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FLEXO Magazine : April 2010
www.flexography.org april 2010 FLEXO 43 all aspects of every job—lamination, roll, label. Accountability is critical. Our aim is to keep the press running, not down. It’s kind of like a pit crew operation. Everyone is, and must be, thinking about everyone else’s job.” Change takes a lot of work, according to both Harley and Wilbur. “ We filmed production and tweaked procedures, then brought operators and everyone else together to view the clips and review what occurred. By doing this, we work in unison to make each job faster,” Harley maintained. “ Training Lean requires taking ideas and coming up with the best way to operate. No one person has all the answers. We empower employees to find the answers. That requires a lot of work, flexibility and cross training. ” Wilbur added, “Our employees are willing and ready to move where customer demand is. ” They can mount. They can print. They can laminate. Cross training keeps costs down and team members motivated. Management maintains it can accurately report that since adopting Lean principles and strategies, sales are up 20 percent and inventories are down 60 percent. Just-in-time delivery is pursued. Individual ac- countability is stressed. Orders are staged as materials come in. Marching orders are followed to a T: “Stage. Print. Convert. Deliver in the shortest possible time.” “A ll associates are operators,” Wilbur noted. “ We require two skilled operators on a machine at all times. In thinking and operating Lean, we utilize classroom and application skills, in a production environment. Our lead person changes week to week. And, we don’t hesitate to bring in a W&H technician periodically—to watch us, and help us. Technology changes so much. We keep asking, ‘What else can we get out of this machine?’ “Lean philosophy teaches standardization. It insists on benchmarking.” Wilbur surmised that, “We spend 10 percent of our time on training and brainstorming—out of the press- room. Value stream mapping and root cause analysis are familiar practices.” Harley continued, “It takes a corporate-wide commitment, from the top on down. When all is said and done, the benefits and gains far outweigh costs.” Core CompetenCies Promotional literature sent out by the firm clearly states, “The accurate, colorful reproduction of artwork through high quality process printing is Admiral’s core competency. To ensure the highest quality product on every run, our presses are fully computerized with high-speed, accurate in-line slit- ting capabilities. We also control print quality by employing an advanced computerized system that automatically detects defects in various types of print processes, including the read- ability of UPC, changes in color viscosity, plate lifts and ink splattering. “Developed years ago, as a complement to the company ’s printing capabilities, laminating is a key manufacturing com- ponent at Admiral. Our laminators are capable of handling a wide range of materials from thin gauge films, to poly olefin and foil and paper. Our new Nordmeccanica Super Duplex Compact SL laminator, the first of its kind in the United States, Booth 401/500 Plants & Processes FLXApril10_v1.indd 43 4/9/10 11:46 PM
Sustainable Winter 2010