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Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM) and its application in analyzing factors inhibiting implementation of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)

Prasanth S. Poduval (Department of Management Studies and Research, Karpagam University, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL), Mangalore, Karnataka, India AND, Department of Maintenance (Electrical), Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), Karnataka, India)
V. R. Pramod (Department of Mechanical Engineering, NSS College of Engineering, Palakkad, Kerala, India)
Jagathy Raj V. P. (School of Management Studies, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kochi, Kerala, India)

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management

ISSN: 0265-671X

Article publication date: 2 March 2015



The purpose of this paper is to highlight the application of Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM) to analyze the barriers in implementation of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). TPM is explained in brief with emphasis on maintenance programs to improve quality of products, reliability of processes and reduction in cost. Barriers in implementation of TPM are also discussed. Concept of ISM and steps in developing ISM are described in detail. The authors then illustrate the research methodology which involves applying ISM to analyze barriers in TPM.


The paper starts off by describing the concepts of TPM and ISM. Barriers in implementation of TPM are discussed. It explains ISM as a methodology to understand the underlying interrelationship among the inhibiting factors. The authors draw up an action plan to carry out research on the usage of ISM to study the TPM inhibitors, to develop an integrated model to establish the relationship among the different TPM inhibiting factors and to suggest action plan to mitigate these factors.


Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM) can be used to analyze the driving and dependence power of the variables inhibiting implementation of TPM. The barriers to implement TPM are described with detailed explanation. The complexity of the problem and the degree of interconnection among the variables can be found out. This will help Managers take action on mitigating the barriers.

Practical implications

By analyzing the interrelationships among the barriers and their strengths, management can chalk out the strategy to implement TPM in an organization. Management will become aware of the barriers which have the maximum influence and then can act accordingly to mitigate these barriers. This will help in implementing TPM faster and in an organized manner.


Many authors have used ISM to study various issues. A couple of authors have used ISM to determine barriers in implementation of TPM. The authors feel that most of the papers describe ISM in brief making it slightly difficult for readers to understand. This paper aims to explain elaborately step-by-step on how to develop an ISM making it easier for researchers to understand the ISM concept. Even though there are papers on TPM and difficulties in implementation of TPM, this paper explains the barriers in implementing TPM based on the experience of the corresponding author having worked in the refinery industry.



Poduval, P.S., Pramod, V.R. and V. P., J.R. (2015), "Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM) and its application in analyzing factors inhibiting implementation of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 308-331.



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