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FLEXO Magazine : April 2009
PLANTS & PROCESSES A release coating on ink pans can save time, money and ink. Reducing makeready waste and decreasing the scrap rate may reduce costs enough to invest in technologies that expand capabilities such as rotary screen heads, cold foil systems, RFID- insertion equipment or even a new servo press. These types of investments enhance our product off erings enabling us to attract new markets. Added features also allow us to charge more for the products we produce. GETTING IT DONE RIGHT The world is experiencing a pandemic of layoff s. Downsizing seems to be the popular way to respond in an economic cri- sis. While cuts may be inevitable, they should be a last resort. Downsizing has devastating eff ects on morale and productivity. Creativity is stifl ed and employees don’t perform as well when they are anxiously waiting to see if they are next to get the axe. Work still has to get done and with fewer people to carry the load, service suff ers and mistakes get made. A critical piece of in- formation is left off the order and the product is produced incor- rectly. An important opportunity is missed because the customer was not responded to in a timely manner. The job is rushed through the shop only to discover later that the customer wanted a UV varnish rather than water based. Doing the job correctly includes taking the time to make sure the customers’ needs are clearly identifi ed and articulated to those producing the product. It encompasses ensuring plates are in good condition and mounted properly; blades, registration and impres- sion are adjusted properly; rolls are clean and to the correct speci- fi cation; the adhesive coat weight on the lamination is adequate to insure proper adhesion; dies are in good shape and set to the proper depth of cut; bar codes read properly; inks are at the proper pH and viscosity; the job sheets are properly fi lled out, quality checks are made, and so on. Skipping steps or making mistakes does not improve profi tability. A press doesn’t make money when it is producing scrap at 500 feet per minute. Companies that do well through the tough times know that they have to produce better quality faster and with better ser- vice. They do that by ensuring their equipment is maintained, adjusted and performing properly and their people are trained and focused on producing quality. These companies cut costs 48 FLEXO APRIL 2009 by improving effi ciency, preventing damage, and reducing waste. They seek out those products and services that increase throughput and reduce waste and scrap, using those savings to enhance capabilities. They don’t cut the necessities like R&D to develop new prod- ucts or marketing to generate interest in them. They don’t cut training that ensures: 1. Equipment is handled, adjusted, operated and maintained in top condition 2. The equipment is producing product that satisfi es the customers’ requirements. They don’t cut the systems that ensure quality. They don’t simply stop buying stuff , but strategically invest in product enhancements and process effi ciencies. And they don’t rush to cut staffi ng. In times like these, few choices are more important to the fu- ture of your company than the approach you take to maintaining profi ts. You can cut your way to short term profi tability, but not without jeopardizing long term viability. Successful companies have shown that you need to strategically invest in improving the value of your products, timeliness of your deliveries and the qual- ity of your service. Especially when dollars are tight and custom- ers harder to come by, you need to invest the time, money and training needed to get marketable goods from every dollar of raw materials you purchase. There are diff erent paths to profi tability. Success depends on which path you choose. ¦ ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Lanska is the midwest regional sales manager for Stork Cellramic Inc. A 27 year veteran of the fl exo industry and technical specialist, Lanska is a regular speaker at indus- try technical conferences and has written numerous articles on various aspects of the fl exographic process. He is an active participant in the Supplier Leadership Council, as well as several FTA committees. His book, (available from the FTA bookstore) is titled, Common Sense Flexography: A User’s Guide to Improved Pressroom Productivity. The book is being incorporated into fl exo programs at Pennsylvania College of Technology and Appalachian State University. Lanska holds an MBA from Concordia University Wisconsin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidlanska. www. f le xography. org