Clean Cut Meals

clean cut meals full photo

One of LEO Galway’s big success stories this year is Clarinbridge-based firm, Clean Cut Meals, the first meal prep company in the west of Ireland, established by Michael Dyer and Conor McCallion.

The company was the winner of the Best Established Business award at last year’s Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur. Following Lean principles (through our Lean for Micro programme), it has changed its layout for assembly and packing – making its day to day operations much more efficient.

Michael says: ‘We started this company ourselves with no experience in terms of meal prep. I was a chef so obviously had experience with food but not to this scale. We thought we were doing a great job until Paula [McNicholas – Lean for Micro coordinator] came in and said: ‘well you could do this a lot better.’ We used to batch everything, we’d put out let’s say 500 containers on a table, one man would go around and fill one component, then the second one would follow – and there were six components in total. Then they’d all be lidded, stacked, brought to the fridge to be unstacked – this was just the normality.’

‘From that we went down to a process line, one line of six people, one meal at a time, and there was massive resistance to that. Everyone downstairs was under the illusion that this was never going to work and it was way slower - but it was faster. We were constantly learning. So, we went from a one line process to a two line, then to a four line.’ As a result, the company’s productivity has gone up a massive 400%.

Michael adds: ‘It’s not about cutting hours and cutting employees. It’s about saving time – and time is money – but at the same time, this time saved is time actually used to enhance the product, to go after more sales, to build better customer relationships. So, it’s actually time saved that’s built in for extra profit. It’s not like we’re saying to the lads ‘hurry up we’re going to get this six-hour shift done and we’re all going to leave.’ It just means we can spend a little more time on product development now -  that’s what it’s given us, an extra advantage to spend time on areas where we were lacking.’

Besides the improvement in a company’s bottom line, lean techniques can also improve the working environment, staff morale, engagement, problem solving and communication. Participants in the LEO Galway scheme have reported a significant improvement in their work-life balance.

Another Galway company which is reaping the benefits is Ballinasloe-based distribution company Rackzone. Since participating in Lean for Micro, the firm’s productivity has increased by 50% and they’ve seen a significant positive financial impact. The company has made changes to its assembly process, and has also made savings through stock reduction.

Gerry Skehill of New Inn-based company Skehill Carpentry, says he’s reorganised his manufacturing unit and created a work space for everyone in the business. He’s also standardised projects which saves time while still offering a bespoke service to his customers. Improvements in time-management has also led to a better work-life balance for Gerry and his staff.

Another Ballinasloe company, Beechlawn Organics, employs 20 people. Owner Padraig Fahy describes it as a small business, thinking now like a big distributor. Beechlawn has improved efficiencies with a new labelling system and a more effective phone service. They’ve also doubled their packing process for their organic vegetables since starting Lean for Micro.

To sum up, the seven companies who’ve taken part in Lean for Micro this year have made average savings of 83 thousand euro – and their output and productivity is up by an average of 107%.

Local companies who wish to find out more about Lean for Micro should email, or call Local Enterprise Office Galway at 091-509090.