“Lean” may be a buzzword today, but look at the majority of successful manufacturing companies and you will find they have embraced “lean” concepts.
Today’s market demands projects be done right, be done on time and be price competitive. To meet these criteria consistently and without cutting corners, we know running a lean operation is key. Below are some of our underlying principals for operational decision making that allow us to run ” lean “.
- Hold the minimum inventory needed to run operations without interruption. We have developed relationships with our suppliers (mostly paper vendors) to allow us to order any available items and have delivered by 8:00 the next morning. We take this very seriously; as our supply line is our life line.
- Standardize equipment and processes. Our estimating process, prepress workflow and proofing processes have been standardized so we can achieve the same results over and over again. We have standard plate sizes for all of our presses, standard blade sizes for our cutters and so on; you get the idea. The more standardized we are, the more predictable the results with less time and energy invested; that means one more opportunity to be competitive.
- Buy the best equipment for the job and don’t keep unproductive or in-efficient equipment around. We make optimum use of every piece of equipment as well as every square inch of our facility; nobody wants to pay for under utilized resources or equipment that do not produce as promised.
- Stay financially stable. We pay our vendors on time and take discounts when ever offered. Our vendors will go the extra mile for us and the money we save in discounts adds up. We have a strong receivables and payables system and constantly monitor our financial position. A financially stable company can concentrate on their core competency.
- Meet regularly and always look for waste in the system. By meeting on a scheduled basis, we all stay on the same page and everybody has the chance to bring up an area where they see waste or inefficiency happening. Its amazing what happens when you communicate.
This is a great subject to write about, and in my mind one of the reasons we continue to be successful. I will write more about it in the future, the more I write about it, the more we come up with new ideas on being lean.