In a boost to the automotive industry, the Eastern Cape Automotive Cluster has begun to introduce the internationally acclaimed Total Production Maintenance approach to manufacturing into South Africa.
The programme which is the cornerstone of the burgeoning India and Japanese automotive industries is to be piloted at five Nelson Mandela Bay suppliers before an extended roll-out to the Eastern Cape supply chain.
Initial participants include CRH Africa, Natstan Wire, Tenneco, Lumotech and SJM Flex.
In announcing the programme Eastern Cape Automotive Cluster programme leader Gareth Fismer said the introduction for the first time in the country of Total Production Maintenance (TPM) was “an important day for the automotive industry and the beginning of a journey that would drive down costs and increase the global competitiveness of suppliers.”
The programme, which focuses on ensuring plant and machine efficiency and promises an 80% reduction in machine stoppages to certified participants, will be facilitated by engineers from the Automotive Industry Development Centre Eastern Cape with personal shop floor intervention provided by two of the foremost international experts in the programme; Arthur David, UNIDO’s international technical expert and the Confederation of Indian Industries’ Rajesh Parim (Principal Counsellor and the head of the Institute of Quality in India).
AIDC Supplier Development Manager Lance Schultz said the introduction of the programme followed an extensive survey and visit to India’s leading automotive manufacturers.
“What we discovered was that TPM is the focus of manufacturing excellence programmes at leading manufacturers and this is what is fuelling India’s growth as an automotive manufacturing centre.”
“The TPM approach is centred on a partnership with machine operators in a plant to ensure that machines operate at maximum capacity for the duration of their lifespan. This partnership ensures that stoppage time is greatly reduced and efficiency and cost effectiveness increased.”
“In contrast to the leading suppliers globally where TPM is meticulously implemented and evaluated on a daily basis, in South Africa the approach is haphazard and unstructured.”
Fismer said the TPM programme would run over three years after which suppliers could apply for TPM certification, which “is one of the most highly regarded business excellence certifications with global OEM’s currently.”
The TPM programme was launched this week to the participating suppliers, with the expectation that after full implementation machine stoppages would be reduced by up to 80% at participating suppliers and subsequently quadruple plant capacity.
“This represents substantial cost savings – given that a single line stoppage creates significant losses in productive time, rejects, cost and delivery issues, especially when that delivery is just in time to a supplier or OEM,” he said.
This programme is one of the first major initiatives of the Eastern Cape Automotive Cluster, established in March 2011 by industry and the Eastern Cape Province.