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INDUSTRIAL MAINTENANCE Jishu Hozen - Autonomous maintenance in the manufacturing industry

Dec 1, 2020

The Indian manufacturing set-ups have been working towards attaining an efficient process by reducing cost & waste. While most industries have been working on attaining this by the concepts of Lean, Six Sigma and TPM, another concept, called Jishu Hozen, can very well work in a similar direction. The article by Balasore Alloys, a ferrochrome manufacturing company with two plants of 160,000 MTPA capacity, divulges into the Japanese concept of ‘Jishu Hozen’ and how, with its seven-step approach, it can help in bringing in remarkable improvements on the shop floor. - Sureshbabu Chigurupalli, Unit Head- Plant Operations, Balasore Alloys

The Indian manufacturing industry is striving through operational excellence to bring down cost & wastage by improving the process and skill-set of the people behind the machines. Most industries are implementing one or all of the tools of lean, Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), Six Sigma, etc in day-to-day practices to obtain operational excellence. TPM is a renowned Japanese concept which brings exceptional results and creates value in the entire business chain by maximising production efficiency and establishing zero-defect conditions. TPM optimises resources by building a flexible production system responsive to demand. Jishu Hozen is one such pillar of TPM used on the shop floor to develop the concept, operate & maintain.

To whom?

‘Jishu Hozen’, a Japanese term known as autonomous maintenance, is one of the pillars used to improve the skills of the operators and also to improve machine life by preventing forced deterioration. The concept of Jishu Hozen within an organisation can determine to measure and control the performance requirements of assets to meet the business goals & market needs. The aims and objectives of this pillar are:

  1. Putting the workplace environment in order and making work more efficient

  2. Abilities to identify the abnormalities

  3. Ability to correct the abnormalities

  4. Ability to sustain by making the rules

  5. Enhancing the skills of the operators


A seven-step approach is used to bring behavioural changes in people by empowering the ownership mindset for the area by involving and carrying out small group activities.

Step zero: This is the preparation step. In a few organisations, this is also called the training step. This step develops the awareness of understanding the forced deterioration.

Step one: This step will help the operators understand the safety precautions, initial cleaning & inspection concepts, identification of abnormalities (fuguais), classification of fuguais and removal of fuguais.

Step two: To develop countermeasures against the source of contamination and areas that are difficult to access. Analysis of generating source of contaminations and preparation of sources of contaminations map & difficult to access areas, development of countermeasures, implementation of countermeasures and evaluation.

Step three: Establishing standards; this is an important step in which operators use the experiences that are acquired in step one & two to clarify the ideal conditions in 5w & 1H, i.e., who is to do? What is to be done? Where? When? Why? & how?

Step four: General inspection standards are developed in this step. This step aims to understand the equipment structure, functions, principles and optimal conditions. It is acquiring the skills that are needed to check the parts of the equipment functional components.

Step five: This step brings the sustenance of the previous steps. Step five helps to achieve reliability, maintainability and quality.

Step six: Up to this stage, by implementing all the five steps the operator develops, the focus should be on daily maintenance with established check-sheets to maintain the equipment. Step six aims to expand the operator’s role to cover the equipment surroundings as well as the equipment itself to drive down the losses closer and closer to zero. Apart from this, a consolidation ability to manage their own work is developed.

Step seven: The aim of step seven is to consolidate all their activities undertaken in step one to six. The operator develops confidence by witnessing the positive changes made in the equipment and surrounding workplaces. Step seven encourages one to see the improvements as an endless process in which they can and must take the initiative. This step helps the operator to take control of the equipment without relying on external support and relentlessly drive towards zero failures & defects.


Before the TPM kick-off, management shall select few machines as pilot machines or management model machines where a team comprising top executives, plant managers and regular employees will demonstrate the process step-by-step. This process will help gain hands-on experience both for synching the concept and also witnessing the improvements.

The managers & supervisors must either manage and maintain the manager model machines daily themselves or explain to the operator what is to be done and have them do it. Once the manager model machine demonstration is completed, the shop floors shall be divided into zones or circles by mapping man to machine. Daily work management schedules and Gemba visits are to be made to encourage the teams to improve the machines and the surroundings by applying Jishu Hozen steps as mentioned in the approach. Either part or the complete complex can be divided into different zones or circles by mapping man to machine. Daily work management schedules and Gemba visits are to be made to encourage the teams to improve the machines and the surroundings by applying Jishu Hozen steps as mentioned in the approach.


The three-step audit plays a significant role to sustain the implementation process by periodic review. A check-sheet with a scorecard is to be developed for the audit. Self-review audit is followed by an area manager audit and senior management review. The step pass can be certified once the requirements have complied for each step. The audit shall focus on what went right & what went wrong and offer the required guidance to assist and correct the gaps. Failure of audit at any level will not allow moving to the next step.


Once the approach process is implemented religiously, remarkable results on the shop floor are bound to be visible. The typical results are -

  1. Equipment/machine safety increases

  2. Wastages are eliminated

  3. Maintainability

  4. Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) improvement

  5. Equipment competent operator

  6. Equipment life enhancement

Jishu Hozen – The pillar for change

Jishu Hozen is one of the important pillars in TPM implementation. As mentioned in the approach, step one, two and three focus on the equipment improvement, step four & five improve the ability of the operators and step six & seven improve the workplace management apart from the operator skill enhancement. Religiously implementing the Jishu Hozen steps reduces the forced deterioration of the machine & activities to optimise the overall equipment effectiveness. Reduction of minor flaws reduces the overall breakdown and downtime, which increases equipment lifespan. Jishu Hozen is a process that changes the culture and permanently improves & maintains the OEE through active involvement of operators and other members of the organisation.

Remember, ‘cleaning is for inspection, inspection is for detection, detection is for correction, correction is for satisfaction and satisfaction leads to further action.’

Image Gallery

  • Seven steps for evolving Jishu Hozen

  • Autonomous maintenance

  • Sureshbabu Chigurupalli

    Unit Head- Plant Operations

    Balasore Alloys

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