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FLEXO Magazine : June 2011
FTA TODAY Heart of Lean Process Improvement, Quality Control Lean thinking incorporates not only new technology and the ability to trim waste, but an employee-friendly envi- ronment and leadership by example, said presenters at the FFTA’s 2011 Annual Forum. In a session devoted to Lean principles, chaired by Jim Workman of Printing Industries of America and co-chaired by Dan Doherty of Prairie State Group, speakers emphasized that “going Lean” will not work without a shift in a company ’s culture. Craig Compton of Paper Converting Machine Company began the session with a presentation about leadership in a Lean environment. “Many companies fail to make Lean work because the emphasis is on the tools rather than the profound leadership changes required,” he said. “It’s about leading, not managing.” Compton highlighted the differences between traditional leadership, which is based on command and control and uses metrics and status reports as primary management tools, and Lean leadership, which sets leaders in teaching roles as mentors who help employees develop into problem- solvers. He said that inspirational leadership begins with vision and grows with recognition, which in turn promotes a pervasive cultural shift within a business. Cris Leyson of DuPont Packaging Graphics stressed the necessity of viewing Lean manufacturing as a “never-ending journey,” one that involves everyone in an organization in working toward the same goals. “ You don’t want it to be a ‘ program of the month.’ Continuous improvement means that you are never Lean enough.” He drew comparisons between Lean and Six Sigma, anoth- er process improvement method, noting that both have four basic steps: measurement, analysis, improvement and con- trol. Combining these two processes can transform the supply chain and reduce the need for inventory and its associated hidden costs, resulting in an improved ability to execute busi- ness plans and deliver customer expectations, he added. Lean manufacturing has a place in preproduction and platemaking, said EskoArtwork’s Ian Hole, the third speaker to take the podium. His talk centered on four elements of Lean manufacturing: prepress workflow automation, color on press using multicolor printing process software, automated plate imaging and exposure and automation for plate mounting. According to Hole, applying Lean methods to these four elements can improve a company ’s bottom line, most notably through the quality control measures inherent in automation. “Automation requires extensive quality control tools, catching errors early in the process before they get on proof, plate or press,” he said. “ T hat saves time and materials.” Mary Sullivan of Mark Andy, Inc., discussed the impact of new technology in Lean converting. She noted how older technology can use hundreds of feet of material to set up a single job, but newer technology requires only about 21 feet of material to go from the last good label on one job to the first good label on the next job. Newer technologies such as load-and-lock inking systems simplify operations and save time, which are two key aspects of Lean thinking, she said. “Repeatable settings and refer- ence points drive consistency from job to job and shift to shift.” Her final comments summed up the entire session: “Waste is apparent. You just have to step back and analyze where it’s occurring.” n Sullivan Compton Hole Leyson 18 FLEXO June 2011 www.flexography.org
Sustainable Spring 2011