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FLEXO Magazine : April 2011
Plants & Processes “Our people really are our greatest strength,” says Gloria Costin, human resources manager. “ They ’re the ones who provide our customers with high-quality products. ” Training and education, such as that provided by Flexo- graphic Image Reproduction Specifications and Tolerances (FIRST), is one way PPI keeps staff up to speed and ready for growth. “ We believe in promoting from within, and FTA educa- tion is one of the requirements for promotion and increases in pay,” says Costin. Roughly 28 percent of the staff is currently attending FTA classes, and overall, 44 percent of our associ- ates will have completed FTA training in the near future. Certification is a key goal from the top down, Costin adds. “PPI is AIB-certified with a ‘Superior’ rating. We have also completed our audit as a Sustainable Green Printer and anticipate our certification in the near future. ” According to Costin, flexibility in customer service is anoth- er of PPI’s strengths, and training combines with technology to expand what the company can offer its customers. PPI uses a completely digital workflow for prepress and platemaking. Staff operate eight wide web presses with 10-color capabil- ity, including three of the newest flexo presses in the industry, made by Fischer & Krecke. Presses in use at PPI are highly automated and self-clean between runs. Short runs are pos- sible because the presses will clean inactive rolls while other rolls are printing live jobs. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT Productivity and the bottom line are not PPI’s only concerns. According to Costin, PPI leadership recognizes that em- ployees are part of the greater community. “Our values are people, business, community and conscience, and our pur- pose is to work together to make a difference” she says. To that end, employees are permitted to take time off from work to perform volunteer service, and many belong to non-profit organizations as volunteers or board members. Those values circle back to how employees interact with each other—and PPI management—via the open-door policy. “T hey know that if they have issues or need someone to talk to, they can talk to us,” says William Jenkins, printing coordinator. “If they don’t have an outlet, it can affect their job. Sometimes they tell us their personal problems. It makes them feel better, knowing they have someone to talk to.” n www.flexography.org april 2011 FLEXO 37 WIN AssOCIATEs’ COMMITMENT Q&A with Gloria Costin, Human Resources Manager Q: What prompted the decision to have Plastic Packaging, Inc. staff go through FIRST training? Costin: We want to be one of the best flexo- graphic providers in the country. With capital expenditures of over $26 million in the last 3 to 5 years, we have made the commitment and want to be sure our workforce has the skills necessary to meet the challenges new technology brings. Q: What was your goal in the training? Costin: We wanted to give our associates the tools to succeed not only personally, but profes- sionally. This will help us meet our company ’s goals of providing our customers with continuous im- provement and maintaining our position at the forefront of our industry. Q: How many people have been through FIRST training? Costin: All 49 press personnel along with 3 pre- press personnel have completed Level I training and are currently working on Level II. Of these personnel, 27 will continue through Level III, and an additional 7 will continue through Level V. We are also planning for 30 prepress/sales/customer service personnel to begin FIRST training later this year. Q: How has the staff responded to the training? Costin: Newer associates say it has helped them get up to speed. More experienced ones are learning different techniques and terminology. Q: How has the training improved your processes? Costin: We’ve been able to save time in makeready, down time, set-up and ink-mixing. Q: How has training helped meet customers’ demands? Costin: In general it has affected our efficiency and productivity. Whether you are evaluating your processes or serving your customers, it helps if you all speak the same language. Q: If colleagues were to ask you about the pro- gram, what advice would you give them? Costin: It’s important to get commitment from your associates. Everyone should understand that only through continuous training will the company and its employees continue to grow.