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FLEXO Magazine : March 2009
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES D:: III :z: a. cC D:: ø o >< III .... ... D:: III Z Z - ø III III Check the Checklist Quality Control... in a Word By John Fulcoly F or both clients and printers, taking a practical and what might be considered a "retro" step to consider the effectiveness of a checklist can contribute to favorable quality and productivity results. Whether au- tomated, online, or manual the goal of providing in- formation is for feedback data to control a process and efficiently produce quality results. Even with all the automa- tion available today, it is still routine for a production or quality assurance resource to visually inspect a tear sheet of print WIP or finished material and complete a form manually or electroni- cally with the results of that inspection. I have seen cases where these results were ineffective and by making some very minor changes major quality and consistency gains were achieved. We start with the premise that there is a reason the client shows up at a printer and holds sessions on quality processes and controls. If there were no issues, then there might not be the visit. An effective approach as a client was to begin the meeting by requesting the prior week's schedule and selecting several jobs for the team to review all quality samples and documenta- tion. At this point, everyone's attention is up and in some cases a sense of apprehension approaches. That said, reviewing the tear sheets of printed materials showed that all had checks by "Appearance" and that all had checks by "Color." The same tear sheets showed significant varia- tion in color and match to color targets. In some cases, an indi- vidual lane would have defects while others were satisfactory. In some cases, the front of the package looked great and the nutri- tional copy was smeared. Some, while looking OK, did not match approved targets. Changes that were made included some of the following. "Appearance" became "Image Matches Target." "Color" became "Color is Compliant." "Nutritional Copy is Legible" was added. Forms were modified so that information entry included docu- mentation for each lane. The feedback, even though manual, provided a richer information loop for production to respond to and more appropriate quality assurance that the packaging was compliant and satisfactory. Even with a more effective information guide, it is important to both the printer and client to assure that the data collection and inspection themselves are done with the appropriate robust- ness. I must admit that the ttschedule please" technique, when - first implemented, led to some uncomfortable sessions where the graphics and the data were not congruent. One memorable time in a QC lab was when the technician had just completed "Graphics Match Target" to several tear sheets but actually did not know where a target was. Over time, the accuracy of infor- mation and importantly the quality improved and the technique was adopted by the supplier leadership themselves. At the end of the day, results improved by shifting a culture to- ward compliance to targets and focusing on specific quality objec- tives such as back panel copy. Effective feedback was provided to the shop floor to support process improvements in combination with the automated press side and measurement tools available. It might not be sexy or modern from an automation per- spective, but checking the checklist has been used to favorably impact quality. The "schedule please" review of actual jobs and corresponding documentation can provide an important rein- forcement of the robustness of the quality assurance feedback information. . ABOUT THE AUTHOR:john Fulcoly is a printing and packag- ing consultant pursuing his two passions for clients-saving money and improving graphic outcomes! His experience includes 25years in packaging from many vantage points, including quality assurance, development, and strategic sourcing. As manager for PepsiCo's North American Food Flexible Packaging, Fulcoly became deeply involved with FTA and theflexographic industry in order to advance capabili- ties and performance. if you are interested in how john might apply his commercial and technical experience to improve your results he can be reached at Packagingcpr@aol.com or 214-728-1246. MARCH 2009 www.flexography.org FLEXO
Sustainable Winter 2009