Autoliv has been developing safety for motorists for more than 50 years. It all started with seat belts. Nowadays the company also develops and manufactures airbags, whiplash protection, integrated child seats, control systems for airbags, and more. But how important is safety in the company's in-house work?
Autoliv innovations and products have been protecting motorists since the 1950s. Safety is also at the heart of what the company does in-house - to safeguard deliveries in a tight production chain, and also to protect its staff.
How people are viewed controls work environment
When you have safety as a business concept, perhaps it is not that unusual to develop a tradition of prioritising the work environment and keeping work-related injuries to a minimum. – "Quite simply, how we view people is important. People are a crucial factor in our development and success," says Erik Tönsgård, Group Head for logistics development at Autoliv.
Autoliv has an active safety committee, and safety representatives who have a part to play in important decisions. No matter what the issue - procurement of equipment, rearrangement of flows or layout changes in the warehouse - all decisions are made with stringent work environment requirements in mind. These are deliberate measures that pay off, including when it comes to Swedish Work Environment Authority audits.
Demanding production with tight boundaries
For Autoliv, safety is also part of guaranteeing production and deliveries. The company has a tight production chain with lots of goods passing through, short lead times and daily deliveries. What is completed today has to be sent out tomorrow.
"If anything goes down, production will stop within the hour"
These tight tolerances make materials handling a critical function at Autoliv. - "If anything goes down, production will stop within the hour," says Erik Tönsgård.
About a decade ago, this created a major logistical challenge for Autoliv. At that time, the company had an automated system with narrow aisle trucks, a kind of hoisting crane on rails which could not be moved or modified. This was a risk factor when it came to delivery reliability.
Flexibility safeguards deliveries
Autoliv collaborated with Atlet to come up with a more flexible solution, with free-moving sit-on stackers. These could be moved around between various applications as required, and their design was adapted to suit Autoliv's own specific requirements.
First of all, Autoliv needed trucks which could travel particularly quickly on antistatic flooring. They were also customised to allow faster, easier battery changes. Finally, the sit-on stackers were also fitted with special seats which were designed to provide the right ergonomic conditions for long periods of use.
The sit-on stackers selected also included a unique innovation from Atlet, S3, which prevents the stackers from overturning. The technical solution adapts the speed automatically according to the angle of the steering light, and the height and weight of the load. This ensures that the stacker moves at the right speed while maintaining maximum safety.
Good relations create security
The main feature of the company's partnership with Atlet is personal relations. For example, Atlet service engineer Anders Benjaminsson is a key person in Autoliv's operations.
"Anders knows everyone here and is very familiar with what we do. He knows what demands we face in terms of tight lead times and so forth."
"We have been working with Anders for as long as I have been at Autoliv, so for at least five years. He knows everyone here and is very familiar with what we do. He knows what demands we face in terms of tight lead times and so forth. He gives us great help fast if any problems arise," explains Erik Tönsgård.
Nils Engelbrektson from Atlet is another valuable resource for Autoliv. He acts as a sounding board and as a source of knowledge and new approaches. "When we were renovating the warehouse a couple of years ago, we were able to discuss appropriate walkway widths with Nils in relation to the spaces for pallets so that we could use the available space as effectively as possible. We have also been able to ask for his advice with regard to driving licences for various types of trucks," says Erik Tönsgård.
These good relations create security and continuity, all helping to ensure that Autoliv is able to maintain high levels of delivery precision and reliability.
Would you also like a personal partner who can advise you on your materials handling?
Contact your local Atlet representative.