Accelerate - November 2013

Lean initiatives slice project time by two-thirds

A project that would have taken Lower Hutt packaging company Flight Plastics three years to complete has been accomplished in just one year, thanks to the implementation of Better by Lean initiatives.

With the help of Callaghan Innovation’s R&D funding and the Better by Lean scheme, Flight Plastics, which manufactures a range of plastic containers to meet food and horticultural packaging needs, has successfully found more efficient ways to increase its productivity.

Flight Plastics General Manager Keith Smith says that the company wanted to pursue new productivity initiatives but didn’t have sufficient engineering resources to undertake the project in a timely manner.

He says the R&D funding allowed them to use outside expertise and widen the scope of the project to gain a more significant benefit.

Callaghan Innovation provided guidance in structuring the project and helped with goal setting through Better by Lean manufacturing implementation, which is an initiative that helps businesses to improve performance, eliminate inefficient processes and activities, and increase customer satisfaction.

Smith says the benefits of the Better by Lean initiatives were immediately evident in the area of staff looking for opportunities to reduce waste and improve workflows. “We’re also seeing benefits in improved workplace organisation and process improvement.”

Without this, we would have been forced to undertake the work over a much longer period. With the R&D funding, we carried out the project in one year. Without the funding, we estimate it would have taken at least three years to complete.

Updated: 7 September 2015