WSM Plastics are toolmakers and plastic injection moulding specialists, manufacturing bespoke plastic components and products for their customers. Their customer base includes manufacturers of soap and sanitising dispensers, medical components and dosing pumps. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have experienced an increased demand from their customers in the hygiene and medical industry to supply them with essential plastic components for dosing and dispensing equipment. To adapt to the increased demand, the decision was made in March 2020 to change the production pattern. The team managed to successfully adapt within three days from being a company that worked two shifts, five days a week to a company that has a full 24/6 production to support their customers with essential components.
Managing increased production demand
As a manufacturer of bespoke customer products and components, WSM Plastics has been working tirelessly since the beginning of the pandemic to meet the increased demand from customers requiring specific medical device injection molding for essential components for sanitising and dispensing systems.
“We are producing many components for our customers in the hygiene industry. The plastic components we produce are used by them to manufacture hand sanitising dispensers, dispensing pumps and soap dispensers.” Martin Jones, Technical Sales Director comments.
At the beginning of the UK lockdown government guidelines stated that companies involved in the production of cleaning and hygiene products would be classified as key services. This meant that WSM Plastics could continue to manufacture components for their customers. In March 2020 WSM Plastics adapted 80% of their manufacturing facility to focus on the production of sanitising and dispensing systems, whilst still supporting their customers from other sectors with the remaining 20% capacity.
Teamwork and staff training is key
The company has continuously invested in staff training, giving its workforce the skills to react quickly to changes. Within three working days and commitment from their team, they were able to go from a company that worked two shifts five days/week to a company that went into full 24/6 production. Their warehouse facilities were converted into new assembly lines. 50% of the customer care team volunteered to work in the warehouse to help dispatch 60 pallets of goods every day, and two team members volunteered and were trained to get their forklift license to help with the work in the warehouse. Martin Jones comments: “Everyone from customer care, sales, design, the tool room and warehouse all have been working extra hours and weekends to fulfill customer orders. It is great to see that everyone is so committed.”
As a plastic injection moulding manufacturer, it is key to keep all the tools serviced. The tool room team have also been working additional hours and weekends to keep the 350 tools fully serviced.
WSM Plastics is part of a bigger group of companies and they sent some of their mould setters to facilities within the group to help support their transition to have a 24/6 production.
Since the beginning of March 2020, WSM Plastics have produced 12 million components that were sent to customers worldwide from their premises in Lancing. They produced 150,000 fully assembled and working sanitiser dispensers dispatched in June alone. Additionally, they produced and dispatched 100,000 pump assemblies to their customers in May/June.
Adapting to challenging times
With environmental factors being a priority for customers, especially sourcing sustainable products, there has been a higher demand for recycled plastic injection molding which WSM Plastics has had to adapt to. Along with this, managing a manufacturing facility during the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging but WSM Plastic managed to increase their production capabilities through teamwork, leadership, flexible processes and commitment of all their employees. The coming months will continue to bring challenges but they will also bring opportunities to optimise work processes, operations and technology.
About WSM Plastics Ltd.
WSM Plastics is a professional toolmaker and plastic injection moulding specialist of commodity plastics to high-end engineering polymers. They offer their customers complete solutions from product concept, prototyping, toolmaking, plastic injection moulding to the manufacturing of the final product along with short run injection molding, all under one roof.