Process Improvement — Work Smarter, Not Harder
Good Data Is a Must
Managers within printing have heard for years about tools such as Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, TQM, SPC, TOC and the Continuous Improvement Philosophy. Why haven’t these proven techniques been widely adopted in the graphic arts industry? One likely root cause is the lack of easy access to accurate, timely process data that measures true process capability. Consider for a moment:
• How easy is it for your team to identify the current bottleneck in meeting customer demand?
• If a production process is over-producing, how quickly would operations managers know?
• If you were able to “flex” your operators to a constrained resource, who are the best qualified?
• If your job costing data identified profit leaders from losers, how fast could you change?
Today’s most effective process improvement techniques utilize the basic scientific method of “Plan—Do—Check—Act.” Good data is necessary for making good decisions. With JMF “feedback loops” tightly coupled to JDF demand signals, printers have access to a key enabler for moving from an often chaotic craft to the more predictable world of a manufacturing science.
Today, the paradigms are well-known, and the technologies are well within reach. The ultimate prize will go to those frontline leaders with the vision and management commitment to usher in a new era of print manufacturing excellence and profitability. PI
About the Authors
Jay Foster serves as president of SoftSolutions Inc. Peter Doyle is workflow manager for Muller Martini.