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Making Lean Work

(February 2007) posted on Sun Feb 25, 2007

Committing to lean manufacturing can be an intimidating proposition for those who aren't prepared for change. This article explains how implementing lean step-by-step can benefit print providers.


By Les deHamer

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Advanced colorimetric analysis This is a system by which a trained consultant will use color-data-gathering devices to obtain numerical verification of the print production process's ability to control and achieve accurate color from conception to completion. An example of the types of tests performed during this analysis is a line dot angle test, which is done to ensure proper dot reproduction and line-screen optimization.

Productivity-improvement analysis The involves the use of numerous methodologies to observe, evaluate, and define the current state of productivity. Various statistical-analysis tools will be used to identify where the bulk of time is spent and clearly state where productivity opportunities exist. Among the tools the trained consultant could use are time study, spaghetti diagrams, load-leveling diagrams, and 5S (sort, straighten, shine, standardize, and sustain) evaluations. A non-subjective view of the process will use define, measure, analyze, improve, control concepts to see the actual reason for productivity slow downs and provide data to validate the findings. The immediate benefits to the company can be seen in improvements such as increased production flexibility, increased throughput, improvements in on-time and in-full delivery, and better internal and external communication.

Labor-optimization analysis Several methodologies are used to observe, evaluate and define the current state of labor utilization. Various statistical-analysis tools will be used to identify where the bulk of time is spent and clearly state where labor-improvement opportunities exist. Among the tools the trained consultant could use are time study, spaghetti diagrams, load leveling, cause & effect matrix, control charts, and 5S evaluations.

Waste-reduction analysis There are seven kinds of waste: overproduction, waiting times, transportation and handling, useless or excess inventories, production processes, useless motions, and scrap and defects. A range of methodologies are used to observe, evaluate, and define the current state of corporate waste. A variety of statistical-analysis tools also are applied to identify where the bulk of time is spent and clearly state where waste can be reduced. Among the tools the trained consultant could use are time study, spaghetti diagrams, process capability/process capability index, control charts, and 5S evaluations. New techniques, such as kanban and visual inventory (methods that rely on visual cues to pull materials and goods through the production process at the pull of customer demand), may be utilized to create a more streamlined production system.

 

Lean in action


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