Good practice

Plastic part manufacturer cuts material losses by half with Lean management

Plastic part manufacturer cuts material losses by half with Lean management
© NicoElNino, #263924578, 2019, source:
Materials, Waste
Metal and plastic processing
High cost
Resource savings: Raw material:
Material losses were cut by 50 %.
Premises and operation areas:
Production processes
Size of company:
Small (less than 50)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:

A big step in the right direction

  • Plastep implemented Lean methodology in their entire production
  • Lean has helped them engage personnel and continuously improve their processes
  • As a result, material losses were cut by 50 %

Plastep is a producer of plastic parts for appliances and machines. The company was founded in 2001 and they always had a strong customer base. However, in the early 2010s, on the back of strategic plans to export to international markets, they realised that they needed a plan to renew and develop their approach to business.

In 2013, they joined a business development programme by Business Finland and were introduced to the concept of Lean management, which has given the company a remarkable boost to develop and improve their production flow and expand to new markets.

The Lean philosophy was adopted throughout the organisation. Actions included improving their production flow, pull control and predictability. Lean methods helped them visualise the production flow and identify where savings and improvements could be implemented. It encouraged employees to actively look for improvement potential in their everyday work. They also adopted digital solutions to improve traceability and the monitoring of production.

As a result, the lead time of their products improved from three weeks to one week, material losses were cut by 50 % and waiting and transfer times also decreased.

The new motivation to develop even encouraged the company to organise a hackathon event for students, as the first SME in Finland to do this. In the event, dozens of students worked to solve an assignment on how to improve manufacturing processes. The ideas from this event were implemented in the production. For example, Plastep now uses a production monitoring system based on one of the ideas created in the hackathon.

Key benefits

  • Material losses were cut by 50 %
  • More efficient processes bring savings – e.g. lead time improved from three weeks to one week
  • Lasting engagement and better motivated employees – they are more active to present development ideas and work towards continuous improvement

“Most remarkable was how we managed to engage the entire personnel. Now every employee wants and knows how to improve our processes. They actively make suggestions for improvements, and we get at least five occurrence reports a week.” -- Kristiina Ketomäki, CEO at Plastep

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