Quality Maintenance (QM)

Table of Contents

Quality Maintenance (QM) is one of the eight pillars of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), a maintenance strategy that aims to eliminate failure and improve productivity. QM involves techniques that help in understanding and controlling product defects through a system based on establishing the causes of quality.

What is Quality Maintenance?

Quality maintenance is the systematic approach to preventing defects before they occur by managing the interaction between the 4 M’s that affect quality: Manpower, Material, Machine, and Method.

The 4 M’s of Quality

Manpower

This includes the men and women who contribute their skills and knowledge to produce high-quality products and services. Additionally, manpower morale and working conditions can also affect quality. 

Material

This consists of the raw materials and intermediate materials that you use to create products and services.

Machine

This includes all the machinery, equipment, tools, jigs, and measuring materials used to process materials into end-products or deliver services.

Method

This means all the process steps, methods, and techniques employed to produce products or deliver services.

QM first identifies the conditions of the 4 M’s that result in 100% quality, also called zero-defect conditions, and then implements the necessary programs to maintain these conditions. Instead of using monitoring methods to detect and screen out defects, QM employs inspections, spot checks, and root cause analysis (RCA) to prevent defects from happening at all. 

Prerequisites to Quality Maintenance

For successful implementation of QM, you must meet certain requirements or prerequisites. Quality maintenance is the sixth in the 8-pillar TPM program after all. You must fully implement the first five pillars, as we will share below, before QM.

1. Autonomous Maintenance

Autonomous maintenance allows machine operators to execute direct preventive maintenance, thus helping eliminate forced deterioration. With autonomous maintenance in place, the lifetime of components is extended and stabilized, making it easy to check quality conditions.

2. Focused Improvement

Focused improvement is a team approach to managing equipment-related losses. All personnel involved, from managers to operators and technicians, must learn how to use knowledge, skills, and other resources to maintain zero-defect conditions. 

3. Planned Maintenance

Planned maintenance involves careful study of failures and rates, and scheduling maintenance tasks to delay said failures. This provides the foundations for estimating and measuring potential defects critical for QM. 

4. Early Equipment Management

Early equipment management provides the basis for creating zero-defect conditions for machines and operation methods. Establishing a maintenance plan at the early stages of machine use also requires input from the experience and knowledge of operators and technicians.

5. Workforce Training and Education

Training and educating the workforce involves cross-training operators, technicians, and managers to promote expertise and fill knowledge gaps. Furthermore, QM implementation is only successful if there is a strong knowledge-sharing and collaborative culture within the workforce.

Implementing Quality Maintenance

Below are the general steps involved in implementing QM:

1. Establish zero-defect conditions

Identify and establish conditions that allow equipment and operations that do not result in defects. Also, specify these conditions in relation to the 4 M’s, setting the standard range of values to which these conditions must be limited to.

2. Perform regular QM inspections

Check and measure regularly to ensure that the conditions established in step one are within the standard range. The frequency of checking and inspection depends on the criticality of the quality conditions.

3. Maintain QM conditions within standards

Rectify any deviations from the standard range to prevent these deviations from resulting in quality issues, failures, or defects. Also, it is important to rectify machines by restoring primary operating conditions, materials by replacement, methods by revisions, and manpower by retraining or similar methods.

Monitor deviations from standards and analyze trends to identify potential defects in the future. Also, these trends can provide insights into the sources and severity of defects.

5. Identify and implement preventive action

Any deviations from standards that cannot be rectified to meet the acceptable values must be corrected immediately before they result in defects. Implementing preventive action may require halting operations to execute machine servicing or similar actions.

Redlist Supports Quality Maintenance

Quality maintenance implementations can get valuable benefits from using software tools like Redlist. Redlist is a genuine computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) that supports successful QM implementation through:

  • Centralized digital data that facilitates sharing and collaboration
  • Standardized maintenance processes and procedures
  • Reduced paperwork and improved data accuracy and analysis
  • Integrated business systems and data transparency

Learn more about Redlist and the wonders it can do for your QM and other maintenance strategies. Schedule a free demo today!

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