Productivity boost for Pland Stainless Ltd

Leeds-based manufacturer increases turnover by 9% in four months after investing in new equipment with support from the LEP Productivity Pilot.

Leeds-based manufacturer celebrates 100 years with a boost in turnover

Pland Stainless Ltd increases turnover by 9% in four months after investing in new equipment with support from the LEP.

Pland Stainless manufactures and supplies a range of sanitaryware and washroom equipment to hospitals and public sector organisations. Like many in the manufacturing industry, Pland’s equipment was old and becoming obsolete making it expensive to maintain and slow to operate. By receiving a grant from the LEP Business Productivity Pilot, the manufacturer was able to purchase a fibre laser cutter that has increased turnover and improved the production flow and efficiency, saving the business money on energy costs.

Key achievements include: 

  • Turnover increased by 9% in four months
  • Productivity increased by 1.5%, exceeding the target by 0.7%
  • Increased product quality due to accuracy of machinery

Established in 1919, Pland Stainless Ltd is a reputable manufacturer of high-quality stainless-steel equipment, offering customers a range of products including bowls, basins and sinks.

Productivity on the manufacturing floor can be largely determined by the efficiency of equipment and processes and by measuring its existing output levels, Pland recognised that it could maximise efficiency by upgrading its machinery and organising its workspace to create a smoother workflow.  

Technological advances in machinery made Pland’s obsolete in comparison; slow and complex operations resulted in low lead times, reduced employee motivation and turnover, and high energy consumption. Pland could benefit from an upgrade to newer technology but without enough funds for capital investments, faced waiting a year to make any changes, with the potential of equipment failing and seeing a loss of turnover during this time.

Speaking about their needs with local LEP Growth Manager, David Baggaley, in October 2018, Pland was invited to apply for a grant through the LEP Business Productivity Pilot programme. Despite initially finding the process daunting, Pland was supported by the LEP and was successfully awarded a grant of nearly £80,000 in January 2019.

The business used the grant to invest in a fibre laser cutter which has transformed operations. Within the first few months, the manufacturer has seen significant improvements to lead times through the speed and reliability of the new machinery. Money has been saved due to lower direct costs and lower energy consumption, and the changes have also impacted the employees who have been more motivated since the investment.

Steve Duree, Managing Director at Pland Stainless Ltd said: 

“Pland Stainless have recently celebrated their centenary year manufacturing commercial sinks and sanitaryware in Leeds. Our home has always been in Leeds, West Yorkshire, so were justifiably proud of the location and our association with this great city. Much of our workforce live in and around the Leeds City Region and it’s great to be able to contribute to the local economy. The LEP have communicated effectively the role they play in partnering with local business and this has strongly influenced our decisions on where to invest. The investment has seen us increase our turnover and profitability thereby allowing us to continue with further investment.”

This year, Pland Stainless Steel will continue to invest in new technology to secure the business’ position as the UK’s number one manufacturer of stainless steel sanitaryware. There are plans to install a robotic polishing cell which will improve productivity and deliver a consistent finish to products.

Stainless steel is a fully recyclable material and if taken care of will deliver a lifetime of use. By minimising the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions, Pland will continue to reduce the impact the business has on the environment.

The LEP have communicated effectively the role they play in partnering with local business and this has strongly influenced our decisions on where to invest.

Managing Director, Pland Stainless Ltd

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