Capturing and sharing data electronically has a dual benefit, explains Scott Luck, Lane Press' system analyst. It saves press operators from having to input/record data manually, while increasing the timeliness, amount and accuracy of the bidirectional information flow. The system, for example, "gives our pressroom manager a lot of information that he uses to analyze the performance of each job on-press."
Paper waste reduction is the big ROI usually touted by sellers of press management systems like QTMS, Luck continues. "That is something we are definitely going after—reducing the waste stream throughout the entire process."
"This system gives us a tremendous amount of visibility into what's going on (in production) and a great deal of data to analyze our performance on a very regular basis," adds Donald Gaffney, IT manager. "The pressroom and production staffs get together every day to evaluate how they are doing."
Having years of experience with its previous system gave Lane Press a big leg up in terms of figuring out how to capitalize on the rich data set, according to Gaffney. "There is a learning curve, for sure, in analyzing how jobs are running and looking at how to improve your internal processes."
The printer elected to implement the system as a tool to guide operators, rather than automating or moving certain functions upstream. There is a warning light that is illuminated when the count hits the 1,000 impressions-to-go mark, but the decision of exactly when to stop the press is still left up to the operator rather than the machine cutting off automatically. Also, the production office organizes jobs for the presses so the operators can just follow the queue order; but they can change that order if there's an issue with the plates, paper or whatever, Luck says.