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Better performance due to shorter time to market

At Alligator Plastics, we are continuously working on improving our performance toward our clients. ‘Short time to market’ is an important aspect of this. In 2019, we are going to investigate whether it’s possible to develop products faster, together with clients, through ‘scrumming’ the development process. A pilot is already in the making.

Intensive development projects

Alligator Plastics is doing incredibly well. We have a lot of innovative clients and challenging projects. This means that there are also a lot of development projects in the works for new products. Often, dozens at the same time, and multiple products per client. “We design every new injection-molded product in close collaboration with our client. These are intensive processes with often complex issues and creative challenges,” says Annemiek Adams. She is the manager of marketing & branding and had the designated role of ‘scrum master’ during the first scrum-day at the end of last year. “We usually divide our attention between all ongoing development projects. But in that case, there are a lot of balls you’ll need to keep in the air and precious time is lost by switching between projects. The question is whether it can be done more efficiently and more quickly.”

Full focus with multidisciplinary team

Annemiek was introduced to the scrum methodology during a workshop: “The essence is that you are not working on a multitude of projects at the same time. Instead, you organize a multidisciplinary team of Alligator Plastics, together with the client, that fully focuses on one project for a short period of time, according to a fixed method. In short ‘sprints’ of a few weeks, you try to get further along in the development. Here, each step has a clear value for the client. This allows you to focus on several developments next to each other and to be able to finish more quickly. After that, you can get started on the next projects.” Annemiek realizes that it doesn’t always work in this ideal way, in practice: “Therefore, we want to investigate how we can make the most out of this way of working and what kind of projects are best suited to this approach.”

Strengthening the competitive position of clients

The first step was taken during the scrum day on November 6, last year. “With a diverse team we managed to create a script in one day to implement the pilot in 2019,” says Annemiek. “The team consisted of our own employees from different departments and specialist from our client’s side, Light Weight Containers, who would like to realize the pilot with us in 2019. The script is a plan of approach on how to handle the pilot with scrum, later this year. After the pilot, we are going to evaluate. Is it indeed more efficient, can we win time? Are we going to use scrumming Alligator-wide and does this approach match our clients? Practical issues such as choice and sequence of projects, and the weekly scrum-time, will also be discussed. There is still plenty to discover,” says Annemiek. Whether scrumming will become part of the way of working is yet to be determined. However, Annemiek is convinced that more focus and a multidisciplinary approach can greatly speed up development processes: “A ‘shorter time to market’ can drastically increase our total performance. This is an important goal because we want to strengthen the competitive position of our clients.”


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