The difference between TPM autonomous maintenance and Operator Driven Reliability

TPM autonomous maintenance vs. Operator Driven Reliability is a question often asked in industrial sites on the climb up to world class operating asset reliability and operational excellence

Autonomous Maintenance is a far greater demand on engineering knowledge, maintenance skills, and work excellence than what is done in Operator Driven Reliability

Below is the response to an email inquiry that compares Asset Care philosophy, Autonomous Maintenance, and Operator Driven Reliability

Dear Mike,

Could you please explain to me the relationship between Asset Care and Operator Driven Reliability (ODR).

I have had discussion with colleagues, and they are of the opinion that both practices should be separate, based on the fact that ODR focuses on operator ownership and care and Asset Care is strictly for the maintenance crew.

However, I see it differently. For me, in an environment where we try to preach and advocate team work, I see ODR as a subset of Asset Care. I love to call it ‘team based maintenance’ – with the knowledge that separating ODR could have different interpretation and meanings to the operator and maintenance team.

One can hear the operator saying, “Well, since I am now in charge of my machine, I expect my pay to be as high as the artisan or technician.” And the maintenance team saying, “The operator can take care of themselves on this equipment, they don’t need me.”

My question is why the sometimes separation and emphasis as either autonomous maintenance or Operator Driven Reliability?

I quite understand that operators play a major role in equipment maintenance, but should it be seen as a separate entity, as we see it play-out with Total Productive Maintenance?



Hello Adole,

The greatest reliability improvement success will come when there is willing teamwork and cooperation between artisan and operator.

Anytime you have a heavy load to carry which is beyond what one person can do, you need to team-up with someone else who is able to assist. No matter what type of “load” it is, when you work as a team, carrying the same heavy load that is impossible for one to do, is now easily done together.

When people work together positively in a team, the result is greater than the sum of the results achieved by each individual working alone. A person’s delight with the results produced as a team member provide personal satisfaction and happiness that they can never have if they work alone.

Successful teamwork is a pleasure, and a treasure.

From my research, Operator Driven Reliability is a lesser use of operators capability than the higher skills and knowledge used by operators practicing the autonomous maintenance of a Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) program. TPM autonomous maintenance gets operators running equipment properly, competently doing all minor maintenance, and correctly undertaking major maintenance work. ODR uses operators to observe the running condition of their equipment, and to make minor corrections if competent to do so. But then the operator gets an artisan to do more demanding maintenance.

My online research on “what is Asset Care,” identified that asset care is a maintenance strategy to address the main failure modes in an asset by using the combined capabilities of operator and artisan. Asset Care does not discriminate between operations and maintenance staff as to who keeps the asset in proper health and condition. Asset care strategy would encourage a company to go into Operator Driven Reliability programs, and then go onto Total Productive Maintenance.

The principle of fair-day’s-pay-for-fair-day’s-work tells us that people should be paid commensurate to the value and worth that they bring. Operators who up-skill to do the equivalent work quality and work quantity of an artisan become an artisan. In fairness, operators who are as competent as a competent artisan are justified to be paid equally to the artisan.

I hope that the above content on the difference between TPM autonomous maintenance, Operator Driven Reliability, and Asset Care is useful to you.

All the very best to you,

Mike Sondalini
LRS Consultants Global