Maximizing Operational Efficiency: A Primer to TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) for Real Estate and Facility Executives 1 of 2


In today's highly competitive landscape of Real Estate and Facility (RE&F) management, ensuring the seamless operation of your assets is of utmost importance. When downtime is estimated to cost businesses more than $420 per minute for small businesses and more than $9,000 per minute for larger companies, maximizing your equipment and facility uptime is paramount. Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a methodology that traces its origins to 1970s Japan, developed explicitly within the Japanese manufacturing industry, with notable contributions from Nippon Denso Co., Ltd. (a part of the Toyota Group) and popularized by the Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance (JIPM). TPM has emerged as a powerful approach to achieving precisely that goal. This two-part article will thoroughly explore TPM, its fundamental principles, and its potential to be a transformative strategy for real estate and facility executives aiming to enhance operational efficiency.

Understanding TPM:

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) transcends mere maintenance; it embodies a comprehensive methodology designed to enhance equipment and asset efficiency while minimizing downtime, defects, and waste. This holistic approach translates into cost reduction and heightened reliability and profitability.

TPM's Holistic Approach: TPM is more than just a maintenance strategy; it's a holistic approach to optimizing assets and equipment. TPM's comprehensive methodology offers a strategic advantage in RE&F maintenance management, where downtime and inefficiencies can lead to significant losses. It aims to enhance not only the physical condition of assets but also the overall operational efficiency of facilities.

Transcending Industry Boundaries: While TPM's origins are rooted in the manufacturing sector, its principles have proven adaptable and effective in real estate and facility management. TPM's core concepts, such as involving people at all levels of the organization and forming teams, are equally relevant in facilities management. Engaging facility managers, staff, and tenants in the maintenance process fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility, which is vital for maintaining property value and tenant satisfaction. Engaging staff from all levels of the organization is equally important in a manufacturing or critical space environment.

Flawless Maintenance: TPM sets the bar high with the goal of "flawless maintenance." This entails achieving zero accidents, breakdowns, equipment failures, and defects. Achieving these objectives in the Pharma, Semiconductor, or RE&F industry translates into safe, reliable, high-quality facilities. Advising clients to strive for these standards aligns with industry best practices and enhances their reputation and competitiveness.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE): OEE is a crucial metric in TPM that ensures equipment and assets consistently operate at peak performance levels. In real estate and facility management, this translates to optimizing the functionality of HVAC systems, lighting, security, and other critical components. Maximizing OEE will reduce downtime and save energy, improve tenant comfort, and reduce operational costs.

Dedicated Workforce: TPM emphasizes the importance of a reliable and well-trained workforce. In real estate and facility management, this means investing in training for facility managers, technicians, and staff. These individuals should be organized into teams with ongoing training plans to refine their skills continuously. This commitment to workforce development aligns with industry trends toward professionalism and specialization in facility management.

Standardized Work Processes: Documented and standardized work processes are a hallmark of TPM. These RE&F management processes capture the industry's best maintenance, safety, and energy efficiency practices. Implementing and continuously improving these processes can significantly enhance the operational efficiency of facilities.

When advising RE&F executives, emphasizing TPM's principles and how they align with industry best practices positions you as a thought leader. It underscores your commitment to helping your organization or client to achieve excellence in asset management and facility maintenance.

Critical Principles of TPM:

Equipment Reliability: In the real estate and facilities consulting industry, maintaining equipment reliability is crucial for smooth operations. This means conducting regular inspections using advanced technologies such as IoT sensors to monitor equipment health. Additionally, establishing a proactive maintenance culture can reduce downtime significantly, and predictive maintenance techniques can be applied to identify issues before they cause disruptions.

Employee Involvement: Engaging your team members is about assigning responsibility and fostering a culture of ownership. In the real estate sector, this can mean involving facility managers and staff in the decision-making process regarding equipment maintenance. Encourage them to report issues promptly and provide feedback on maintenance processes.

Focused Improvement: Continual improvement is a hallmark of TPM. In the context of real estate and facility management, it's essential to conduct regular performance reviews and root cause analyses. This can help identify chronic issues like HVAC system inefficiencies or plumbing problems. By addressing these issues incrementally, you can enhance the overall functionality and energy efficiency of facilities.

Planned Maintenance: Planned maintenance is a cornerstone of TPM; it's essential for minimizing disruptions to facility occupants. Implementing Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) can help schedule maintenance activities efficiently. Additionally, explore using mobile apps for technicians to streamline work order management and improve response times.

Training and Development: Training is not limited to real estate and facilities maintenance personnel. It should also extend to facility managers, executives, and even tenants. Consider hosting workshops and seminars to educate all stakeholders on the importance of equipment maintenance, energy conservation, and safety measures.

Quality Control: Quality control is paramount in maintaining property value and tenant satisfaction. Implement industry best practices such as ISO 55000 standards for asset management. Assign "System Owners" for specific equipment or systems within a facility. They should oversee maintenance, performance tracking, compliance with regulations, ensuring the highest quality standards are met, and driving continuous improvement.

By aligning these TPM principles with industry best practices, you can provide thought-leading guidance to RE&F executives, operations, and manufacturing leaders or investors, helping them to optimize their operations and assets.

Eight Pillars of TPM

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a valuable approach to optimize equipment and facility management in various industries, including real estate and facilities. The eight pillars of TPM are:

  1. Autonomous Maintenance: Empower front-line employees to take ownership of equipment care and conduct routine maintenance tasks to prevent breakdowns.
  2. Focused Improvement: Implement continuous improvement projects to enhance equipment efficiency, reduce downtime, and minimize waste.TPM House
  3. Planned Maintenance: Schedule and execute regular maintenance activities based on OEM guidance, equipment conditions, and performance data to prevent unplanned downtime.
  4. Quality Maintenance: Ensure equipment is maintained to consistently produce high-quality products or services, reducing defects and rework.
  5. Education and Training: Invest in training and skill development for employees to improve their understanding of equipment and maintenance processes.
  6. Early Equipment Management: Consider maintenance needs and reliability when purchasing new equipment, and ensure it's properly installed, commissioned, and maintained from the start.
  7. Safety, Health, and Environment: Prioritize the safety and well-being of employees and the environment while conducting maintenance activities.
  8. Administrative and Office TPM: Extend TPM principles beyond the production floor to improve administrative and office processes, enhancing overall organizational efficiency.

These pillars are essential for achieving equipment reliability, reducing downtime, and improving overall operational performance in the real estate and facilities consulting industry. We will dive more deeply into these in the following article.

Benefits of TPM in Real Estate and Facility Management:

Increased Asset Lifespan: In RE&F management, assets like HVAC systems, elevators, and building structures are substantial investments. TPM's systematic maintenance approach ensures that these assets are well-cared for, leading to a longer lifespan. This reduction in the need for costly replacements safeguards your capital investment and enhances the overall property value. Advising management or clients to implement TPM helps them protect and grow their assets, aligning with industry standards for responsible property stewardship. For manufacturing organizations, this helps to lower the costs of goods sold or, in the case of the Pharma industry, helps to divert funds to more research.

Enhanced Reliability: Reliability is paramount in maintaining high OEE for manufacturing equipment, tenant satisfaction, and operational efficiency for critical environments. TPM fosters improved equipment reliability through regular inspections and preventive maintenance. In your role, you can emphasize how this leads to fewer operational disruptions, ultimately resulting in higher tenant satisfaction, lower vacancy rates, or improved equipment availability in manufacturing. This aligns with industry best practices that emphasize the importance of tenant experience and retention.

Cost Savings: TPM's impact on cost savings is substantial. Organizations can achieve better cost management by reducing maintenance costs through proactive measures and optimizing energy consumption through well-maintained equipment. You can guide your organizations to implement TPM as a sustainable and cost-effective approach to facility management, reflecting industry trends toward green and efficient building practices.

Improved Safety: Safety is a non-negotiable priority in RE&F management. Regular maintenance and stringent quality control measures advocated by TPM contribute to a safer environment for occupants and employees. You can highlight how TPM aligns with industry regulations and building and facility safety standards, which are essential for risk mitigation and compliance.

Optimized Space Utilization: Efficient space utilization is increasingly essential in the RE&F maintenance sector. TPM aids in maximizing asset performance, enabling clients to achieve more with fewer square feet. This aligns with industry trends favoring flexible and versatile workspace solutions, and advising clients on TPM's role in optimizing space utilization positions you as forward-thinking and in tune with the evolving needs of modern real estate.


TPM has set the high bar for over fifty years as “flawless maintenance.” The planned approach with trained owners of a disciplined maintenance program can continually deliver key performance and improvements in cost, reliability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. In the second part of this blog, which will be coming out before the end of 2023, I will dive into more specifics of the eight pillars of TPM and how to develop and deploy this maintenance program. Be on the lookout for that article and let me know how we can help you.