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FLEXO Magazine : September 2012
CHRISTOPHER: Even if it were just limited to the 5 s'(sorting, stabilizing, sweeping, standardizing, sustaining), LEAN has a place in every manufactur- ing operation. Quick change-over, line balancing, and most of all standard work, are all tied to a consistent product and an accurate costing. FLEXO: Have you moved, or do you in- tend to move to a completely automated workflow? What other steps are you taking to maintain a path toward con- tinuous improvement in your plant? How will that enhance your firm's competitive position? Have you attained FIRST, ISO, ANSI, or environmentally related certifi- cations? Do you expect to in the future? How do you assess and enhance the skills of your pressroom personnel? CHRISTOPHER: No, we haven't, and as yet are not planning to go to a completely automated workflow. We are emphasizing human resource management on our path toward continuous improvement. We're taking baby steps. As I said, individual staff members have attained FIRST certifi- cation and within the next three years, we'd like to certify the plant/company. It's a work in progress. FLEXO: Can you provide a brief state- ment on how sustainability or green printing; smart, interactive labels and QR codes; combination/multi-process printing; digital printing as a comple- mentary technology to flexo; and Expanded Gamut Printing are impacting your plant and what likely effects they'll have on operations in the years to come? CHRISTOPHER: Green concerns guide the choices of future technology pur- chased. QR codes are in growing use. Interactive/smart labels have not yet become a factor. Ichris is not involved with multi-process printing. Digital has become a strong competitor with smaller and medium sized accounts. It may be complementary technology to larger shops, but not to smaller outfits. Ex- panded Color Gamut printing, along with specialty inks, opens the only clear market differential point to digital. FLEXO: Can you please explain the value of FTA membership to your firm and comment on the most significant takeaways from the association's recent meetings, training programs or printed educational materials? CHRISTOPHER: Standards for flexo processes and training are the key benefits of our FTA membership. FIRST is our best benefit in recent time. FLEXO: Finally, if you have capital improvement plans under development/ implementation, what are they and how will they change the face of your busi- ness as we move into the future? CHRISTOPHER: If I won the lottery, I might buy an Indigo, forget flexo com- pletely and finally be able to give my in-house designers complete freedom in design to please my customers. www.flexography.org SEPTEMBER 2012 FLEXO 51