The European Commission has an objective of improved resource efficiency in manufacturing enterprises (particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises-SMEs) by structural and technological changes. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the concrete improvements as a result of a systematic resource efficiency methodology applied to an SME in surface coating/painting industry in Turkey which is an EU accession country. Within the context of this study, cadmium plating process was substituted with a less toxic and more environmentally benign alternative coating process (silane-based coating). Therefore, cadmium oxide (CdO) and sodium cyanide (NaCN) consumption was eliminated from the processes of the company. Moreover, degreasing chemical consumption of the company was reduced by 92.9 %. Owing to the improvements in the resource efficiency, the total specific chemical consumption of the company was reduced from 44.07 to 16.01 g/m(2), corresponding to a chemical saving of 63.7 %. Total annual cost saving was calculated to be 43,372 $/year. It was determined that the annual cost saving (43,372 $/year) was as high as 8.4 % of annual turnover (512.500 $) of the company. The payback period of the implementations was approximately 8.2 months. Based on the outcomes of this study, it is recommended that the resource efficiency concept should be used as a key strategy in Turkey, an EU accession country, to adopt norms and standards set by the European Commission (e.g., restrictions on the use of cadmium and cyanide in production processes).