Rose City Label again attended the PIA/SGIA Continuous Improvement conference. This is the very best place to benchmark with other printers that are practicing Lean Manufacturing. Seeing other printers, large and small, share their success and lessons learned is motivational for us. We learned new skills and recommitted to working on the business – we have to constantly drive out waste and provide more value for customers. Every single day.
Continuous Improvement in all areas
The 2018 CI Conference reinforced all the areas of our business that we work on daily. There is no finish line on the road to printing excellence. We have to be vigilant and recognize that there are always better ways to do things. Even after a record year – the best year in 90 years – we still have improvements to make in the office, production, shipping and prepress. There is always more work to do.
One of the excellent presenters compared the lean CULTURE and lean TECHNIQUES to ‘peanut butter and jelly’. The two things are fundamentally different, but they are both required for optimal results. Often, companies (including us) focus on the techniques and tactics in the press room, rather than the people. One big takeaway from this conference was that our job – as a company – is to develop problem solving, innovative, curious people. The people will deliver value for the customer, and the customer will make our business successful financially.
Learning to See
One of the initial things we (and all CI companies) need to do is learn to see opportunities. One of the speakers said, You have to SEE it and then you have to SEIZE it. You can’t seize (fix) it until you first SEE the problem, issue, waste, gap. Learning to SEE is the first step to improvement. In Lean language, there are 8 deadly wastes in every company. We need to see these first. Besides that, the concept of ‘Fix what bugs you’ is a great way to find problems to attack. In every business, there are ways to get better every day.
Make it World Class
Barely adequate workplace is not what we are going for. We want our business, our facility, and our people to be the best they can be. Only then will we add the most value for our customers. Clean, bright, well organized work areas inspire people to do their best and we strive to provide that. “Look good, feel good, play good!” This was the mantra of one of the speakers at the conference.
Pay it Forward
Another common aspect of lean companies is the desire to share what they have learned. Because nobody survives on the lean journey alone, everybody realizes they had help along the way. Because others helped them, most lean companies want to help others. We are no different. Please contact us directly if you are a manufacturer trying to implement lean. We don’t have all the answers, but we are happy to try to help.
Many have helped us get to this point, and we know many others will help in the future. Ultimately, we exist to add value for our customers and we thank you very much for trusting us. Your support allows us to learn and grow as we move forward. Please contact us today if we can help your business.