Benchmarking Productivity — Pursuing Profitable Pressrooms

With intense price competition eroding the profits generated by recent sales growth, many firms are scrambling to maintain and increase profits. One time-proven method of helping the bottom line is to make sure your pressroom is operating at peak efficiency. Minimizing waste, spoilage and production downtime, while simultaneously maximizing run speeds, are a requisite for profitability in any sheetfed shop.

PIA/GATF is currently helping sheetfed printers improve productivity by releasing a productivity benchmarks report that will allow them to compare their operations against similar firms, as well as productivity leaders.

An important indicator of productivity are run speeds (total impressions for a particular job divided by the total amount of time required to complete the job). According to preliminary results from PIA/GATF’s current survey, sheetfed run speeds vary significantly from job to job based on the size of the job and the number of colors used. Median run speeds ranged from 325 impressions per hour (iph) for a process color, short-run job (under 1,500 total impressions) to 5,105 iph for a one-color, long-run job (more than 20,000 total impressions).

Run Lengths
and
Median Run Speeds
  Number of Impressions:
  Under 1,500 1,501-
5,000
5,001-
10,000
10,001-
20,000
20,000+
One Color 1,333 2,788 3,196 4,000 5,105
Spot Color 750 1,333 2,550 2,877 5,056
Process Color 325 1,235 2,043 2,584 4,734

Run lengths have remained constant over the past few years, while run speeds have been gradually declining. Median run speeds in 2004 declined by an average of 5 percent across the board from 2002, and declined by an average of more than 10 percent from 2000 figures. This decline can be attributed to the increased complexity of the jobs being examined.

Print jobs submitted in 2004, when compared to jobs submitted in 2000 and 2002, typically have more press forms, more colors, heavier ink coverage, more critical registration, as well as more perfecting and/or coatings. The heightened complexity increases the amount of time needed to prepare and properly run the job, thus lowering the total run speed.

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