Manufacturing at Tatramat is under a Microscope


Manufacturing at Tatramat is under a microscope

When you hear Tatramat, many people remember the automatic washing machines from the era before 1989 which were manufactured in the town of Poprad from the end of the 1970s. The relevance of the washing machine brand ended in the second half of the 1990s when Whirlpool became the 100% owner of the Poprad plant.  

However, Tatramat hasn’t disappeared from the face of the earth. Consumers can see this brand on electric and gas water heaters, solar sets and heat pumps.

The company with the name Tatramat – Water Heaters manufactures these products in cooperation with Stiebel Eltron, its German parent.

Vague picture of manufacturing

In the past, the company faced problems which occur relatively frequently in manufacturing dependent upon manual labor. The performance of individual employees was uneven and since the managers lacked a detailed overview of their productivity, comparing and evaluating them was difficult. This resulted in remuneration which did not fully reflect performance, as well as complicated production planning, since the managers lacked precise information on the length of time it took to manufacture each model.  

The management was aware of the fact that better monitoring of production could bring several benefits, including the basis for increasing productivity. However, the management did not understand monitoring only as a camera system for monitoring of people. Since they were looking for a suitable solution, they went to EMANS system by Anasoft, which enables the collection and subsequent analysis of production data. This is not a company information system (ERP) or an automated production line; it is a solution combining these two areas.  

View of the line

Manufacturing at Tatramat is under a microscope In the past, the Tatramat manufacturing plans for heat pumps were distributed to the employees each day on paper. Papers could get lost or mixed up which increased the error risk. Moreover, errors could occur during the subsequent transcription of records from manufacturing in the information system which was conducted with delay; this was also unnecessarily labor consuming.   

Today, an employee simply scans the series number of the main part of the heat pump and the system immediately recognizes the product, which order it is part of and what should be done with it at the given moment. EMANS in fact converts the production plan into specific operations for individual workers. As a result, each of them can see on the display a visualization of the specific working procedure related to the product he/she is working on, and if necessary, he/she can look into the manufacturing documentation for more detailed information.  

Thus the employees in manufacturing are liberated from handling papers and worries related to the identification of the product. Thanks to precise instructions, they always know what they should do at a given moment. They click off the completion of individual operations thanks to which the system acquires data related to the current course of manufacturing.

What does EMANS bring

These days, a Tatramat production manager can find out which product is being completed on the assembly line, how many pieces of which model have been made in a given day or if the production was stopped for some reason – at any time, even while on vacation.

In addition, EMANS creates reports from collected data. Not only about the performance or productivity of individual workers, but also about attendance, the time of production of individual types of products or downtimes in production. The system can also be adjusted to ensure that only an employee with the necessary authorization in his/her profile, such as a welding course, may enter the operation premises.  

The important benefit of detailed production reports is not only the possibility of remunerating employees more justly, or providing additional training to those lagging behind, but also better planning. When managers know how long it takes to manufacture a certain model it is easier for them to estimate production capacities. This eliminates situations in which the company is unable to keep its promises to clients or has to pay extra costs for the unnecessary storage of parts. 

The overall introduction of the EMANS solution in the manufacturing of heat pumps of Tatramat took 5 weeks. No measurable benefits were recorded in the first two quarters, but after one year, when the majority of employees already knew how to use this system smoothly and without any problems, certain measurable parameters changed even by two digits. For example, productivity grew by 14 % and production time was reduced by up to 17 %. The overall return of the entire system at Tatramat is calculated for 2 years.

In the future (at the beginning of 2016), Tatramat also plans to introduce EMANS to the production lines of other products and connect it to the SAP system, so that orders processed in company software can be automatically transformed in the production plan and assignments for individual workers in production.

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