by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
FLEXO Magazine : February 2014
• Repeatable, mindless activities, i.e . preflighting, quoting • The most error prone steps, i.e. order entry • Steps that don’t add value or generate revenue, i.e. scheduling, quality assurance Start by going after some of the “low hanging fruit.” Cong- don offers this recommendation: “Automate the very easy stuff [first]—sending an email, folder creation, saved RIP or proof settings, etc.” Michael Bialko, the worldwide technical product manager of packaging workflow for Kodak, agrees. “I always start off with the most common tasks to automate, as they are gener- ally the easiest and will give the most value initially.” Because you’ve charted the workflow, steps and tasks, you’ll find it easier to identify those tasks that fit into one of the categories but require less effort and preferably little to no cost. Once you have a few of these basic automations in place, you’ll be able to generate some positive momentum around future automation deployments that might require more time and capital investment. Michael Rottenborn is president and CEO of Hybrid Soft- ware, an enterprise software developer that specializes in automated solutions for the graphic arts industry. “ T he best candidates for automation are the tasks that are repetitive and therefore prone to human error,” he professes. “ T hey don’t have to be complex tasks, just the brainless tasks—such as rekeying an outline order into an MIS system or production ticket—that are performed countless times each day. “Another equally valid strategy is to automate the ‘highest value’ pieces of a workflow—the things that are hardest to check, or most costly if done improperly,” adds Rottenborn. My preferred process for methodically determining the highest value piece of a workflow is to approach it like a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA). Refer back to the workflow chart created earlier. Create a spreadsheet using Microsoft Excel or a similar application. List each task on its own row, along with the possible failure that could occur, the cause of the failure and the consequences of the failure. Add additional columns labeled O (likelihood of occurrence), D (likelihood of Detection), S (Severity of error) and RPN (Risk Priority Number). For each task, assign a value between 1 and 10, 10 being the highest, for how likely an error related to the task might occur (O column), how detectable it would be (D), and how severe it would be if it did occur (S). In the RPN column, mul- tiply the product of columns O, D and S. Once every task has been listed and has an RPN assigned to it, sort the list by RPN and use, then look at automating the tasks with the highest RPN values first (See chart at top of page). SMALL BITES One of the biggest mistakes made when automating is to tackle too much at once. The automation group gets excited and there’s a positive vibe once you’ve charted the workflow and realized all of the automation potential that you have in your workflows. “T he most common mistake I see is that a user tries to auto- mate the entire workflow on the first try,” says Bialko. “ Walk before you run is what I say!” Rottenborn echoes the thought: “By far the most common mistake is aiming too high,” he says. “Automation can be very granular and implemented in stages, with each new stage building on past successes. And it’s almost impossible to automate 100 percent of everything, so converters and trade shops are much better off automating the 80 percent of their jobs that is repetitive and using their human capital to per- form the 20 percent that is complex or difficult to automate. ” A mantra to remember when automating is “The Perfect Is The Enemy of The Good.” Repeat this to the automation group at every team meeting. You aren’t looking to replace people with automation; you’re looking to refocus those employees on high value work or use those employees to help your company explore new growth opportunities. DATA IS KEY Recall Congdon’s statement: “A primary benefit to an auto- mated workflow is to drive it with data.” Most prepress companies today have probably made the transition from handwritten production orders and job notes 50 FLEXO FEBRUARY 2014 www.flexography.org A Failure Mode and Effects (FMEA) model for File Prep