Services – Kanban and why we can’t ban it

You probably didn’t know that TT Gaskets also provides sign/billboard services, literally. This doesn’t mean that we are an advertising agency, just that the Japanese word “kanban” meaning sign or billboard has got a new meaning in manufacturing context. The Kanban concept was developed in the 1940s and 50s and has eventually reached us in Tampere, Finland as well.

Simple but effective

Just like the best ideas in life, the concept of Kanban is simple yet elegant. Simply put, you are reminded to order more before you run out of supplies. There are a couple of methods of implementing Kanban, of which the best known is to have two boxes in stock. When the other box is empty, you order more and use the other one.

The two-box method is something we already do for our customers and are of course interested in finding new markets for it. But we have thought about other possibilities we could implement in a similar fashion. Despite the setbacks caused by COVID and the ongoing war in Ukraine, a larger trend has been to minimize stock levels. In some customer meetings we have even heard of plans to get rid of large warehouses completely.

Warehouses are becoming location-independent

Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight but is something we have considered with our Smart Container service I wrote about previously. We are also considering to pilot a virtual warehouse or e-kanban service in which the customer has a reduced access to our stock. This would mean that our customer wouldn’t need to stock an item at all, and orders are supplied from our warehouse instead. This idea has gathered attention from several industries, and we hope we would be ready for a small-scale pilot in the autumn of 2022.

Business technology updating soon

This idea intertwines strongly with our ongoing business technology updates where one of the core ideas is to increase transparency both internally and externally. In the near future we will be able to utilize our data better and make (internal and external) system integrations actually feasible with a platform.

Virtual warehouses also confluence with our TTG Material Tool that has been waiting for the pilot to start. Our vision for the future is that our customer could select a gasket from our portfolio with the help of the tool we provide and order it from the same interface. This could either be part of the virtual warehouse or our possible e-commerce solution.

But only time and customer interest will tell which of these ideas will be implemented when we provide you Smarter sealing for a safer tomorrow, just in time.