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FLEXO Magazine : October 2013
tecHNOLOGIES & tecHNIQUES dePLoY & trAin At this point, the champion empowers a team to deploy and train the users. A critical aspect of this deployment and train- ing stage is documentation of the new process. Guides and tutorials for reference should be available to walk through standard operating procedures and to ensure consistent use of the system. In some cases, these guides and the system remain in place in an organization long after the trainers and initial users have moved on. The guides and tutorials are key to implementation and future transitions. Deployment should be done in stages, allowing for the system to take hold in the areas or departments that have the most opportunity for smooth implementation and the highest probability for success. Early success is important to ensure user acceptance. The reduction of effort, time, pa- perwork and emails are important goals for improvements in efficiency. The capacity to locate information quickly and accurately is another key component to early deployment success of the system. utiLiZe & decide Improved communication, access to data and less paper- work are signs of a good system, however, the most powerful show of success of a system is providing the information to make better decisions. It is the functional use of the system that gives it strength. Data to improve consistency, reduce tolerances, eliminate waste, increase quality scores, organize large amounts of data, manage projects, track revisions—this is where the true, strategic benefit comes into play. By creating and deploying a system that uses integrated data, you have just provided an extremely powerful tool. Reports gleaned from a variety of areas give the users the ca- pacity to communicate internally and act off of the same cred- ible data. Then you are truly working from the qualified data that has been the goal all along. The data is accurate, timely, complete and relevant—and now organized and effective. It is at this stage that the talent and expertise of the decision makers are able to shine. “The question is how much more profitable can you be if you are confident in your decision making information?” asks Bastidas. “Confidence allows you to focus on combining the best people and technologies with the most effective processes.” With a system that empowers its users to make better and more effective decisions, the system should also be created with the capacity to prove out those decisions. The use of tracking applications and project management tools will allow for a timely review and analysis of these decisions and allow the user to modify his or her decision or to move on to the next opportunity. reFine & evoLve As your business changes, so should your system. System customizations should be made in anticipation of change when possible. The addition of a new press, winning a large contract or a company acquisition—these are predictable scenarios, and the system should be customized as part of the transition planning. However, on-the-fly customizations may still be made quick- ly to take advantage of new opportunities that arise with little warning. It is your organization’s ability to take advantage of every opportunity and respond to changing conditions in the market that make you more competitive. The system that is deployed needs to have the same capacity to react. The importance of collecting data that allows manag- ers to make fast and knowledgeable decisions has never been more critical to competitive success in any market. The qualification of this data as accurate and timely is what provides managers with the confidence to make good deci- sions. However, only if the pressroom and graphics data gathered from production tools is complemented by data from varied systems in the organization, can it be complete and relevant, allowing managers to make better and more strategic decisions. Finally, to take this data and use it to gain a true competitive advantage takes a system that gives access, functionality and flexibility. n About the Author: Brad Vette, corporate managing director of OEC Graphics, Inc. of Oshkosh, WI, has been involved in the flexographic industry for more than 20 years. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky and received his MBA from Baylor School of Business. Brad has held flexography positions in marketing, sales and plant management in prepress and flexible packaging. Currently, his responsibilities include OEC Graphics’ corporate growth strategy, marketing and business development opportunities, including mergers and acquisitions. Print Protection The World of Lamination & Its Benefits—From Dry to Wet, Hot-Wax & Solventless Applications By Giancarlo Caimmi, Nancy Smith, Scot Pedersen and Keith Potts In our everyday lives as consumers, we are continuously exposed to laminated materials—in particular, flexible packaging and, of course, food packaging. To laminate a flexible substrate means to layer two or more webs and stabilize the compound by means of an adhesive in order to comply with a particular end-use oriented design. Lamination has two specific goals: make a package lighter and more consumer friendly. By formulating several substrates together, it is possible to create structures that combine the characteristics of multiple technologies, such as rigid packaging. The resulting package is not just lighter, it also can have a host of other desirable traits such as: • Requiring less energy to produce • Generating less pollution during application • Having a better product-to-package ratio • Accounting for less volume when deposited into a landfill • Being more economical to transport • Protecting the product better • Extending shelf life This list is missing the most important factor: cost. Lamina- tion can make packaging less expensive to manufacture and a more efficient choice for brand owner and consumer. Lamination is the “money shot” of the converting industry, allowing converters to add value to products and to run into segments where competition is lower and profit higher. LAMinAtion’s origins Lamination for flexible substrates has evolved with the rotary press. As a result, lamination and print have a lot in common, particularly with respect to coating technology. The vast majority of coating technologies have been developed around the design of a specific printing technology: flexo and rotogravure for low viscosity coating and offset for high. WHY LAMINATE? • Low-cost solution for printers/converters, brand owners and consumers • Requires less energy to produce and generates less pollution during application • Enables packaging to be lighter and more consumer friendly • Has a better product-to-package ratio • Combines desirable traits of multiple webs and substrates • Protects the product better by extending shelf life 36 FLeXo OCTOBER 2013 www.flexography.org www.flexography.org OCTOBER 2013 FLeXo 37 “I’m the decider.” George W. Bush “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.” Jack Welch