By introducing more efficient work practices, Dungannon company Wilsanco Plastics Ltd has made available extra machine capacity which will realize additional sales of almost £500,000 per year. The company is now getting more output from the same input of staff and machinery, thus improving Wilanco’s competitiveness in a dynamic market.

Wilsanco Plastics, manufacturers of packaging for the food industry, achieved the efficiencies after taking part in a Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) programme run by Invest Northern Ireland’s Business Support Services. TPM is a team-based technique that focuses on introducing best practice methodology for production and maintenance staff.

Jerome Kerr, Factory Manager at Wilsanco explains: “Working with Invest NI’s Business Support team we identified the need to maximise staff capacity and flexibility and fully exploit the potential of our latest investments in machinery. This will allow us to meet the increasing demand from customers for smaller batches and quicker delivery.”

Through the TPM programme Invest NI supported the company in employing an experienced consultant who worked with staff in the key manufacturing areas to look at reducing changeover times. Changeovers were identified as being a major factor affecting flexibility, delivery performance and capacity.

By the end of the programme the company had achieved a 50% reduction in print changeover time and a 50% reduction in tool changeover for the moulding team.

“We are now committed to continuous improvement and the adoption of best practice techniques right across the organisation. We hope to work further with Invest NI to identify other areas where we can reduce changeover times and so respond more quickly to our customers. As well as the impact on the bottom line we’ve benefited from the positive team-building experience of the project,” adds Jerome Kerr.

Peter Mc Carron, Business Improvement Service, Executive in Invest NI says that it is essential for companies to maximise equipment and staff output to be able to compete profitably on a global basis.

“In such a competitive international marketplace Northern Ireland companies need to adopt international standards of efficiency to ensure that they are achieving maximum throughput. TPM helps companies identify key areas where efficiency gains can be made, and through a tailored on-site training programme helps them to increase the capability of staff, maximise the output of equipment and so directly impact on their bottom line.”