Challenge: Manufacturing efficiency and unproductive waiting times between production steps.

Tasowheel, a company established in 1979, is a Tampere-based manufacturer of transmission components seeking international growth. At present, the company employs about 60 manufacturing workers and 15 white-collar workers.

A special challenge related to Tasowheel’s production is that the production chain is exceptionally long and meandering. A typical product requires 8-10 work steps and the materials can vary greatly.

In my opinion, the reason behind the good results is that we took the opportunity to review our activities as a whole in the context of the PES project.

Project in brief

Solution: A manufacturing execution development project implemented with Pinja streamlined the operation.

In the manufacturing execution development project, Tasowheel Gears and Pinja jointly created new operation models for production planning. By the end of the project, Tasowheel commissioned a PES production planning system integrated into Powered-ERP. Tasowheel chose Pinja as the service supplier because of the company’s flexibility as a co-operation partner.

After preparation for the integration within the framework of a definition project, the implementation stage followed. The completed integration was introduced in production in August 2019, and the improvements were evident right away, says Mikael Mäkinen, Production Manager. In Tasowheel’s business area Gears, he is responsible for production, procurements, and IT arrangements, among other tasks.

– With PES, we managed to shorten the unproductive waiting time between different production stages significantly, by an estimated 20%. In addition, there is less work in progress on the plant floor and the amount of capital tied up in production has decreased, Mäkinen says.

"With PES, we managed to shorten the unproductive waiting time between different production stages significantly, by an estimated 20%."
Mikael Mäkinen, Production Manager, Tasowheel

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Renewed IT system, renewed operation
models

Through PES integration, Tasowheel Gears sought to improve the visibility, predictability, security of supply, and capacity utilization rate of its production, among other things. In addition, the objective was to reduce the amount of work in progress and the empty, unproductive waiting time between stages.

– We use CGI’s Powered enterprise resource planning system, and it naturally includes structures for organizing production and for coarse load management, for example. In the past, however, our work management used to plan the fine load in practice, and decided the order of production as well, Mäkinen says.

The long and meandering production chain posed additional challenges to development. A typical product involves up to ten work stages and different materials.

– We have noticed the effects of these special features in other development projects as well. Our operation involves an exceptionally large number of different materials, stages, and dependencies, all of which need to be considered when optimizing manufacturing. The same challenge quickly emerged as we elaborated PES integration further, Mäkinen recalls.

The company has come a long way. According to Mäkinen, all the important indicators show that the direction of development is proper and positive. In addition to actual production optimization, changes have occurred in the company’s working methods and processes. In SOP process optimization, external consultant assistance was utilized, and as a by-product of the PES development project, sales and communication have improved as well.

– In my opinion, the reason behind the good results is that we took the opportunity to review our activities as a whole in the context of the PES project. For example, we now have an appointed production planner who utilizes PES in the planning. At the same time, the management’s functions have been modified towards plan implementation, thereby freeing up the managers’ time for management of work, their principal job, Mäkinen says.

Efficiently towards the future

Over time, the family business originally established for manufacture of gears more than forty years ago has developed into a versatile component manufacturer. The next step in development is to invest increasingly more in international growth. About half of the company’s production is already being exported, for example, to the Nordic countries, Russia, and Central Europe.

Continuous production development and automation also strongly serve the goal of internationalization. In terms of turnover, Gears is Tasowheel’s largest business area, and other subsidiaries are currently planning production enhancement projects as well.

– Our products are of high quality, and with the help of optimized production, I believe in our ability to become a recognized and trusted contract manufacturer on the international level, Mäkinen sums up.

Mikael Mäkinen

Production Manager, Tasowheel

Project in brief

1

Within the framework of the project, a PES production planning system was
introduced.

2

Unproductive waiting time has been reduced by 20%.

3

Continuous production development and automation also strongly serve the goal of internationalization.

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