An interview with Olli Räsänen, Production Manager of Stafix Ltd..
It has already been a year since the last time we got some insights on Stafix and you had a great year 2016. How has 2017 started in production? Any exciting news?
“It’s been a great year so far! The first half of 2017 has been good in production and we’re taking new ideas as a part of the production process all the time. We just hired a new employee with a strong print business experience, here in operations, and we’re planning to use all their possible ideas and innovations to keep on improving our production process.”
You take great pride in your fast delivery times – how do you make sure it stays that way in the future as well?
“I think our usual production process plays a big part in that. We make most of our products to stock and always monitor the amount in stock of each product. After that we always optimize the production run size for each product and make as long production runs for the most popular products. That entails that the raw materials are up to a certain level, either in our or the supplier’s end. Because it isn’t wise to make excess amounts, we always have to maintain a certain balance in there, but we control it by checking the status on monthly basis and by reacting proactively to those results.
“Furthermore, I would like to add that we also keep customer specific stock for our regular, bigger customers. When the relationship has certain stability and it is possible to identify a pattern i.e. forecast demand, we will keep an average monthly demand specifically for them on stock. This allows us to ship the orders typically the following day from the order. This has been greatly appreciated among our most active clients.
Part of our products aren’t even made to stock. For example if a customer wants to purchase customized sheet sizes, we produce them by order. In these cases the short set-up time for the production line is even more important and we always aim to improve it. This way we can start the production fast. It also relates to one of our important competition factors, flexibility, which can be seen in production processes and work shifts for example. We can modify them in a short time period in a way that even customized orders can be wrapped up fast and even smaller production sizes can be made profitably. Of course our location, Finland, places us quite far from our main markets and it places lots of requirements on the logistic services. We always try to find the best possible form of transportation for each situation.”
Do you have similar, always on-going processes for making sure the quality is up to standard?
“Quality control is also partly related to delivery times, because it’s easier to control the quality of the product in longer productions runs than it is in short runs. We aim to minimize all resource and material waste with careful resource planning. There’s always an operator inspecting all new sheets in the production line in order to pick out possible quality divergents straight away. We also have sensors in the production line that track the quality non-stop for example by measuring the static charge. The production premises has a set temperature and humidity that we maintain. We also take regular measurements from different parts of the production process to make sure that a certain quality is maintained – for example we aim to make sure the print ink adheres the material really well. The sheet size is also often measured to make sure it’s up to Stafix’s standards. And of course we follow the quality of the raw material itself.
We also observe the quality after the production, in the post-processing and packing section. We have a machine that makes sure the packaged product stacks are even and straight, so that the runnability in the machines is the best possible. So as effortless to the customers as possible. Constant production machinery surveillance and proactive maintenance is also a big part of quality, that helps us keep up the standards.”