It is no longer news that the covid-19 pandemic came with challenges in 2020 making significant changes in the operational activities of different businesses across the globe.
Sandvik Engineering group had to step up its operational style by adopting full digital methods within two days.
This singular action has helped the Group in no small measure as they are currently counting their gains.
The change to a digital system of operation which would have taken a while to take off was implemented in just two days as part of the covid lessons.
This digital upscale has helped Sanvik to be more efficient, organised, and flexible.
At the very break of the pandemic in Europe, the precision tube site based in Werther, Germany, faced a potential lockdown like other companies with a large order backlog that would have been chaotic for business survival.
This also came with a rise for high precision tubes for ventilators at the time.
“We immediately took the decision to order a digital mobile device for each employee to keep the mill open and secure enough distance between our people,”
says Thomas Froböse, Production Unit Manager at Sandvik. Ninety people work in production at the Werther site, with three rolling shifts of 30 people.
Ninety tablets were set-up and handed out in two days and the whole unit went digital. Programmers and automation engineers then connected to all the machines through a network with which control and support of the machines right from home.
“The only people in the mill are operators and shift leaders who work isolated and follow our firm restrictions on distancing,” says Froböse.
“All communication is also run differently; whiteboard meetings have moved on to digital working files and we now use digital documentation of shift plans, detailed planning for the machines and order management for every machine.
Going digital at the Sandvik plant in Werther, Germany, after the pandemic resulted in a more streamlined operational efficiency.
“We have been running our operations this way since 10 March, and even though it’s quite a change we have managed to complete the quarter with the best turnover ever,” Froböse continued
This would not have come to be without previous preparations. For over 20 years, the Werther site has been leading product development, including integrated digital systems.
A few years back, a security application for all employees was implemented while the site introduced a digital system for documentation a couple of years ago.
“I’m very proud of the employees and how quickly they adjusted to this new situation,” Froböse says.
“It’s through their meritorious work that we could continue our business and avoid shut down.”
A survey shows that 80 percent of the workers are positive about the change while 20 percent are a bit more hesitant, although everybody uses the system.
We have been running our operations this way since 10 March, and even though it’s quite a change we have managed to complete the quarter with the best turnover ever.
Several advantages have already been identified. The ability to communicate directly with the operators through their digital devices is a huge benefit.
Regular shift meetings could mean having the same meeting three times a day and still miss out on some people.
Now everybody gets the same information straight from the source, improving efficiency, and reducing hierarchy.
The setup is the new normal for heavy industry production and no doubt the best thing to happen to intentional business-minded corporations as we look into the future.
Featured Image: materials.sandvik
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