01/07/2021 | Prof. Dr. Peter Kuhlang is the new CEO of MTM ASSOCIATION e. V.
The MTM ASSOCIATION e. V., one of the leading industry associations with a good 240 member companies, has a new managing director. Prof. Dr. Peter Kuhlang succeeded Knuth Jasker on 01.01.2021, who will continue to advise the MTM organization on strategic issues for another two years. Peter Kuhlang had already been appointed second managing director of Deutsche MTM-Gesellschaft Industrie- und Wirtschaftsberatung mbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of MTM ASSOCIATION e. V., in July 2020 and is now also solely responsible for this business. In the following interview, he talks about his new role and the future direction of the MTM organization.
Prof. Kuhlang, for those who don't know what MTM is, a brief explanation in advance?
MTM is an organization on the one hand and a method on the other – so the term has an institutional and an instrumental aspect. The organization is the MTM ASSOCIATION e. V., as the headquarters of the international partner network One-MTM responsible for training, consulting, software development and research around MTM. The MTM instrument represents the MTM process building block systems, which are based on the MTM standard performance and are used for the temporal and ergonomic evaluation of workflows or processes. MTM is a language of industrial engineering that is spoken worldwide and also plays an important role in digitization.
Knuth Jasker has passed the baton in the management to you. A big task and a big responsibility – do you already have a plan?
Of course. The most important task for 2021 is to ensure that we can stabilize ourselves in terms of our business model – after all, it will be another difficult year from the Corona aspect. Nevertheless, the core mission of the MTM ASSOCIATION remains: To establish MTM as a global standard. That is what drives me.
Establishing MTM as a global standard – what are the to do's?
We have to see that we get the principles that make up this standard into the heads – of decision-makers, consultants, employees and, above all, our members and customers. That is essentially the uniform dissemination of MTM, that we all speak the same language. We're going to use digitization to do that; there are tremendous opportunities there. And we must use the trust in MTM and in the reliability of MTM to ultimately make MTM indispensable for our customers. There are already concrete ideas about what strategies and measures are needed. The focus of our work will be on further professionalizing the existing national and international network and building partnerships.
Will anything change in the way the MTM organization sees itself?
In the future, we see ourselves as enablers for MTM application; we don't have to do everything ourselves. We will enable software manufacturers to use our TiCon product or certify them with the "Approved by MTM ASSOCIATION" certificate that they are using the MTM process module systems correctly. We will establish partners in training who teach in the spirit of the MTM standard. We will also follow this path in consulting – and as research partners anyway.
How can MTM be made accessible to a wider circle of users?
To this end, I think it is necessary to advance our MTM-Prime and MTM-Easy concepts on the content side and to make them known – from the point of view of producing correct MTM analyses, but without detailed knowledge of MTM. This is a new thought approach. The goal must be that those who use MTM understand only the semantic aspects of MTM, i.e., what benefits they get from this method – but they no longer need to know the syntax, i.e., the exact set of rules, in detail. We will provide users with automated MTM analyses or a very simple form of MTM application, so that both MTM-Prime and MTM-Easy will focus on the use of the results.
The MTM ASSOCIATION has been awarded Innovator 2020 for the software product MTM-Easy. For which user group was this product designed?
MTM-Easy is an ingenious idea for obtaining a benchmark of the time in which a production area should or must be able to complete certain tasks – a productivity target, so to speak. The production time determined with MTM-Easy is a solid, well-founded, comprehensible orientation value, especially for the small and medium-sized entrepreneur, i.e. for the user without deeper detailed knowledge of MTM, in which direction it can or must go with its production.
What makes MTM-Easy so easy to use?
Simple MTM application means only by anticipating the workflow, by clicking on pictograms, to select the MTM process modules behind it and thus to draw along reliable, binding time values. However, it is also easy to use for consultants who are involved in industrial engineering or time management. With MTM-Easy, they have an ideal tool to expand their consulting portfolio. Correct MTM analyses without deep detailed knowledge – this new approach manifests itself especially in MTM-Easy. The determined times are solid and reliable – the user does not have to worry about how exactly they are calculated. This is what we stand for with the reliability of MTM.
You helped launch the international partner network One-MTM, which started on February 2, 2020. What was the motivation, the idea behind it?
We needed to create structures that would enable us to work in an efficient and structured way on the worldwide dissemination of the MTM standard. There is an organization that takes responsibility in this network for the content path and the provision of resources. And there is the idea to involve more and more partners, to open up the organization, to take on board as many as possible who want to work with MTM, who want to take MTM further, who want to consult, teach, develop software and do research with MTM. We can see that we have already achieved great successes in the first year in terms of the uniformity of MTM training, particularly through digitization, which has brought us a massive step forward.
What do customers gain from an international One-MTM partner network?
The great advantage for our member companies and customers is that we offer our services and thus the MTM standard uniformly worldwide. With a central contact and referral to the partner network, we ensure that what customers need at the production sites or in the regions – be it MTM training, consulting services or software solutions – is available locally or digitally.
A good ten years ago, when asked about the skills of the industrial engineer of the future, you replied: "He must approach the planning and design of human work with a sound approach." How does MTM support industrial engineering today?
The IEler's self-understanding of a sound approach to human work planning has, of course, remained. That is, after all, inherent in the MTM process language. What MTM as a language will contribute to the development of industrial engineering in the future is the ability to translate human motion data that is available in digital form – for example, from a motion capturing system, a human simulation, a VR/AR application or from video analyses – in such a way that the end result is objective and comprehensible timing information. Tracking human kinematics, or more precisely decoding them in time – that's what we're working on under the heading of parameterized data stream of human work, or MTM-pDmA for short.
What significance does MTM have for digital planning in the future?
In the digital planning world, we can simulate almost anything – from building data to construction and product data to compressed air connections at workstations. But what we lack is the objective, digital interpretation of human movements from a temporal and ergonomic perspective. Only the MTM language can do that. And that is why digitization, at least that of the design or planning of human work, will also only be possible with MTM.
The value of MTM analysis is undisputed in industrial engineering. MTM is a measure of human performance. Of course, one can discuss this yardstick. But if I use this yardstick to measure human work, human performance, then the result is always equally wrong. And we use this aspect in a positive sense, i.e. we provide a correct MTM analysis via the interpretation of motion data, via mapping and by transferring it into an MTM analysis in our process building block systems – MTM-HWD, MTM-1, MTM-UAS and others. The user has the benefit I have already described: He does not have to worry about creating this analysis and may make mistakes in the process, but it is our job and our competence to provide correct MTM analyses – and that is what we do.
How do you have to imagine the process?
The motion data will arrive at MTM in digital form – we will interpret it in our TiCon software – we will calculate the correct MTM analysis and thus the corresponding time to this motion data – this time will then be fed back to the customer system. Thus the customer or the planner has a basic time available for which we put our hand in the fire – approved by MTM ASSOCIATION. This is the vision that will determine our work in the future.