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FLEXO Magazine : February 2008
PLANTS & PROCESSES 48 FLEXO FEBRUARY 2008 www.flexography.org Just-in-time printing demands, shorter runs, and compet- ing processes are just a few of the challenges impacting the flexo industry. Today's business plan, more than ever before, must include a solid path for end-to-end management to ensure maximum performance and profitability. Just as flexogra- phy is no longer synonymous with rubber stamps, management can't be just another spreadsheet. The process of collecting, organizing and sharing informa- tion---in real time and with maximum accuracy---is just as impor- tant as the capabilities of your equipment and the skills of your labor force in determining the overall success of your business. This article looks at three critical factors in the development of a winning Management Information System (MIS) strategy. GARBAGE IN, PROFITS OUT There's nothing more devastating to the bottom-line than introduction of bad information into the production process. And there's no bigger opportunity for this than in the handoff of information from one party to the next. From the collection of specification information to the creation of the job plan to com- munication of that plan to production, lost, delayed, or misinter- preted information can quickly consume your profit potential. For example, many businesses still utilize a handwritten hand- off between the salesperson and the estimating or planning team. And, many of those who utilize a computer-generated specifica- tion simply don't have a link between the specification and their management system. A strong MIS eliminates this manual han- doff, offering a higher degree of accuracy and validation of much of the information collected. Current solutions, for example, utilize an integrated, browser- based custom form that checks to see that all the information required is collected and communicated without transition errors. The information is passed quickly and seamlessly into the man- agement system and is used as the foundation for the estimating and planning processes. Changes are tracked within the same framework, ensuring the most accurate information, eliminating the delays and additional costs related to poor information handling. Besides the obvious bottom-line impact, more accurate specifications and a fast turn- around process can also improve your client's confidence level and your chances of winning a job. While the competitor is call- ing to collect or validate information, you're presenting a quote based on a detailed production plan. BUILDING BRIDGES Ask any production employee what management system your business uses. If they can't answer, there's a good chance your management team and production team are living on separate islands. The cost of operation is always higher when islands are involved. A good MIS will eliminate islands of information, build- The Value of MIS in Flexo Don't Rubber Stamp Your Profit Potential By Gerald Walsh