Quality Maintenance

  • Abolish accelerated deterioration
  • Eliminate process problems
  • Develop competence operators

3. Basic Elements of Quality Maintenance ProgramImage


4. Quality Maintenance Implementation: Case Study

  • Prepare QA Matrix
  • Analyze production input conditions
  • Prepare a problem chart
  • Evaluate seriousness – perform FMEA
  • Use P-M analysis to devise improvement measures
  • Implement Improvements
  • Review production input conditions
  • Consolidate and confirm checkpoints
  • Prepare quality component table

to be continued.,,