LEAN – Are robots taking over our office?

November 30, 2021

As we at TT Gaskets are LEANing towards the future, we want to streamline more than just our factory floor. Our process requires more work than what can physically be seen in the production. Offering products, handling orders and purchasing materials include plenty of “routine tasks”.

Are routines actually necessary? 

These routines take more of our time than we expect as those are the tasks we do on a daily basis. We consider them as part of our job, even though they are not actually necessary anymore. Just like in the factory floor, robots and automation are doing the repetitive tasks so we as humans can focus on more challenging and productive work. The same can be done in the office as well.

Easier said than done, but not that difficult after all 

Automating the use of different systems is actually easier than it sounds. It doesn’t require large investments on software development and updates as current system interfaces can be used with RPA. Robotic Process Automation is used to create automatic workflows that imitate the mouse movement, clicks and keyboard input we humans do. Thus, automating the tasks we would otherwise do manually each time.

RPA software is relatively easy (and cheap) to use in comparison to the benefits of timesaving and productivity it potentially gives. Of course, it requires clearer and more unambiguous instructions than a summer trainee, but after that it can be left alone to perform the task it has been given.

Significant timesaving potential and productivity-boost 

We have estimated that at best, one single automated workflow that processes orders can save tens of hours of work per year. Let alone, reducing the number of oversights, typing errors and double- booking errors that cause plenty of harm later on. The time saved can be used to help our sales team in offer calculations, give better customer service and overall develop the job of coordinators. This is why we are soon piloting the first RPA applications in the office.

We hope that LEANing our office (and production) creates a positive feedback loop that leads to more time saved in the routines, thus giving us more time to become better at what we do best. Providing Smarter Sealing for a Safer Future is easier when you are productive and do meaningful and pleasant work rather than just struggle with routine tasks.

Lean – Super-human performance with exoskeletons?

October 21, 2021

What is the difference between Iron Man and Wolverine? Iron Man has an exoskeleton made from nitinol and Wolverine has an endoskeleton made from adamantium. Interesting trivia acts as an introduction for today’s topic.

The difference between exoskeleton and endoskeleton is hidden in the names. Both prefixes are derived from Greek, exo meaning outer and endo meaning inner. Hence, the armor of Ironman is an outer supporting shell similar to insects. And the skeleton of Wolverine is like our own but made from a superior material.

Human bio machine has its weaknesses

Without a skeleton, we would be slacker than modern youth. So, we shouldn’t keep our skeletons in the cupboard, but instead make the most of them. Unfortunately, as all machines, even the bio machine of humans wears and tears in the test of time. It is not designed to do 40-hour work weeks for 40 years with repeating movements.

Even though us humans have weaknesses, such as becoming tired, making mistakes and injuring ourselves, we are still better than machines at performing changing tasks. Therefore, humans are still needed in manufacturing, and other tasks as well.

Continuous improvement with different methods 

To prevent the appearance of these weaknesses, we at TT Gaskets are developing our safety at work and processes to ensure the best performance of our employees. But as we are Leaning and continuously improving our workflow, new methods and technologies are always inspiring us.

One of these technologies is the aforementioned exoskeletons. They would allow our workforce to become an army of superhumans that outrun everyone. Probably not in a long while though, as the first exoskeletons developed are quite cumbersome. In the near future though, they could be used in some tasks in our production that require lifting gaskets with large diameter or material sheets and rolls.

Our sales team would also benefit from an Iron Man suit as they are wrestling with the purchasers of our customers. Jokes aside, we are turning every stone whether with or without an exoskeleton to find the best methods to improve our performance. To provide you Smarter Sealing for a Safer Tomorrow.