Market leader in pizza strips selected Kaptas automation

Customer experiences

Karealian Lihajaloste Oy is the market leader in the wholesale selling of pizza strips in Finland. The production plant in Ylämylly produces annually approximately 1.3 million kilos of pizza strips. The packing process of strips was automatised in spring 2018. Thanks to automation, the working time needed for the production was cut from five days to three.

The cost-effectiveness of production is one of the central benefits of automation, but not the only one.

– It is also a question of hygiene and work ergonomics, stated Karelian Lihajaloste CEO, Sami Puustinen.

In food production, the process is guided by stringent quality and hygiene standards. Automation enables watertight hygiene. In terms of work ergonomics, the automation solution realised by Kaptas is a huge improvement. Previously, a person working in the packing line of pizza strips packed manually the packages of 2.5 kilos in a separate 12.5 kilo transport box. The transport boxes were packed on top of each other on a platform in seven levels.

– It was quite an exertion to lift the uppermost boxes. Shoulders and back are under heavy stress, as 10.000 kilos are packed every day.

Today, the filling of transport boxes and piling them on the platform is done automatically. Full platforms are moved with a forklift in the cold-storage room to wait for the daily transport in wholesale firms across Finland.

In terms of work ergonomics, the automation solution realised by Kaptas is a huge improvement

Video – Case Karelian Lihajaloste Oy

Finnish favourite

Karelian Lihajaloste is a family business established in 1990. They employ approximately 20 people and a dozen more in the high season. Pizza strips for wholesale selling is the main product of the company with an 80 per cent share. Most of the production is sold outside North Karelia. During the accounting period ending in May, the company’s turnover will rise for the first time a bit over six million euros.

– The share of the factory shop of the turnover is about ten per cent. For direct consumer sales, we only deliver some products in S-markets and Prisma supermarkets in our region. We get our raw material mainly from Finland. Pork is number one and bovine and broiler are pretty even. We also need to partially resort to import, since broiler needed for pizza strips is not sufficiently available in Finland.

Counting together all products and shop sales, Karelian Lihajaloste annually produces approximately 2.2 million kilos of processed meat. Out of this, the leading position as the producer of 1.3 million kilos is quite an achievement for a company from North Karelia.

– Calculating that one pizza takes about 100 grams of strips, Finns eat 13 million pizzas filled with our strips per year.

From catastrophe to success

Sami Puustinen assumed the CEO responsibility of the company in 2007. A year earlier, the plant had been burned down. The now already retired founder of the company Martti Puustinen seriously considered closing down the business

– This did not happen; we built a new plant and re-designed the entire lay-out of the production. The production break took 11 months. Few people believed that we could reclaim our market share. Well – it happened in six months. Quality, security of supply and our mode of operation had assured our customers.

Constant development, more effective production and the aim for growth keep CEO Sami Puustinen active. During the past couple of years, the company has invested in production approximately 1.5 million euros. The implemented automation investment was worth about 800,000 euros.

Next, extension of the automation system is under consideration in order to automatise the moving of pizza strip boxes in the cold-storage room, plans Puustinen, while trusting that pizza will remain the favourite treat of Finns.