Printing Lean


  • Don't fall back

    I was struggling to come up with a suitable topic for this month's issue when my wife suggested something related to the upcoming autumnal equinox, "falling back," and "What could a company do with that extra hour?" Light bulbs (eco-friendly, of cour…
    10.07.09

  • Training II: So what's your plan?

    It seems as though I struck a chord in many people with my last column on training. "You hit on my biggest hot button" was one reader's comment. "An especially good piece," said another. "Loved the article, and share a common belief in the value of e…
    09.03.09

  • Training

    If you were to do a search of company mission statements you would probably find that many companies, if not a majority, make the claim that their employees are their most important asset, or something to that effect. It's a nice statement, but is it…
    07.07.09

  • Total productive maintenance

    In today's difficult economy, with ultra competitive pricing, demands for fast turn times, and the availability of cash and credit severely restricted, companies must do their best to get the most out of what they have, and that includes their people…
    05.08.09

  • Clean Manufacturing

    If there's a bustle in your hedgerow don't be alarmed now, it's just a spring clean for the May Queen. Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run there's still time to change the road you're on. – James Patrick Page and Rob…
    03.31.09

  • Quality Toolkit

    Abraham Maslow once said, "When the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems begin to resemble nails." In today's bleak economic environment, many people are armed only with a hammer and are tempted to start swinging away at the myriad of problem…
    03.06.09

  • Survival Kit

    So the economy is in the tank and not coming out anytime soon. What's a business owner to do? For many it might be a knee-jerk reaction to cut costs. That usually means cutting people, and that would be a huge mistake. It's not your people Your…
    01.14.09

  • Training Within Industry

    You've had what you feel is a successful launch of your Lean initiative. You've held company wide meetings to explain the what, why and how; you've conducted training sessions on Lean, identified what your customers consider to be value; created valu…
    11.13.08

  • Steering the wrong course

    Over the past year I've written about ways that you, the label converter, can make successful inroads on your Lean journey. This month we'll take a different tack and discuss how things can go wrong, terribly wrong, and derail or even stop your journ…
    10.08.08

  • Becoming Lean

    If you are, like I am, a student of Lean, you know that there is neither a "roadmap" or timetable on becoming Lean, and that makes the journey seem to be more difficult than it needs to be. Everyone's journey has been and will be different, but the m…
    08.21.08

  • Manufacturing Extension Partnerships

    Throughout the past year we've discussed many topics related to Lean and printing and have even answered a few questions along the way (keep those coming). Many questions have had one central theme: "How? How do I get started?" Well, with a single ph…
    07.22.08

  • 'Clean' manufacturing is green manufacturing

    Over the past several months we've been discussing Lean as a business model that eschews waste. One of the more common wastes is the obvious waste of physical product – paper, ink, solvents, packaging, etc. It only makes sense, then, that if we…
    05.13.08

  • Kaizen

    Over the past several months we've discussed several tools of Lean as they apply to the printing industry. We've looked at creating a safer, cleaner, better organized workplace using 5S: "seeing" wast…
    03.14.08

  • Kanban

    It happens every time I visit a client. "Here's our kanban", they exclaim and I, naturally, start looking around for a card, or a sign, or a signal of some sort. In other words, I start looking for a kanban. When I ask where this mysterious kanban is…
    01.15.08

  • Reducing setup time

    Last issue we talked about Value Stream Mapping and how value stream maps (also known as "material and information flow diagrams") can help you "see" extraordinary amounts of waste inherent in your system. These are caused by: Overproduction: Prod…
    11.02.07

  • Treasure Maps

    Last issue we explored the subject of waste and how easy it can be to get started on eliminating much of the wastes that exist in print shops today. The key, if you remember, is that in order to eliminate these wastes you must first be able to see th…
    09.27.07

  • Waste, waste everywhere

    We took a look in the last issue at something that everyone can see — inventory. This time we're tackling another topic that everyone has seen but most have probably overlooked: waste. I'm not talking about material you can't use or sell. I'm t…
    08.31.07

  • Oil and inventory don't mix

    Rising oil costs are socking everyone in the wallet, and converters are not immune to the effects. Oil costs impact many line items on a converter's P&L, including raw material, utilities and freight. Petroleum and its derivatives are used:…
    06.28.07