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 March 1997 Article

Phillips 66 Creates a TPM Master Plan

Because TPM initiates radical change in the workplace, it's imperative to know how people react to change and how to resolve conflict that arises from it.

by Barry Shulak

Developed and used properly, a master plan is the driving force of a total productive maintenance implementation. The master plan outlines and clarifies your intent while allowing TPM teams room for creative input. To provide some insight on the importance of a TPM master plan, we spoke recently with three members of the TPM quality team at the Phillips 66 Co.'s Sweeny, Texas, complex. They are team leader Mike Woolbert, autonomous maintenance facilitator Melinda (Mendy) Meacham and planned maintenance facilitator Carlton Jensen.

A master plan provides a picture of success -- In a serious TPM implementation, the workplace often undergoes some wrenching transformations. The Sweeny complex prepared for TPM by making a wholesale transition to a team-based organization about nine months before formally kicking off the process. Despite widespread team training, implementing TPM made a lot of people uncomfortable. The master plan has helped people overcome their reactions to change and also keeps them focused.

"If you're implementing TPM and there's a lot of emotion -- both negative and positive -- then you're heading in the right direction," says Meacham.

Woolbert adds: "If everybody's comfortable, nothing's changing. I am not change-adverse, but I can appreciate that people sometimes feel uncomfortable with some of the things I ask them to do. Feeling that discomfort is essential to growth and change. The facilitators come to me and tell me when they're feeling uncomfortable, and I've responded by saying, 'Isn't that great? If you feel this uncomfortable, something really challenging must be going on.' Then they look at me and say, 'You're crazy, I'm even more uncomfortable than that!' "

But here's where the master plan comes in. To Woolbert, the TPM facilitators and Phillips' managers, developing the master plan was a process of buying into a clear picture of TPM success. "One of the great advantages to developing the master plan is that we developed this vision of where we wanted to be in three years [see Table 1], and when any of us has felt confused or uncomfortable, we've been able to sit down together with the plan to renew our commitment," says Jensen.

Woolbert adds: "People underestimate the value of positive imagery. You have a vision -- a picture of the kind of workplace you'd like to create and the kind of person you'd like to become, and if this picture is positive enough, it becomes a force that compels you toward doing what you need to do to realize your vision."

A shared vision for TPM implementation also helps keep things in perspective. "We all feel inspired sometimes by new ideas, and although we don't want to limit creative expression, we do have to consider whether the idea serves the plan we've created, which of course was developed to help us meet our business goals," explains Woolbert. "So, a new idea can be really neat, but is it going to help us achieve our goals? The master plan helps us make that call."

Writing a master plan educates those leading TPM implementation -- A master plan lays out your goals, what you will do to achieve them and when you will achieve them. TPM implementation goals and sample plans are well-documented in TPM literature, but you won't find a detailed explanation of how to develop a master plan. There is enough information to guide most people with some experience in strategic planning, and the literature assumes that most people know how to do that. This is consistent with what the implementation team at Sweeny experienced.

In one sense, developing the plan is simple. It's a matter of scheduling and budgeting for the TPM activities that will help you bridge the gap between your baseline measures and your goals. The quality team at Sweeny co-developed its master plan with a sister Phillips 66 complex in Borger, Texas. Those involved from both complexes consolidated the eight traditional TPM pillars into five Phillips pillars, supported by a foundation of teamwork (see Figure 1).

The support service and training pillar, led by Glen Ashbrook, combines education and training with TPM in the office and support department activities, safety, and environmental management. The total quality conditions pillar, led by Susan Alvarado, includes early equipment management and quality maintenance (a process for controlling the condition of equipment components that affect variability in product quality).

"When you develop the master plan, what you're really doing is educating your TPM implementers," says Woolbert. "We read and reread our TPM materials while we developed the plan. In fact, Mendy [Meacham's] copy of TPM in Process Industries got so much use it looks like she dragged it behind her car."

Developing the master plan was not easy. Says Meacham: "The heart of the master plan is the implementation plan for each pillar. It was a gut-wrenching process to take what we learned from TPM in Process Industries and our Japan Institute for Plant Maintenance training materials and create the vision of how this was going to fit our business and our work culture."

A master plan sells TPM -- "The process of TPM will not just occur to you one day," advises Woolbert. "The initial implementation is top-down and prescriptive, which can feel really bad at first because people want to be empowered. But to implement a process that is formulated to get results, you must follow the formula." The master plan outlines the formula and helps people understand why they must adhere to it.

After Phillips 66's quality team created a shared vision for TPM implementation, it was essential to sell this vision to everyone else. At a joint meeting in Dallas of representatives from both the Borger and Sweeny complexes, Refining Vice President Jim Ross accepted the plan and challenged everyone to achieve the stated goals -- with his full support.

Ross was also wise enough to know that until he made a commitment to change his own behavior, others wouldn't see the need to change. People at Sweeny became used to hearing him say, "I am the problem."

"He modeled the behavior he expected of everyone else," says Meacham. "He wanted us all to see that perhaps we were the problem as well."

Even with Ross's support, TPM was still a tough sell. In fact, says Woolbert, "There isn't anything in TPM that you don't have to sell." To Jensen, selling TPM means helping people understand what they don't immediately recognize. He and the other facilitators refer to the master plan constantly to reinforce the need for change (see sidebar on page 47).

"If you do a good job developing the master plan, it includes an assessment of your competitive position and your improvement goals," says Jensen. "So, when people ask, 'Why should we change?' we can show them the master plan and say, 'Well, we're backed up against the wall here, that's why.' "

Adds Meacham: "But once they get the big picture, and they understand TPM is strategic -- that it affects the bottom line and ensures their continued employment -- then you just can't hold them back."

One of the best ways to sell TPM has been by getting everyone involved in the initial autonomous maintenance activities of cleaning and restoring equipment, says Woolbert. Invariably, as people clean the hundreds of pumps and other pieces of process equipment at Sweeny, they uncover problems that could have caused shutdowns costing thousands of dollars had they not been revealed.

"We've not only asked operators to clean, we've asked machinists and craftspeople to share their knowledge and help clean," observes Meacham. "We've asked engineers to do the same. Our top executives, including General Manager Bob Ridge, have tackled some of the nastiest cleaning jobs, and even our finance team leader has gotten involved."

In fact, finance team leader Stuart Draughon has been so impressed with the value of autonomous maintenance activities that he's participated in more than one cleaning. After his first experience cleaning in one of the production units, he helped a team develop a better way to track spare parts inventory; after his second experience, he helped another production team develop its own financial spreadsheet to better track its performance.

"TPM is contagious," says Meacham. "If you go out and do the initial cleaning, you not only find abnormalities, but, like Stuart, you begin to see ways that you can make a difference. You can see the benefit and the value, and suddenly your heart's in it and your mind says, 'OK, I'll come along for the ride.' "

This article is reprinted from TPM Newsletter, published monthly by the American Institute for Total Productive Maintenance -- a membership organization of Productivity Inc. For subscription and membership information, call newsletter editor Barry Shulak at (503) 235-0600.


Phillips 66 Implementation Results


TPM Implementation Tips


A Burning Platform for Change





Table 1

1. Improve labor productivity



2. Reduce equipment failures

500 per month

2 per month

3. Improve overall process efficiency


at least 81%

4. Reduce manufacturing costs



5. Reduce slop production

1,000 barrels per day

100 barrels per day

6. Reduce average production inventory

30 MM

15 MM

7. Zero labor accidents (incident rates)



8. Reduce fugitive emissions



9. Increase team effectiveness

5 suggestions per
employee per month

Table 1. The Phillips 66 complex at Sweeney, Texas, identified the improvement objectives above as part of the development of its TPM master plan.

*These numbers are normalized. **This number is an estimate.

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March 97 Quality Digest