Not Our Cup of T(PM)


  • TPM has doubled and even tripled productivity of some of the industries worldwide.
  • TPM is renowned as a Japanese Concept, JIPM-Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance decides and audits the companies to give a TPM Award every year.
  • Very few people know that TPM works on a principle of Gandhigiri, a principle known long before Japanese even thought of this concept.
  • This article ain't as much long as it seems.
Well, I just got reminded of a scene from the movie “Lage Raho Munnabhai”, in which this guy cleans up the Paan stain from the wall in order to teach the fat “Spittoonee”. And while the person rubs off the stain, another thought interrupted me, of times when Aryabhatta discovered Zero, and another, of the Kohinoor Diamond snipping out from our fingers, Vedic Mathematics, Yoga all in succession, like someone shooting thoughts with a Sniper from as far as the Past. It’s been an introspective summer, and I have tried to write something down in my office, amongst all the glaring eyes, amongst all the emotive puffs, the order-giving movement of the lips, and the incapacitated Internet Service Providers, who with their every attempts and discoveries in Firewalls and Blocking Systems have failed miserably in subduing us, from a domain we are champs of.

Break-in-Thought (1): The company where I am doing my project has blocked every mail-site, every video or song site, but still amidst the “This page is blocked” messages, Naukri.com, their biggest nemesis, still appears with full pomp and glory.

Break-in-Thought (2): I wonder what happens when some proxy site becomes famous enough to be blocked by every other office. It’s as if these site makers have to be in between two levels of their fame, one in which they get enough money to work their sites, and two, below a level in which they become famous on the verge of being blocked and being rendered useless, like the myth of Icarus and his Wax Wings, you’ve got to fly neither too high nor too low.

As I have already mentioned in my previous articles, my Intern Project title is TPM, Total Productive Maintenance (It is a cultural change in which operators do the maintenance work also, this in some way enhances the effectiveness of the machine). It is a Japanese concept (as are the 5-S principles, TQM, The Muras etc.) and there is a full flow of activities that need to be performed before you can say that my company has implemented TPM. One of the steps includes that cross-functional managers (i.e. managers from all disciplines, Mech., Elec. etc.) do the cleaning of the machine so that operators see the high-posted officials cleaning, and they too start cleaning (as per the Japanese). I wander back to my stream of thoughts. Gandhigiri, exactly. We, Indians have found out in our own trivial ways know the solution to each and every problem, yet it’s the Japanese and the Americans and the British, who steal the credits. Zero was ours, so was the credit for it, our diamond adorned the British Queen, Vedic Maths, Yoga, we Indians tend to dismiss our own culture, unless the West takes to it.

Read on….

Disclaimer: This post has no intentions of any malicious advertisement against any company. Any resemblance to companies, booming or bankrupt is purely coincidental.


Operator to Manager
Sir, I couldn’t help watching you clean this machine, hand me a cloth, call all operators, we have a lot of cleaning to do.
Manager to Boss on Before and After pictures.
Sir, here are the Before cleaning and After cleaning pictures.
Cross-Functional Team Working
Instrument Guy to Mechanical: Hey look, that screw is loose.
Mechanical: Ohh, Thank you Instrument Guy.


Operator to Manager
Wah, Wah Saab, Kya Chamkaya hai, lekin wo udhar Drive Roll me abhi bhi bacha hai thoda, and kya saab kapda dho lijiye ab, kaafi ganda ho gaya hai.
Manager to Boss on Before and After pictures.
Arey hamne, Before ki pics to li hi nahi hai, koi naa let’s make this machine dirty again, and then take the before pictures afterwards, in short let’s make the After-Before pics look like Before-After.
Cross-Functional Team Working
Instrument Guy to Mechanical: Look that screw is loose.
Mechanical: Ohh really!! look that gauge is pointing in opposite direction and you Electrical guy, at least insulate these wires.
Electrical: You don’t count my to-do’s, solve this leak for God’s sake.
Instrument: Electrical, do this
Process: Instrument
Mechanical: PROCESS!!!
The members instead of pointing their dept.’s abnormalities, coherently sit and argue what each other has to do.

Break-in-thought (3): Are the rumors true? Is it in our “Indian” blood to present alibis instead of our commitments?


Before I had started my project, before rain had melted Surat, before I sat dejected over the incompletion of my project, way before I could grasp something I would never get a chance of again, way-way before I understood what flows in our Indian veins, way-way before I wrote this article, I happen to meet an employee of ‘the’ prestigious company, and was discussing about how TPM could revolutionize our Indian industries. He had this to say,

Saab, kya TPM, VPM lagega. Ye sab funde nahi chal sakte hamare desh me. Ye
japaniyo ke yaha theek hai jaha har bande ki kadar hai. Yaha mai kisi manager ko
bolun ki kapda leke saaf kare to saab, aapko kya lagta hai wo karega kya? Naukri
se aur nikal dega. Yaha operator ko dikhaane ke liye kaam kare to wo has ke
jayega hampe. Yaha to bas dande se kaam hota hai. Yaa paiso se. Aapka project
nahi hoga saab. Koi aur project soch lo aap

Break-in-thought (4): This person incidentally had been transferred that very day, to a place where he knew he won’t have any new projects, any incentive to rise, any promotions. Transfer in jobs is like euphemisms used by private companies with an intention of demotions or suspensions.

I still pursue my project, and it is going well, not because any of this has changed, but because of an inimical threat to the people I work under, because of a Danda, because of a warning of losing a profession, because of a terror of insecurity. I wait for the day when this would change, for the day when I would change; I got one thing clear though, before we could even think of implementing TPM in our companies, we need a little TPM in our own lives first.

Break-in-Thought (5): I actually met this person last week leaving with his wife and his two kids; perhaps I also saw two moist eyes. It had been 20 years that he had worked here; it took probably a minute to read the letter.

Break-in-thought (6): Nothing of the above is untrue.

1 comment:

ILL[EAGLE] said...

True... In india all people are THAKUR SAHAB. No one respect the person who is lower in hierarhcy. All try to prove themselves superior in terms of wealth, health, influence, power, luxury etc. Almost, everyone try to show exaggerated version of his/her powers to realize his/her superiority over others.

Leg pulling of one person by other is hazing out your dreams, sharmaji!. But all things are meant for change in this world. So lets wait and try to do our best effort in this direction to improve the work conditions at office at our level.