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FLEXO Magazine : October 2011
Plants & Processes Combating the Seven Deadly Sins of Waste Making Business leaner, Meaner and Greener By Jeff Feltz Legend has it that a wise man once approached a rich king, offering to teach the king and his court the game of chess. The king appreciated the game so much that he insisted on paying the wise man, claiming that he would honor any fair price. After a second’s thought, the wise man suggested the following pay scheme: the king would place a single penny on the corner square of his chessboard. On the next square, the king would put double that amount (that is, two pennies) and then double the amount on each successive square. The wise man would simply take the money on the chessboard and be off. Eventually, the king discovered that he agreed to pay the wise man-$184 trillion, so the wise man was run out of the kingdom for trickery. The take-home lesson in this story: a few pennies here and there can add up! This brings us to The Seven Deadly Sins of Waste. Manu- facturing waste doesn’t come all at once, and so efforts to reduce any one bit of waste are unlikely to have huge pay-offs in the short-term. But reduction of waste over several catego- ries can have an additive effect that is noticeable. The additive effects of reducing waste are especially pertinent to the decision to invest in new equipment. Invest- ing in new equipment might seem like a foolish thing to do in a stagnant economy. On the contrary, incorporating new technology into an existing workflow can have an exponential effect on savings. 7 SINS OF WASTE The word “ waste” likely conjures up some familiar images: stacks of printed materials from a makeready, strips of mate- rial scraps from trimming and die cutting, bins full of product from a defective run. But waste includes much more than just the physical waste one sees after a run. Industry studies of waste are based on a system that identi- fies seven main sources of waste. Originally conceived by Taiichi Ohno of Toyota Motor Co. in 1988, the system identifies workplace processes that do not contribute to the value of the product that the customer receives. Such processes are thus wasteful: they cost time, money, or opportunity without deliver- ing any benefits to the end customer. These seven “sins” of flexo production are: #1. Transport: Each time a product is moved, there is a chance that it will become lost or damaged. Even if the product is not lost or damaged, transport takes time and energy without adding any value for the end customer. Long web paths and wide-spread workflows of converting are obvious cases of transport waste. #2. Inventory: Housing, protecting, and monitoring inventory can be a costly process—but whether a product has been stored or not makes little to no difference to the end customer. Worse, products that sit around, waiting to be sold to the EXPONENTIAL EFFECTS ON SAVINGS • Newer printing platforms are designed around Lean principles. • Lean, new equipment must be designed to be simple, fast, easy-to-use, and standardized. • Equipment manufacturers sensitive to Lean manufac- turing spend less time chasing what is “techy” and “c ool”, and more time analyzing workflow processes to make machines that are smart, well-designed, and less wasteful. • Disadvantages of flexo—long set-up times, set-up and run waste, high plate costs, and the need for highly trained labor—have all been addressed with newer technologies. With state-of-the-art narrow web flexo production, set-up time has been drastically reduced to around three minutes for a four-color job. Material waste is cut to around 12 feet. 78 FLEXO octoBer 2011 www.flexography.org Fall conFerence Edition