Leading TPR

By: Fara Foster

TPR, or Total Process Reliability, has been a part of our culture for eight years. Once handicapped by equipment break-downs, our recourse was to buy more equipment so we had back-ups in the event machines stopped working, which leads to unnecessarily high costs. Today, we function by a different model; training employees to maintain the equipment they operate to prevent break-downs. As with all other successful programs, the TPR program is continuing to evolve and improve.

Brian Starr is now a part of that evolution. Joining our companies in early April as our Continuous Improvement Coordinator, Brian brings a background in logistics, as well as military service, leadership, and instruction. While his experience in all listed areas makes him well-suited for our TPR role, it was his time in the Army that best prepared him. He says most do not understand how fluid the Army can be. While there was a definite hierarchy, that was only evident about half the time, giving him a great deal of latitude to work through problems. He said, “Army life involves wearing a lot of different hats and ‘Hey, you!” can be a job title. You don’t ask how, you just get it done.”

The goal for TPR is to no longer be centered around the Equipment Maintenance Division, but to be enterprise-wide. Another goal is to give more focus to Memphis Stone & Gravel teams. Additionally, the TPR Steering Council has recommended focused attention in five areas:

  • Recruiting: Encourage quality people to apply for jobs.
  • Retention: Prevent losing quality people and the institutional knowledge they possess.
  • Community Trucking: Maintain our “Good Neighbor Trucking Policy” as well as procedures for scale house processing for trucks.
  • Scheduling: Coordinate flow of trucks through plants and determine how to incorporate external trucks in that flow as well as no-notice/short-notice customers.
  • Safety: investigate glass breakage and determine if the use of after-market products may be aids. Determine if traffic patterns and signage could prevent backing accidents.

Brian is working to schedule several CLAIRE events but notes the earliest will be held in the fall. “We wanted to hold a CLAIRE in July, but our crews are too busy,” he said. “Too much work is a good problem to have.”  Until then, Brian says he will be focused on the mundane. “I am just happy to be here to help everyone get their equipment prepped.”