"The situation at our warehouse in Nurmijärvi was that we were unable to increase material throughput on our own to meet the needs of our business, which is growing by 10-15% annually.
Goods did not fit in the warehouse, there were picking errors, material seemed to be lost and our staff had a lot of absences from work. We did not keep to the agreed deadlines. However, around 10 000 tons of steel leave our warehouse in Nurmijärvi every year to our customers," says Mikko Sten, describing the initial situation.
We know our products very well, but because of our rapid growth we needed help to run our large warehouse in a modern way. We specialize in the import of stainless and acid-resistant steels, and our aim is to be the fastest, most comprehensive and most reliable steel supplier in Finland - and optimizing material flows plays an important role in achieving this.
In early 2020, we held a joint meeting with Transval. We decided to share our problems with confidence, openly and very honestly. We quickly got a couple of logistics workers from Transval to help us. Our staff's work situation became easier and absenteeism decreased. Our own warehouse manager was assisted by Antti Lindholm from Transval.
The Transval team studied and measured work efficiency and working practices in the different task areas of our warehouse. This gave us the baseline data. Transval then made proposals for new material flow and process descriptions. Antti instructed and trained our front-line staff and our warehouse staff in the LEAN thinking and philosophy. Measurement, data-driven information and continuous improvement were brought to the forefront for us through this project.
Transval tendered the necessary supplies and implemented the planned warehouse layout changes, moving shelves and adding the necessary shelving. We added bins for rubbish, moved tools and machines to the right places. Before that, we put the safety issues in place. We introduced barcodes for receiving and collecting goods, so that we know immediately what has arrived, whether it is the right one and what has already been collected for dispatch.
This development increased our efficiency and reduced the number of errors. During the project, Transval also carried out a feedback survey for our staff on three occasions. The survey measures three categories: pre-employment, well-being and atmosphere, and work and workload. Overall, there was an increase of around 15% in the results over the course of the project, with the biggest increase being in the questions relating to chaperone work, up 22.4%.
Now that the consultation project is over, we are again able to continue our growth with confidence and certainty. Material is flowing optimally in our warehouse. Our staff are happy at work. Working with Transval has been easy and the results have been quick. With Transval's help, the reliability of our warehouse has risen to over 96%. There has been full trust on both sides and things have been discussed honestly and openly. Our own staff were very happy to learn new things. The younger ones in particular were excited to learn valuable professional lessons for their own career development."