How do I select a TPM Coordinator?

I am often asked this question by clients who are in the infancy of their TPM implementation.  While there is no cookie cutter pattern for a TPM Coordinator I do believe that there are some characteristics, skills, personality traits that can be very helpful to a successful TPM Coordinator.
I have worked with many companies, organizations, and people who have implemented some very good TPM processes over the past 10 years.  I have met many TPM Champions and TPM Coordinators who were essential to these successful implementations.  From my many acquaintances, I have identified a few traits and skills that, at the very least, tend to prove helpful for TPM Coordinators. These are my personal observations and are not derived from any kind of scientific data.

People Skills—I believe people skills are an absolute necessity for TPM Coordinators.  A TPM Coordinator must be a “Team Player” who can facilitate improvement efforts while also soliciting ideas from all team members.  TPM Coordinators must be able to work well with frontline operators and mechanics, as well as with middle and upper management.  Some of the most successful TPM Coordinators I have worked with are often former operators, maintenance mechanics, maintenance planners, and team leaders, who worked their way up through the ranks and have the respect and admiration of their peers.  These are often people who are influencers; they have the ability to influence their coworkers in positive ways to promote changes of paradigms.

Technical Skills—It is always helpful for the TPM Coordinator to have some technical knowledge of equipment in the facility.  He or she doesn’t necessarily have to know all of the operational or mechanical details of the equipment, but should have a general knowledge of how it works and what functions or task it performs.  Knowledge of the CMMS, work order procedures, and defect identification procedures are also a big plus.

Team Facilitation Skills—The TPM Coordinator will be responsible for leading improvement teams, including Basic Equipment Care Teams, Equipment Improvement Teams, Maintenance Excellence Teams, etc.  It is very important that our TPM Coordinator is trained in team facilitation.  We want to assure the success of our teams and the best way to do this is to ensure each team has a defined mission and goal, team roles are clearly defined and problem solving strategies, such as Root Cause Analysis, 5 Why, FMEA, etc., are used to achieve the improvements we seek.

Computer Skills—TPM Coordinators will need basic computer skills to perform their duties.  They will be collecting data using Excel spreadsheets and composing PowerPoint presentations.  These skills can be easily learned at a community college or employers association.

It has been my experience that if you can identify a motivated individual who is well liked and respected by their peers, has a good working knowledge of your manufacturing processes and equipment, and a desire to improve and make things better, you have found a good prospect for a TPM Coordinator.  Once you choose your TPM Coordinator, it is your responsibility to provide the necessary training needed for them to succeed.  Team facilitation, computer skills, technical training, and problem solving skills can all be learned and applied when and where needed.

I hope you find my observations helpful in identifying your TPM Coordinator. Remember, technical skills can be learned, but people skills are the key trait for a successful TPM Coordinator.

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