Behind the Gaskets | Expert Interview: Work planning is a real-life game of Tetris

A keen visual eye, interaction skills and detective work – these all come in handy in the work of our water cutting planners.

Team lead Hanna Lehtonen and work planner Jenny Virta oversee work planning at the TT Gaskets water cutting department.

Hanna’s career at TT Gaskets spans almost two decades. With a vocational qualification in business, Hanna has worked her entire tenure with the company in water cutting ­– and has no plans for switching departments. She has advanced from working in after treatment to operating water cutting machinery, work planning and finally to her current position as team leader.

”I’ve had such a great time that I haven’t really considered anything else,” Hanna says with a laugh.

Precision mechanic Jenny has a background in different factory positions. She has now been with TT Gaskets for four years, three of which in the water cutting team – she started out in rubber metal gasket production and silk screen printing. Before becoming a work planner, she also operated water cutting machinery to learn about the practices and limitations she must consider in her current work.

Looking at the bigger picture

The work planners’ days differ depending on their shift – no workday is the same.

“We work as a pair alternating between day and night shifts. The day shift includes reporting, emails, collaborating with production and sales, running errands and occasional detective work when we need to find out where our shipments are located,” Jenny lists.

The night shift is calmer compared to the day shift, giving time for the planners’ most important task: planning out the blanking programs for the cutting machinery. Both planners describe this work as a real-life game of Tetris.

”Scrap-free blanking requires a keen visual eye to maximize material efficiency. There are a lot of pieces to cut, and they can vary in shape and size wildly. This requires the ability to look at the bigger picture, which of course only comes through experience,” Hanna says.

Hanna’s workdays also include team lead and foreperson duties.

“It’s a matter of pride for me to assume as much responsibility as I can and deliver on my promises. My team includes Jenny, the water cutting staff as well as the department’s warehouse workers, so there is a lot of daily interaction. We have established great mutual trust and I love hearing that my team members are enjoying their work,” Hanna says.

Flexibility in workdays and realizing your dreams

Jenny and Hanna are both extremely satisfied with their current positions.

“I currently have no aspirations for other positions. So far, the company has given me great opportunities for professional development. I feel that the possibilities are there if I should want to advance my career,” Jenny says.

“My career has progressed through the water cutting department. I never would have guessed that I’d be in my current position back when I started. I’m sure I could advance even further within the company, but right now I’m extremely happy with my job,” Hanna fills in.

A great atmosphere, excellent colleagues and mutual trust are highlighted by both work planners when asked about their employer.

”TT Gaskets is an encouraging and flexible family company that trusts their employees. Turnover tends to be very low, and the business is financially stable. As an employee, I feel that this creates a feeling of safety,” Hanna says.

The employer’s flexibility and willingness to accommodate for personal lives is also illustrated in the planners’ free time activities – both are avid world travelers. Hanna visits national parks and has recently completed her tour of all Unesco’s world heritage sites. Jenny is a keen hiker and has just returned from the Himalaya where she trekked to the Mount Everest base camp.

“Being able to take my summer holidays in the early winter displays great flexibility from my employer. I really appreciate that TT Gaskets helped me make this dream a reality,” Jenny says.