Vertis Communications — 21st Century Marketing
In helping customers be successful, Vertis Communications is also looking beyond its product and service dossier. The company’s lean and continuous improvement group was created to focus on streamlining and improving processes via lean manufacturing and Six Sigma concepts. To that end, Vertis hired Jim Buike as its vice president of lean and continuous improvement in February of this year.
“Our program entails a number of skilled people that we’ve brought on board—black belts and master belts—who have extensive training,” Buike says. “The methodology we use to get down to the root cause and solve problems is DMAIC—define, measure, analyze, improve, control—which is based around using lean tools, as well as Six Sigma methodology.
“In each one of the groups, one of the strategic issues is how to drill down to actionable projects. The black belts that we’ve hired in each one of the regions and major facilities are driving those projects down to results.”
In terms of driving results in Vertis’ ledger, the pending deal to merge with ACG enhances the company’s geographic footprint and expands upon its existing platform, while bolstering premedia and printing capacity. Future acquisitions will likely be geared toward an expansion of products and services.
Aside from the ACG deal, Kohn, the new CFO, notes that a good chunk of the company’s investment went into creating a separate mail sortation area within the Chalfont facility, as well as an HVAC system for a more climate controlled environment. For the inserts business, shop floor computer controls/data gathering are being rolled out for each press.
“We’re pretty optimistic about that system and how it fits into lean activities, as well as process control and quality improvement on the shop floor,” Kohn says. “We’re also investing in maintaining and improving capacity; a significant amount is earmarked toward press rebuilds. And we’ve invested a fair amount of money in our computer infrastructure, both in our execution programs and network, and in some cases to support new customer programs.”