Seat-of-the-Pants Management Alternative –Dickeson

Some people are just plain good at running a printing company by the seat of their pants. They don’t need a computer or any organized data system at all. I can’t do that. Just haven’t got the knack for it, I guess. Me? I’ve gotta have some numbers to help me make decisions. I can’t do “seat of the pants.”

Take this accompanying table, for example.

Job Throughput Hours
Job Paper in Inventory Work in Process Hours to Billing Collect Rcvbl Total Hours Annual Turns
A 835 87 245 1,480 2,647 3.3
B 720 54 253 450 1,477 5.9
C 1,452 98 480 1,368 3,398 2.6
D 976 54 198 980 2,208 4.0
E 74 87 204 1,350 1,715 5.1
Total 4,057 380 1,380 5,628 11,445 4.2
Avg. 811 76 276 1,126 2,289 4.2

I don’t think you’ve seen the likes of it before because I just devised it for this article. It’s totally blue-sky. But I’d sure like to have it if I were back running a printing company again. Those of you with some commercial printing software probably haven’t seen it either. Why? Because you haven’t asked for it. I doubt that any supplier of printing computer systems can supply it, even if you asked for it. They haven’t got the metrics for it. Although they could have if there was a demand for it.

What’s the table mean? I don’t see any dollar columns. It’s sorta Eli Goldratt stuff—modified Goldratt. It’s a table that purports to show how fast each job is moving through the plant, from cash out to cash back in. It starts with the prime raw material—paper. How many hours has the paper been sitting in raw inventory? For Job C, for example, the table says the paper for that job was in raw material inventory for 1,452 hours—60 some 24-hour days. Possible?

Adding it up

You say that Job C was in process for 98 hours—a little over four days. After it was finished and shipped, it took 480 hours to get the invoice out—about 20 days. Not likely, you say. Really? Ever

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