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FLEXO Magazine : November 2008
PLANTS & PROCESSES Progress charted at Temple-Inland’s Indianapolis, IN plant. Applying Lean Tools and Resources Can Impact the Pressroom By John J. Morgan I n an earlier article, eight so-called “No Regrets” activities were identified as ways to begin your Lean journey (see FLEXO October page 54). The best options should be determined by your Lean champion after analysis of the current business or plant goals. In an effort to help appreciate the effort required and the ben- efits possible, I identified a customer that has applied some of these tools in the pressroom. I also visited a supplier of filtration materials used at the DuPont Parlin, NJ site. And finally, I looked around the flexo plate manufacturing operation at the Parlin plant. All offer good examples of how to take advantage of three key resources—people, tools, and local consultants—to make a difference for their businesses. SMED AT T-I Temple-Inland (T-I) is the third largest manufacturer of corru- gated packaging in the U.S. Its Graphics Resource Center (GRC), lo- cated in Indianapolis, IN, employs 85 people and offers a complete printing service for T-I box plants. The GRC centerpiece is a high- speed, eight-color press that prints photographic quality graphics that regularly win FTA Excellence in Flexography Awards. Obviously, T-I wants to maximize utilization of this facility to deliver high-quality product for its customers. According to Terry Ong, GRC general manager, “Quality and business programs are one and the same. They are intertwined. Continuous improve- ment creates the capacity for us to grow. We take bits and pieces from Lean and Six Sigma that fit our organization. And then we try to culturalize them.” Gary Jagielo is the production manager at GRC. In 2003, based on a business objective to increase responsiveness to customer re- quests, Jagielo decided to focus on quick changeover of the press. He looked around and chose a consulting group affiliated with 54 F LEXO GATF (Graphic Arts Technical Foundation) that offered a Quick Makeready Response program aimed at the pressroom. QMR is based on the SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Dies) principles. But for the program to be successful, Jagielo knew it was neces- sary to engage the workforce, from top to bottom. Ong was an easy convert and agreed to expose the entire organization to QMR training. Since this improvement effort was based on GRC’s desire to sustain and grow business—not to cut personnel—trust was established and the production crews jumped on board. Irv Nix, a production team leader, led the effort in the plant. He has first-hand experience engaging employees in the improve- ment process—a key to success, regardless of the specific activity. The consultants worked with print specialists and technicians to video the press changeover process at a macro-level. Then they recorded a video of the micro-process steps. Spaghetti-diagrams were developed, showing the travels a print technician made try- ing to find the parts, tools, people and information necessary to complete the task. Then the fun began. Nix brought entire production teams to a conference room. After getting some basic instruction from the consultants, they watched the videos, gave their own input (after all, this was their job), and participated in roundtable discussions about possible changes to reduce the time and effort wasted in the current process. After all the ideas were on the table, the improvement team reviewed the possibilities and agreed to implement specific changes. Then they worked with each production team, providing hands-on training about new practices and processes. To insure the improvements stuck, Nix organized follow-up audits. “It takes time to make things second-nature,” he noted. Everybody felt good about the changes. Everyone had been involved and contributed in some fashion. And the management team really enjoyed the 25 percent reduction in changeover time NOVEMB E R 20 0 8 www. f l e x o g r a p h y. o r g