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Quality and customer satisfaction through lean thinking

Raisioagro has determinedly implemented lean thinking. Over the last few years, many of the company’s processes have been simplified and Raisioagro has established its way to focus on the work creating value for customers.

Lean thinking is a management philosophy aiming to improve customer satisfaction, quality and cost-effectiveness. Raisioagro has implemented lean thinking since 2014. All employees have attended multi-day lean training events; practices and processes have been discussed from a new perspective using lean tools. After the events, business processes have been described according to lean, and wastes - non-value adding phases – have been cut down and shortened. Earlier, particularly the production focused on the improvement of resource efficiency, but now the focus is on the development of the flow efficiency. 

Lean has helped to focus on the essential

In lean thinking, value is defined as something that the customer is willing to pay for. Roughly speaking, all other activity is waste that should be avoided or at least minimised. The idea is to make things in a simple way and to focus on activities adding value. Continuous improvement and learning are fundamental principles in lean thinking. 

Encouraging results

The new management approach has brought significant results. As the manufacturing is based on customer demand, lead time has been reduced and stocks of raw materials and finished goods have decreased. At the same time, we have been able to serve customers more flexibly and employees have learned to better understand the functioning of the whole organization. Many business processes are now simpler and faster.
What is encouraging is that employees themselves have started to question their established practices. In addition, they are empowered to change, when necessary, processes related to their duties. The change in the workplace culture has had a good start. Employees have found the trainings and lean thinking inspiring and useful. 

Raisioagro will continue to use the lean approach and to share best practices.. The company has achieved an overall picture of the value stream, and defined development areas. 

Competent and motivated personnel is seen as a significant resource at the Raisio Group. The Group used EUR 420,000 to train its employees in 2016. In addition, several internal training events were organised.