Here’s an example of why I’m currently working in TT Gaskets to enhance the operations of the company with different technologies. In October 2018 we were picking a large number of products in our warehouse with full steam to get supplements for our customer. We noticed that the task took the two of us working on it over a full workday. The most time-consuming tasks were to find the products from the shelf and to count them. And basically, they are completely irrelevant tasks to be made by hand, because a machine would be much more efficient and accurate. My colleague justifiably asked why we don’t have a “robot” shelf that would complete the collecting nearly on its own.
Even though an automated shelf would be an efficient solution for the task, the costs are a “bit” too high for now. But luckily there are cheaper solutions available. A simple solution would be to print the list of products in the shelf code order, instead of product number order. But that still leaves a lot of room for error because a printed list is manually operated and gets easily lost. So why don’t we just simply get rid of the list?
Speech Driven Inventory Systems and More
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple as it sounds and is definitely not going to happen tomorrow or next week, I can bet on that. But easily in a couple of years, you could wear smart glasses that show you directly in augmented reality which products need to be picked and where they are. Meanwhile, you can update the inventory with speech, or it can be completely automated. And this is not even science fiction, but instead similar inventory management systems are currently in use. On top of that, the user experiences have been great. You can google it yourself with search phrases such as voice control or smart glasses in warehouse management.
That’s not even all, folks. There’s plenty of different technologies on the field that could and should be implemented in everyday business. My purpose is not to complicate our routines, but instead, make them easier and even get rid of some unnecessary ones. I’m aware that the needs differ from department to department and from company to company and that’s why it’s vital to find the right tools for each purpose. And to get started. Hopefully, in a few years, we have embedded new technologies so well to our business, that we can only wonder how did we get along in the past.
The Best Way For You to Utilise Your Valuable Time
Finally, I’m challenging you to think critically about your daily business and routines to find room for improvement. Is there something that could be done differently or even be left out? You probably already have processes sorted out to serve different purposes, but they are certainly not perfect. Challenging the status quo makes improvement and development possible. And keep in mind that the purpose is not to make you or anyone else unemployed but conversely make your time more valuable.
Let’s get started and show that in order to improve productivity we don’t have to do more hours and lower our salary.
Together we can build a more stable and productive future!
The author, Jaakko Niukkala, is a long-term summer help in TT Gaskets and has graduated as a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering. He started as a project engineer in the company in June 2018. He enjoys late alarms (0530 hrs), warm showers (T < 283 K) and life (the best part of being alive). Occasionally he believes in mankind, to the promotion of football club Tampere United and muscle growth.