TAWI – Swedish Innovation since 1923

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2023 marks TAWI’s 100th anniversary. One of the ways we will be celebrating this milestone is by taking a deeper look at the key brand values that have helped us on our journey and will guide us in the future. Innovation, together with transformation and partnership, are the cornerstones that form our core values and the basis of how we act as a company. They embody everything that is TAWI.

Why Innovation is Crucial to Your BusinessTAWI Innovation Mike Lee

It is no exaggeration to say that innovation propels human civilization forward. It is innovation that led us to cross oceans, take to the skies, and explore space. That led to the creation of life-changing tools and technology like the printing press, the Industrial Revolution, and the internet.

It is also innovation that is most often the critical component for achieving success in any business.

In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, fostering a culture of innovation is indispensable. By embracing innovation, companies can stay ahead of the competition, adapt to evolving market dynamics, drive efficiency and growth, attract top talent, and deliver customer-centric solutions. As we navigate the future, innovation will continue to be the driving force that propels companies towards new horizons of success. And TAWI’s primary goal is to help companies on that journey.


TAWI – a Century of Innovation

TAWI didn’t start out as a vacuum lifting company.  We have changed business direction on numerous occasions, thus keeping pace with the times, and have evolved from a manufacturing company within the Swedish steel industry to our current form, a trusted global partner for innovative and smart material handling solutions. This ability to innovate internally has enabled TAWI to adapt and grow  and to help our customers to do the same.

One of the TAWI team that has witnessed TAWI’s innovations firsthand is Mike Lee. Mike joined TAWI fresh out of college in 1992 and is now TAWI’s Vice President in charge of the North American market. During Mike’s tenure, he has seen the North American market grow dramatically, and TAWI along with it.

“When I came onboard, we had were only two people taking care of the entire North American market. As late as 2016, we were still only five people, but with our acquisition by SEB in 2017, we grew rapidly and are now 41 in the US and 9 in Canada. The potential was always there – but when I started, concern about safety and ergonomics was not as high in US as it was in Europe. That has changed over time. Demands on ergonomics and safety have grown exponentially and these issues are now a fundamental part of almost every business segment. And then there’s the rise of e-commerce, of course. The items that must be shifted or moved have become lighter, not heavier, but vastly greater in number. Lifting products must be fast and easy to do because users must be able to get up and running as quickly as possible. All these changes in market conditions and operational challenges have required innovation. And TAWI has responded.”

In his 31 years with the company, Mike has seen firsthand how TAWI has not only adapted to the many changes in the marketplace, but led many of the innovations that defined the past decades.

“TAWI’s basic approach has always been one of innovation — both peripheral and attitudinal. As our customer’s businesses and needs have changed, we have adapted. Starting with the invention of vacuum lift assist, TAWI has always been at the forefront of innovation. The first stainless steel lifter, the first to pioneer lighter and faster lifters, the first to develop mobile assist… TAWI has always responded to changing market conditions and demands with innovation and refinements. Not to brag, but TAWI has been behind each and every single innovation in our industry. Every competitor has to follow where we lead, to copy what we have done. Innovation,” Mike says, “is about making changes to something that is established, to introduce new methods or ideas. So, in a way, TAWI’s continued growth is the very definition of innovation.”


Innovation = Progress

TAWI’s innovations in vacuum lifting technology have brought significant advancements to a wide range of industries. From enhanced suction pads with designs that offer improved grip and stability during lifting operations to the integration of intelligent control systems that enable precise and automated operations, we have helped companies maximize efficiency and productivity. TAWI’s highly customizable systems have enabled customers to meet diverse lifting needs and boast the industry’s most ergonomic designs, prioritizing both worker comfort and safety as well as productivity. One key result is healthier employees and a more flexible workforce, allowing our customers to free up valuable resources, reduce sick leave, and employ any person regardless of sex or physical ability.

Mike Lee views innovation as central to TAWI’s ongoing evolution. “At TAWI, innovation has always meant making constant, ongoing improvements to our products, always with an eye of increasing productivity and profitability. But,” Mike continues, “innovation isn’t always about products. We have seen a great deal of innovation in attitudes towards hiring practices and workplace safety. TAWI products allow any person – regardless of size or strength — to lift and handle the same loads. Which in turn enables a more diverse workplace and helps companies face an increasingly difficult labor market, allowing fewer workers to lift and move more materials.”

In the same way that the invention of machines and industrial processes made it possible for people to produce more in less time and for one person to provide for an entire family, TAWI’s inventions have helped businesses create more efficient and profitable operations. By enabling individuals to lift more and do so more safely, our innovations have helped companies streamline production, reduce damage to both humans and products and remain profitable in an ever-changing world. To date, we have helped over 50,000 customers transform their material handling from manual to smart lifting and create a safer and more sustainable way of working.

Mike sees a great future for TAWI – and for a continued focus on innovation. “Logistics and e-commerce continue to grow – and TAWI will be there to make lifting, faster, easier, and safer. The world is becoming more and more automated. We will naturally be following this trend and developing newer and even more efficient products to match market developments. As we have for the past 100 years.”


The Future is Dependent Upon Innovation

From the invention of fire to the more modern inventions that shape our present and our future, we measure the progress of our species by the amount of innovation that occurs. This is something that we at TAWI have always understood. It has been the key to our success since the very beginning.

“TAWI has always been about innovation,” says Mike Lee. “From steel manufacturing to oil trading to vacuum lifters to complete lifting systems. We are not even close to being the same business as we were. Keep in mind that it was only in the 1980s that we shifted to safety and ergonomics. It will be exciting to see what innovations the future has in store!”

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