Lean Progress at Label Printing Companies

Continuous Improvement [the broken link was removed], an article from the Label and Narrow Web trade magazine (“for the narrow web segment of converting and printing”), is an article with some nice anecdotes of successfully applying lean thinking.

“The dollar ramifications are huge. We pay bills in 10 days now because we have fewer bills to pay, and now we have discounts. We made back the money we paid last year in interest on our credit line because we have so much less inventory. In 18 months we took our inventory from well over $400,000 to under $200,000, and in those 18 months the company grew 20 percent.

“The next area we focused on was our press benches. We got rid of everybody’s tool boxes and standardized. No other tools in the building. We went on a shopping spree at Home Depot, we moved out extra work benches, set up shadow boards, and mounted all the new tools on them. If a tool is missing at the end of a week they pay for it. We cleaned up the floors, and now the shop is really open and clean looking. The next step is to put up modular walls and install air conditioning.”

Luminer Converting has been assisted in its Lean venture by the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program; similar operations exist in almost all US states. “Through them we received a grant which paid for 90 percent of the consultancy fees we incurred,” Spina notes.

via: Lean Printing [the broken link was removed] – a new lean blog

Related: It’s Easy Being LeanWisconsin Manufacturinglean manufacturing articlesTransforming With Lean

It is really worth reading. Here are some additional points, including a comment related to our last post.

Southworth says that a company engaging in a Lean Manufacturing transformation must have a no-layoff policy. “If you do, you will kill your momentum. Put them into other positions. Some will go. Don’t leave the best people on the equipment. Take best people and make them your next change agency, make them run the next kaizen event, use them to continuously improve.

“You need to free up resources, you have to decide in the beginning, before the beginning, if you have too many people. Let the anchor draggers go before you even begin the transformation. This message – “We are not going to let people go because of the improvements we are going to make” – must be made clear.

“People also need to understand that printing companies have seen every management fad: Deming, Zero Defects, TQM, JIT. They’ve heard it and seen it. They are going to look at this and say, ‘Here we go again.’ The owner or top manager has to do a lot of convincing with everyone, to be open and honest and up front with them. It has to be the business owner.”

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