Contemporary Graphic Solutions Gets Performance Boost
PENNSAUKEN, NJ—Smiles were in abundance as Bob Reilley handed out certificates to the Contemporary Graphic Solutions (CGS) press operators who had just completed two months of training—in the classroom and on the shop floor—and implementation of the Heidelberg Performance Plus pilot program.
Reilley, the vice president of operations at CGS, told his gathered employees Nov. 5 that the excitement generated by the program has played a considerable role in the suburban Philadelphia company already being halfway to its goal of attaining a 30 percent performance increase. He was, of course, preaching to the choir.
"This is largely due to the success of everyone here at CGS. You bought into the program and jumped in with both feet," he said.
CGS has been providing national and international customers with printing, packaging, mailing, fulfillment and e-commerce solutions for nearly 30 years. Its client roster includes a healthy cross-section of pharmaceutical, financial services and Fortune 1000 companies.
President Tim Moreton pointed out that the beauty of the Performance Plus pilot program is that it meshed well with CGS' company-wide drive toward continuous improvement, and is merely one aspect of the firm's overall initiatives.
"There is a need in business today to improve efficiencies and performance in the manufacturing environment," he said. "This program falls right in line with our continuous improvement culture. By partnering with Heidelberg, we maximize output and the quality that our clients have come to expect from us."
Richard Mack, who heads the Performance Plus program for Heidelberg, calls it a "new approach to the way we've been doing things." It begins with an evaluation of a client's pressroom, at which time data is recorded. Heidelberg then provides a project plan, either for one or two years, which outlines a realistic set of benchmarks that can help the printer reap valuable savings in makeready and production time.
"Customers like that the program is funded by savings," Mack pointed out. "So, we are driven by the results of the program. The risk for printers is very limited, and we're also bringing more money back to their pockets. Working with Contemporary Graphic Solutions on the Performance Plus pilot program has been very inspiring for Heidelberg."
Oliver Demus, director of business consulting for Heidelberg, points out that it is extremely important to work with a company such as CGS that already has implemented a continuous improvement program and is looking for an even more sophisticated and granular approach toward maximizing efficiencies.
The program is geared toward customers that produce $10 million or more in revenue per year and that are using Heidelberg sheetfed presses manufactured since the turn of the 21st century. The post-2000 presses enable Heidelberg to extract data performance and perform remote diagnostics. Performance gains have also been considerable in the post-2000 era.
"We have analyzed our equipment over the years and have found that it's not utilized to the extent it could be, for various reasons—some process related, some of it is training, maintenance and some is color management," Demus noted.
Leo Rodriguez, CGS' director for continuous improvement who has worked closely with Demus on implementation of Performance Plus, said the goal was to target reduced makeready times on-press, as well as to achieve an increase in net output from the press.
"As we move forward and improve with this project, we're looking to streamline through all of the departments," Rodriguez added. "For example, we're emphasizing training, which is key; emphasizing standard work instructions; and making sure that we give our operators tools that they need so they can perform efficiently."
Reilley admitted there was a good deal of skepticism initially among the press operators regarding the prospect of reaping meaningful performance increases. It took only one training session for the press crew to see the value in a program that doesn't stress working harder, but rather, smarter.
"The value stream mapping event that we did to kick off the program was really exciting," he said. "To see the pressmen understand the troubles that we go through up front, in terms of getting information from the customer and getting an accurate job ticket out to the press…they can see it wasn't (a case of) them not doing their job. In addition, the production planner in the meeting was excited and understood that giving bad information to the press impacted the pressroom's performance and their efficiency.
"The possibilities are endless, as far as I can see," Reilley added. "The improvements we're making on-press will translate even further within our operations, into bindery, fulfillment and the mail shop."