Home' FLEXO Magazine : December 2015 Contents • 100 percent connected with their existing customers
• 99 percent said exhibiting was beneficial to their company
• 96 percent met new potential customers
Similarly, attendees welcomed the additional hour split across both
days to peruse the record 280 booth spaces and find new solutions to
their modern challenges:
• 91 percent rated the exhibition’s length very good or excellent
• 84 percent rated exhibits very good or excellent
• 77 percent met a vendor they intended to do business with
In honor of one of flexography’s greats and a pillar of FTA for many
years, the Gary Hilliard Memorial Golf Tournament had its inau-
gural tee off Sept. 8 . The event took place at Bearpath Golf & Country
Club in Eden Prairie, MN—Gary’s hometown—in partnership with
Twin Cities Flexo Association (TCFA). More than 50 printing pros/
amateur golfers hit the links, followed by a dinner. The first place
team comprised Bill Calendar, Jack Fulton, Rick Pomerenka and Mike
Schliesmann. A scholarship was also set up in Gary’s name.
6th Annual Plate/Sleeve/
Plate Making Guide
22 FLEXO | SEPTEMBER 2015
FLEXO: WhydidSmythinitially seek out FIRST
Certification? What madethe companydecidethat
printingtothe numbers and stati stical process control
Madigan: Smyth is committed to statistical process
control. TheFIRSTCertification signifies to our customers thatwe
have our process under control. Italso allows ustoprovide customers
data using a variety of systems or data collection theories in a concise
manner. We can provide verifications from one data collection meth-
FLEXO: Wasthe decisionto ultimately achieveCompany
Certification, and therefore the other certifications, a means to an end,
or did you set outto achieve a single certification and later decidedto
build on that?
Madigan: The FIRSTCompany Certification did not exist when we
initially implementedthemethodology.Our ultimategoal, more than
10 years ago, was todevelop a consistent, repeatable color workflow
in order to increaseproductivity, improve customer satisfaction and
reduce waste. At thesame time, we were trying to create ateam at-
mosphereinternally thatwouldbreak down communication barriers,
enhancing both internal and external customer confidence.
FLEXO: What was the employee responseto FIRSTCertification?
Madigan: Wedefinitely had some doubters within the organization
when webegan our optimization effort.Change isdifficult. But
becauseour Minneapolis facility was so far along with its implementa-
tion program, theindividual and plant level certifications were “icing
on the cake.” Employees are now engaged and continue to ask when
they willbe abletotakethe individual classes.
FLEXO: Were employeespermitted togothroughthe trainingon
Madigan: Smyth set up computers for use by employeesduring work
hours. They werealso abletotaketheindividual courses on their own
time, from home.
FLEXO: How does FIRSTCertification changedaytoday activities
Madigan: Smyth now transfers thedata it hasbeen collecting tothe
FIRSTCertification portal, in addition to adding thenumbers to our
FLEXO: Do employees notice a change in what’s coming offthe press?
Madigan: Thebenefits of our implementation wereclear from the
very first projectto gothrough apress, when our operators ran to
their numbers and matchedtheproof on the first pull. Yes , the change
FLEXO: How are Smyth’s various FIRST Certificationsintegrated into
promotion materials and conveyed to clients?
Bill Orme: We use the FIRST logo on all proofs going outto customers,
and we usethe methodologiesto share color information with all ofour
separators and customers. We alsotalk about FIRST and usethe logo
in sales presentations to existing and potential customers, and feature it
prominently on our website and other marketing materials.
FLEXO:Whatdoes CompanyCertification add interms of attracting
new clients? How doesit strengthenyour marketing abilities?
Madigan: We’rehearing from more and more customers who have
questions abouttheFIRST certification. Many requests for infor-
mation (RFI’s) from existing and potential customers ask about our
color management efforts, and explaining FIRSTis an effective way
“The benefits of our
implementation were clear
from the very first project
to go through a press, when
our operators ran to their
numbers and matched the
proof on the first pull.
– Kim Madigan
PLANTS & PROCESSES
20 FLEXO | SEPTEMBER 2015
Weighs a Ton
Smyth Sees Large Returns on FIRST Certification
little canequala lot. Take, forexample,the incrementallysmallbump inprice to gofroma me-
dium to largesoft drink atanyfast food restaurant: HowcanMcDonald’s, BurgerKing, Wendy’s
and the like make any meaningfulprofit from sellinganadditional20-oz. ofsoda for pennies?
The answer is, theydon’t: Theymake a fewcentsoneach transaction. But whenthose pennies are
multiplied bythe 60millioncustomersMcDonald’sserves everyday, itequalssome seriouscoin.
Thatsame logic can be ap-
plied to Flexographic Image
Company Certification: On
a singlejob, maybe aprinter only saves a couple minutes, afew feet
ofwaste or one fe wer pull to match. But multiplythatbythe number
ofpresses—in FTA member SmythCompanies’ case , 36 machines
comprising flexo, litho, digital and screen—and locations—for Smyth,
a half dozen in five states—and those insignificantsavings compound
into something real and tangible.
“The benefits of our implementation were clear from the very first
projecttogothrough a press, when our operators ran totheir numbers
and matchedtheproof on the firstpull,” reveals Kim Madigan, director
of corporate color managementatSmyth. “The change was noticeable.”
Here, FLEXOtalksto Madigan, Marketing Communications Manager
Bill Orme, and some FIRSTCertified employees, who discussthe
companywide effectsthey’ve seen from the various certifications,
the need for standards and howCompany Certification delivers an
important messageto customers.
CO MPA NY CE RTIFI CATIO N
FLEXO: Achieving FIRSTCompanyCertificationisthe end of along
road. How does itfeeltohave reachedit?
Kim Madigan: Itfeels likeSmyth isbeing recognized for processes we
implemented ourselves years ago. We’re happyall the hard work has
resulted in this certification, and that we havethe FIRSTbranding to
signify allthat effort.
FLEXO: Take usthroughSmyth’s timeline to reaching FIRST
CompanyCertification: Whendidyou achieve each oftheother
Madigan: Our Minneapolis facility hasbeen compliant with thepro-
cesses of FIRST since 2005. But workingto actuallybecome certified
added another level of commitment. Weput 40percent of employees
throughthe online courses. They prepared for the on site audit, and
are now submitting data weeklyto the FIRST certification portal.
30 FLEXO | DECEMBER 2015
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