2019 Best-in-Class Innovator: Moore DM Group Accepts Change as an Opportunity
Innovators don’t come to their plants in the morning saying to themselves, “Today, I’m going to innovate.” That’s not what innovation is about. It’s more a reflex than a behavior — a continuous state of mind that leads both deliberately and serendipitously to transformative results.
The printing industry’s innovators are energetic, inquisitive, and intrepid people who don’t wait for things to happen. Sometimes they strategize outcomes. At other times, facing threat or opportunity, they instinctively choose the right course of action. Either way, these relentless innovators always manage to achieve something that lifts their companies to new levels of capability, performance, and profitability.
The accounts of 12 businesses that exemplify innovation in the printing industry came together in the October issue of Printing Impressions. All of the profiles, one of which appears below, are based on interviews with the sources and on their responses to questionnaires filled out in support of their applications to be selected as Printing Impressions’ “Innovator of the Year” for 2019.
Comprising 32 different companies in 18 cities in three countries, nonprofit marketing solutions provider Moore DM Group has a broad footprint to innovate within. At its seven production facilities, the company is innovating its way toward enhanced production control with a self-developed capacity planning and job tracking system called Spot Light. It’s also seeking greater efficiency in postpress with the help of technology from MBO America.
Moore DM Group helps not-for-profit organizations do a better job of fundraising with a full line of support services, including direct mail, digital marketing, and direct response television. The direct mail activity, spanning package design, testing, and production, has each of Moore’s printing and mailing centers turning out as many as 30 million pieces per month, according to Tanner Case, enterprise director of engineering and operations.
The centers get it done with offset presses from Heidelberg and Sanden, and with digital equipment from HP, Ricoh, and Screen. The volume is split about 60/40 between the two processes, but Case says he expects to see the mix shift to 50/50 as Moore increases its output of personalized content targeting prospective donors.
Given the breadth of its customer base, the scope of the projects it executes, and the distributed nature of its production, Moore DM Group’s primary challenge is to keep all of its resources put to their most efficient and productive use at all times. This, says Case, is what inspired the development of Spot Light, which he describes as a workload-balancing system that provides “live capacity tracking for the enterprise, all the way down to the machine level.”
By overseeing projects from planning through delivery, Spot Light ensures that “production facilities and equipment do not get overbooked, and our clients’ campaigns remain on track,” Case says.
After a project is accepted, Spot Light creates a timeline based on the client’s mail date. Then the system assesses capacity and estimates the number of pieces the shop will have to produce daily in order to stay on target, including numerical targets for each shift. Production is monitored in real time, with machine utilization updates generated every few seconds.
Case notes that Spot Light runs autonomously, eliminating the need for operators to input data. The outcome, he says, is “making sure we are achieving the capacity demands, and in return, we are maintaining our clients’ timelines.” The internally developed system “continuously calculates” what Moore needs to know in order to be certain that deadlines are being met and that production is meeting machine uptime percentages and similar KPIs.
Case says Moore is working with MBO America to implement Spot Light’s live tracking on the MBO postpress equipment it uses. He adds that with MBO’s help, Moore reduced labor in its custom production operation by 33%, while increasing productivity by 50%. On the way from MBO is high-speed folding equipment that will support digital printing across the enterprise, Case says.
In his view, innovation is defined not by process, but by general openness to change. To innovate in the printing industry today, Case contends, “you need to accept change as an opportunity to expand your capabilities,” wherever the opportunity arises.