Your Evolving Makeready
Recently a great video has been circulating around social media showing a Formula 1 pit stop from the 1950s in contrast to a pit stop from 2013. (If you haven’t seen it, check it out here) In this two minute video you’ll see how radically pit stops have evolved in sixty years. It is fascinating how the sport has changed in technologies, processes, personnel, tools, metrics, and attitudes.
We have seen similar changes in the printing industry over as many decades. Printing technology has improved tremendously, especially from the standpoint of process control. Even with makereadies, equipment manufacturers have done a great job of focusing on quick-changeover improvements. CIP4, servo technology, inline register and color control, and many other improvements have brought printing into a science. However, in some ways the entire printing system (all interdependent processes working together), including our material staging, methodology for changing plates and inks, use of strategic personnel, as well as our sense of urgency about the makeready, are more similar to the 1950s version than the 2013 version. How often do we rehearse a makeready…or even discuss a strategic approach, for that matter?
Those of us who are lean proponents liken the pit stop to a press or bindery makeready, mostly because it speaks to where crucial seconds can be picked up in a competition. We acknowledge that no progress is being made to reaching the finish line when the car is in the pits. It is not a value-add process, though it is necessary to keep the car running. Isn’t that true of a makeready? It is not a value-add process…but it is necessary to complete the job. So, why not approach a makeready with the same strategy and urgency as a Formula 1 pit stop?