What Does Managing for Improvement Really Mean?
A couple months ago, Printing Industries of America opened nominations for the 2016 Managing for Improvement Award. The award is bestowed on a manager in the printing industry who has demonstrated the ability to create real and lasting improvement for his or her company. The continuous improvement of processes and products—as well as innovative breakthroughs—is a business imperative. By improving quality, productivity, safety, and customer satisfaction, companies reap the rewards of prosperity and a safe workplace.
But, what does managing for improvement look like in a real-world setting? For this answer, we’re taking a closer look at the 2015 recipient, Cary “Parrot” Ripsch, value stream manager at The Ovid Bell Press, Inc.
Over a career of 45 years, Cary honed his management skills in such positions as finishing supervisor, customer/service/quality manager, process manager, and plant manager before assuming responsibility as Ovid Bell’s value stream manager. Along the way he became a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt. According to CEO John Bell, Cary’s direction maneuvered the company to a path of improved morale, safety, efficiency, and repair costs through pre-maintenance, quality, and profitability. “We have created a path to a bright future and a future that can be sustained in our difficult and challenging times,” said Bell.
To reach this new level of improvement, Cary relied on a foundation of employee engagement and acceptance of the continuous improvement philosophy. The implementation of 5S throughout the plant organized production into an efficient flow using all visible tools at their disposal. Then, results were reviewed with a focus on improvement from baseline performance and establishment of future goals that drive business plans and objectives. Management then analyzed variations in performance in a Six Sigma methodology to ensure obstacles were removed and improvements sustained.
Numbers certainly do not lie—Ovid Bell Press saw exciting results to their bottom line due to Cary’s commitment to Lean practices. You can find statistical improvements for the company over a 12-month period from Oct. 1 2011 through Sept. 30, 2012 below.