It’s Time to Track Errors–Dickeson

“The list of errors looks familiar,” noted Peter Doyle, of Action Printing in Fond du Lac, WI, upon reviewing my listing of mistakes for the other printing firm. “I am sure most printers could generate similar lists.”

Look Below the Waterline
We can measure the cost of time and materials in rework—the tip of the iceberg that shows above the waterline. But we have no means to measure the seven-eighths of the iceberg beneath the water—the monetary impact on loss of customer loyalty and new work, disruption of tight schedules, degraded worker morale, and forborne marketing opportunities resulting from mistakes and rework. The means of accountability have been mostly non-existent. Post mortem analysis are inevitably finger-pointing circles.

It’s no different than it’s been for the last 50 years. Maybe for as long as commercial printing has existed—perhaps even in the shops of Gutenberg and Caxton in the 1500s. It’s high time to do something. Is there anything that can be done, given the diverse environment of commercial printers, our customers, suppliers and equipment?

Shall we start War on Waste III? We’re looking at a waste universe of hundreds of millions of dollars annually for our industry. Multiply last year’s value added sales of your company by at least 20 percent. That’s a dollar number you should be thinking about. How much of your error-universe can you capture?

For a quarter of a century I’ve preached: “Until you measure, you can’t control.” We know that when we do measure, action follows. The health industry measured and reported. Actions are taking shape. We’re talking about “quality” in print production. By “quality” we mean conformance to customer requirements. Even though we can’t assess the full monetary impact, at least we can begin to classify and quantify accountability, the “Who, What, Where, When and How” of print production mistakes.

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