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FLEXO Magazine : October 2013
management, materials management, etc. However, pos- sessing these systems by no way guarantees that they are integrated. The challenges in integration of existing systems can be as varied as the systems themselves. There can be issues with platform, vintage, department requirements, focus and (of course) manager personalities. And even the most heroic attempts to integrate varied systems usually results in major gaps or holes that leave certain critical areas of the organiza- tion fending for themselves to gather data by whatever means are at their disposal. For the converter, these gaps in system coverage usually manifest themselves in the pressroom and in the graphics department. Consequently, the head of operations and/or graphics must utilize and manage his/her own data collection tools to ensure that they are both accurate and timely, and then create an independent system to make the collected data functional. To complicate matters, for this pressroom/graphics data to be effective, it cannot live in isolation. It needs to pull certain information from the various business systems of the organi- zation and combine it with the pressroom/graphics data to be complete and relevant. Thus the new pressroom/graphics system must use integrated data to make the system func- tional. This is the foundation of an effective pressroom/graph- ics system. So, how do you create a functional system that uses quali- fied data to ensure decision makers have the right informa- tion? First, you start with a champion. oWnersHiP bY cHAMPion To truly be an effective system champion, this individual requires quality data to make tactical and strategic decisions. The system champion must be accountable for every stage of the system, as he or she will be relying on the information from this system to drive and rationalize the goals of the or- ganization. It’s this “skin in the game” that creates a sense of ownership. And it’s ownership that is the difference between a system champion and a system administrator. To own it means to set its goals, keep the system and its users on focus, to use it, to improve it and to show its strength through effective decisions. Owning its success and evolution is critical. Due to the strategic and organizational impact of creat- ing and deploying a system of this nature, championship requires an individual with a high level of authority who can assign teams to ensure the systems success. At a converter the system champion is typically the head of operations or production. MAPPing & discoverY The discovery process begins with an objective company- wide investigation into the goals and strategies of the opera- tion. The system must be created with these goals in mind so that it can best be used as a tool to achieve them. In addition, since the system will have an impact on and be drawing from various other departments, a broad perspective is necessary for effectiveness. This discovery will require detailed process mapping of all of the pertinent departments from sales and customer service, through manufacturing to billing and shipping. A workflow specialist should conduct the discovery process. Someone with this level of systems knowledge is critical in documenting the movement of data and information through the organization, but it is the system champion that helps put it into perspective and facilitate an effective discovery. ArcHitecture & AccePtAnce Once the discovery process is complete, there needs to be a full map of the new system created. All pertinent parties should walk through the design before hard coding is started. This includes members from production, graphics, customer service and quality. In order to facilitate initial acceptance and understanding of the system, it is recommended that a basic user interface be created to allow the participating members to have a feel for the system and its functionality. Creating this home page and a few other key pages (search, schedule, etc.) help future users visualize the system, creating a familiar environment and a platform to begin the process. “The key to the functional and effective programming of this type of system is writing clean code with a full understand- ing that it will change and evolve over time,” says Wayne Wyngaard, a veteran applications architect for the converter and packaging industry with more than 20 years of experi- ence. Therefore, creating a system on a flexible yet powerful database platform is critical. Also, since usability and access are imperative, the system must be created with Web interface capabilities. To take ad- vantage of the most current technology, mobile applications may also give a competitive edge to the users. Testing and customizing the system through frequent interaction with the user team is important throughout the process, but especially in this stage. This ensures that strate- gies remain aligned and that functionality continues to be an imperative. “The most effective systems are the ones that are built with a strategic understanding of the overall organiza- tion and that can be customized to the very specific needs of the client,” says Wyngaard. This allows for the system to be a tool to conduct business in a manner that will maximize the opportunity for success by taking advantage of the strengths specific to the organization. 34 FLeXo OCTOBER 2013 www.flexography.org HD-ITR Flat Top Dot Seamless Sleeves High Definition Flexo Technical Partnerships Wisconsin . Chicago . California . Atlanta VISIT US AT FTA’S 2013 FALL CONFERENCE AND TABLETOP EXHIBIT KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI TAKE YOUR FLEXO TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL Let OEC Graphics... • Digital, ITR • Customizable • HD and Flat Top Dot compatible • Tightest registration • Eliminates mounting • No stickyback cost • Faster make-ready • Reusable • Reduced lead times SEAMLESS I CUSTOMIZABLE I CONTINUOUS I REUSABLE OEC Graphics was the first to bring the SEAMEX® seamless In-The-Round (ITR) sleeve to the North American market. Investments in equipment, research and development solidified SEAMEX as the industry standard. Today, it has evolved into a digital wonder; improving press speeds, streamlining pressrooms and producing thousands of sleeves as it continues to win awards and converter’s approval year after year. FOR MORE INFORMATION call Brad Vette at 1.800.388.7770 or email email@example.com oecgraphics.com “Champions are made from something they have deep inside of them—a desire, a dream, a vision.” Mahatma Gandhi