Pulpi, Almería-based company Primaflor, known for its continuous innovation over its 30-year history, embarked on a new adventure at the beginning of the century: they decided to sell ready-mix salads in plastic bags, as was happening in the US. This plan developed into an important business line for the company, which today produces more than 12,000 tons of salad each year.
As David Ortiz, head of salad production at Primaflor, told attendees at a forum organized in Madrid by Sisteplant, this product has made Primaflor into an example of successful lean manufacturing implementation. Sisteplant assisted Primaflor in implementing this method, which pursues rapid adaptation to changes to meet customer needs, increases in efficiency, a reduction in production time and simplification of oversight.
In an evolving industry, "Primaflor knows that the capacity to change was growing in importance, as distributors placed increasingly disparate orders. Today, 240 different salads are shipped daily and we accept same-day orders until 5 in the afternoon", says Ortiz. In the last year, the company has doubled the number of changes it's capable of processing, currently absorbing 7,000 per month with increasing speed.
The company is able to work with an extensive product range and tight deadlines due to improvements in productivity and efficiency which commenced in 2008 and were completed in 2010 with the implementation lean manufacturing, according to Ortiz. "The process is ongoing. We continue to function in line with lean concepts and we are always studying potential improvements with a view to rolling them out."