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Graphics Arts vs. a Print Manufacturing company

For years industry luminaries’ have touted the need and importance for printers to make the transition from Graphic Arts to Print Manufacturing but no one has provided a clear blueprint to make this transition… until now.

 

Why should a printer want to make the transition?
Business has never been more competitive for printers, on all fronts:

  1. Digital print manufacturers have easy to migrate websites and provide high quality, super low-cost printed products like picture books for $15 quantity 1, and business cards ($500 for $9.99 including shipping). They will keep expanding their market presence based on their efficiencies and scalability.
  2. Internet Content- many documents that used to be printed are no longer, phone books, catalogs, magazines, newspapers are all available online, but no longer in print… expect this trend to continue.
  3. Ipad/Iphone mobile devices — much like internet content, and a lot of previously printed materials are now available on your personal mobile device.

 

A number of printers and capacity of printing equipment exceeds customer demand. As the demand for certain types of print has dropped the industry availability of the equipment has grown. Which means, it is more competitive than ever, and printers have to be efficient and profitable if they expect to survive.

 

Efficiency and profitability are something that most printers are NOT very good at. 75% of all printers make less than 4% profit margin on sales*. For every $10,000 in sales, the printer makes $400. Which means, for every $400 in waste, the printer needs to make an additional $10,000 in sales!!! 50% of all printers, 1 out of 2 make less than 2% profit margin, which brings the dollar amount down to $200 in waste requires $10,000 of additional sales to make up for it. With the lack of sales, NO PRINTER can afford $200 of waste in a month never mind a day or week. Reducing waste has to be the #1 priority for most printers.

 

The fastest way to reduce and eliminate waste:

  1. Define what “waste” is, jobs that are rejected by one customer, could be valid for another; the fact is customers have different expectations, and without qualifying those expectations a printer is vulnerable to be at a customers mercy to provide free or greatly discounted jobs which cost a printer thousands of profits every year. How to define “waste?” Define a plant tolerance using E-Factor and communicate to all individuals within the company — especially production operators and salespeople, they are the two groups that are most apt to cost your company money. E-Factor provides Product Conformance metrics, not only process control like most programs.
  2. Make Operators directly accountable for output meeting plant tolerances. How do you make them accountable? By providing time, tools and training for operators and salespeople to help them understand what your “profitable” manufacturing capabilities are in E-Factor and allow them to assess for every output so they can adapt the device to meet E-Factor before unnecessary waste is produced.

Product Conformance is NOT process control. Most assessment programs assess process control metrics like density, dot gain, G7® gray balance, without assessing: Does the job meet customer expectations. ChromaChecker assesses process control and Product Conformance, which ensures the product meets customer expectations. See associated write up on E-Factor.

 

Attributes of Graphic Arts Company:

  1. No cohesive G7® and or color management strategy for all color output devices, no way to assess pass or fail based on Company Tolerances.
  2. Break/Fix mentality — run everything until it breaks and then fix it, no maintenance time, no training, ancient tools for operators.
  3. Finger pointing when something goes wrong.
  4. The customer is always right, provide a discount or make good whenever the customer complaints, because no reference for what is right or wrong, nor any way to track it and report.
  5. No idea about the influence of multiple measurement devices influence on the manufacturing tolerance or the supply chain reproduction.
  6. No periodic checks for critical devices like instruments, light booths, plate setters, fountain solution, raw material quality reviews.
  7. Too busy doing production to worry about anything else, operators have no extra time.
  8. No understanding of relationships between mean time between failures, and effect of parameters such as temperature and humidity on the production process.
  9. No strategy for ISO 9000 or Six Sigma methodologies.

 

Attributes of Print Manufacturing Company

  1. Cohesive G7® and Color Management workflow as shown on the Print Inspector Dashboard to allow everyone to see that all devices are manufacturing color within Plant Tolerances that have a shared visual appearance, and that proofers are matching the color on production devices.
  2. Proactive Assessment mentality — assign operators to check devices daily or weekly to ensure proper operation, knowing that one failure will cause waste.
  3. No Finger pointing — every device has an accountable operator that is assigned to check the device to ensure it is operating correctly, and they are reminded with emails and displayed on company dashboard if they haven’t checked their devices.
  4. The customer is not always right, the printer can provide proof that job ran the Plant tolerances and that no credit is owed. Jobs were checked at the time of production, and the proof is easily provided to ensure quality results.
  5. Track the precision of measurement instruments periodically to ensure they are measuring consistently, and that multiple instruments in the same production line are within manufacturing tolerances.
  6. System, which allows for scheduling when devices have to be checked to ensure they are correct, and emails are automatically sent to operators that don’t check devices within assigned time periods.
  7. Operators are allowed extra time in their duties to perform required checks for all devices that affect color reproduction.
  8. Complete tracking of mean time between failures and understanding the cause and effect relationship between print manufacturing and temperature and humidity.
  9. These checks and assignments are ISO 9000 compliant, and methodologies follow Six Sigma principles, and the company has educated users and customers on this commitment.

 

ChromaChecker™ provides a blueprint to transition from Graphic Arts to Print Manufacturing.

ChromaChecker™ works with virtually every measurement device and software program that measures color, meaning, no need to retrain operators, or change the way things are done today.ChromaChecker™ complements your existing process and adds many capabilities which allow you to migrate to a Print Manufacturer.

  1. ChromaChecker™ E-Factor procedure allows a company to create Product Conformance tolerances which define when a printed product passes of fails plant tolerances. If the output devices E-Factor is equal to or less than plant tolerance — then product passes and will meet or exceed customer expectations.
  2. ChromaChecker™ provides a Print Inspector dashboard which provides a 50,000-foot view of the entire manufacturing organization in near real time. Shows if all output devices are manufacturing color within Plant desired E-Factor and sends out e-mail notifications if devices start failing conformance, or raw materials fail conformance.
  3. ChromaChecker™ Accountability Inspector allows every operator to know what devices they are responsible for checking, and how often, and provides email reminders and multi-color (red- fail, yellow- overdue to be checked, green-checked and conforming) icons on Print Inspector dashboard which shows the entire plant what has been checked and what hasn’t within defined timeframe.
  4. ChromaChecker™ Performance Inspector allows a company to search for any manufactured job and provide a report on how the job printed compared to company E-Factor and industry requirements like G7® and ISO conformance parameters. This allows for immediate proof that job printed as expected, and no discount or makes good is required.
  5. ChromaChecker™ Instrument Inspector not only allows periodic assessments for every instrument to ensure consistency to themselves but also quantifies the differences between instruments and can harmonize the differences providing more tolerance for actual manufacturing, eliminating waste
  6. ChromaChecker™ Accountability inspector allows devices like light booths, measurement instruments, fountain solutions, Nip rollers and cylinder pressures, and plate setters to be assigned to indirect product personnel to ensure that they are operating correctly and not corrupting the process by being imprecise or not accurate due to improper maintenance.
  7. ChromaChecker™ Operator Interface works on a web browser or iPad to not only allow an operator to receive an instant report showing that their given manufacturing device is producing acceptable work, but provides details on what they need to change if it's not. It also allows them to easily log their maintenance which shows up on the main Print Inspector dashboard when required.
  8. ChromaChecker™ Event Manager allows a company to track mean time between failures of devices, and ChromaChecker™ data logger allows a company to associate temperature and humidity with every measurement within the plant and proactively assess cause and effect relationships.
  9. ChromaChecker™ can eliminate dozens of handwritten notebooks providing a centralized recordkeeping database with trend data for all devices that exceed ISO 9000 conformance requirements, and closely follow Six Sigma methodologies.

 

ChromaChecker™ allows a Graphic Arts company to transition to a Print Manufacturing process in defined steps in a short period of time which will provide a guaranteed immediate return on investment. Follow our steps to success to decrease waste and become more profitable in order to succeed in the future.

 

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* PIA 2017 Flash Report Printer Financials (January 2017)