KGN Tool

Pinja’s Lean training helped KGN Tool get rid of unnecessary work and increased mutual interaction and transparency.

Cooperation in brief:

The aim is to increase the efficiency of production

The goal of the ean project was to increase production efficiency by cutting back on unnecessary activities and increasing interaction and transparency. Pinja and Yrkesakademi i Österbotten were selected as partners for the development task.

Tools to development

The training consisted of a short theoretical part, concrete development work in a production environment and 5S exercises. In the future, day-to-day operations and their results will be monitored through day-to-day management.

Results now and in the future

At the end of the training, the productivity of the product that was selected was improved by as much as 221%. The training has both streamlined production, but also improved internal communication and brought a clear structure to day-to-day management.

The exceptional situation necessitated more efficient production

Despite a stable customer base, the pandemic has been challenging for the company. The effects are visible in e.g. the turnover and the fact that there was a need for temporary lay-offs during the quietest moments. Business Finland helped with the challenges. Their development support for disruptions was used to launch Lean training to increase production efficiency.

– Despite the difficulties, we were keen to find a way to develop the operations. We want to become more efficient, provide more jobs and, if necessary, also recruit new skilled staff. So we contacted the YA – Vocational College of Ostrobothnia, a vocational training provider in Vaasa, who tipped us about Pinja, explains factory manager Tom Helsing.

The YA – Vocational College of Ostrobothnia has been conducting Lean training with Pinja for several years. The cooperation with YA has provided versatile training in Lean methods and thinking in various customer projects, as well as in joint expert events. 

Lean training has streamlined production, but also improved internal communication and brought a clear structure to day-to-day management.

Tom Helsing, Manager, KGN Tool

Lean training helped get rid of unproductive work

Janne Lamberg, who works on projects related to production efficiency at Pinja, describes the situation of KGN Tool as quite typical.

– The world of the manufacturing industry is full of untapped opportunities for improving efficiency. Most of these can be achieved fairly quickly and with a reasonable investment. In my daily life, my job is to help clients improve their operating methods, their management and the deployment of digitalized production methods, Lamberg describes.

According to Lamberg, Lean is a business development tool based on streamlining operations. At the heart of Lean is the elimination of unnecessary work, standardized operating models, and continuous improvement. In the case of KGN Tool, the objectives for training were clear.

– We wanted to increase the efficiency of production by cutting unnecessary activities, but also to get new thoughts, ideas and perspectives. Our staff is committed, and there are people with decades-long career in the company. That is why we felt that an external expert could bring us something new, Helsing says.

Lean training was started with a short theoretical part, in which the Lean philosophy and the culture of continuous improvement were revised together. After this, we moved to the company’s own production environment, where development work was carried out by means of assessing the current situation. In practice, the work was performed by reviewing the production steps of a pre-selected product in detail, piece by piece.

– Together, we reviewed more than 40 manufacturing steps for one of our products, and documented each manufacturing step and the time it takes down to the second. Once we knew these details, we were able to analyze what was a waste of time in the task and how these extra steps could be eliminated, Helsing says.

When the surplus work steps were identified and corrected, the results were astonishing: a three-day training managed to improve productivity of the selected product by as much as 221%. 

The training package also included an exercise in the Lean 5S method (Sort, Set In Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain), which supports the organization in taking a step towards a more usable operating environment while achieving visible results quickly. In practice, this meant cleaning and reorganizing the operating environment in a new way. According to Helsing, such small measures, which even sound simple, often receive inadequate attention in daily life.

– I strongly believe that the small but quite visible measures will have an impact on work efficiency and the work environment.

In the future, daily operations and their results will be monitored through day-to-day management. This means that a short, under 15-minute daily meeting is held to ensure that important information is passed on to each employee. The meetings identify possible deviations and manages corrective actions.

In addition to more efficient production, transparency also increased

With a total duration of 10 weeks, Lean training was a great success. According to Helsing, the training improved the production efficiency, but also the company’s internal communication, and brought a clear structure to day-to-day management. 

– Potential shortcomings, areas for development and successes are more apparent when they have their own time and process. In addition, the entire staff knows what will happen at any given time, as well as what things are topical. I think this motivates us all to work together better.

According to Helsing, the commitment of the staff was an essential part of the success, and the training would not have been successful without everyone’s commitment to a common goal. Pinja’s Janne Lamberg also receives gratitude.

– Janne is such a practical and enthusiastic guy. His long career in different roles and environments is reflected in his ability to treat different people correctly and motivate them to do their best. There was no unnecessary rush or too much formality. He was just “Janne” to us, helping us become even better at our work. 

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