Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 10:21:52 -0400
Subject: Workplace Improvement
Crouser Report OnLine Copyright 1996 Thomas P. Crouser, July 2, 1996 -
Material may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written
consent of the copyright holder.
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PRINT IMAGE 96: Hope you ll plan to stop by our booth during the NAQP show in
Chicago July 11-13th. You ll also get to see the latest developments in our
software, Crouser s Print Shop Manager, including our recently released
Accounts Receivable package. Crouser s Quick Estimator which estimates (fully
customizable pricing or reproduce our pricing), does work orders, invoices,
prints price lists, etc. Pickup a free PC based evaluation copy. Can t make
the show? Message me and include your name, company, address, telephone and
fax. I ll send you one, free.
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Transmitted from Charleston, West Virginia
Crouser Report, July 1996
Dear Friends. . .
During our first ever Production Management Conference last month, I had the
opportunity to use a text by Iwao Kobayashi entitled
20 Keys to Workplace
Here s some of the highlights and my print shop interpretations
of this original Japanese text.
Where do we start improving our workplace? Buy a computers? Develop an
incentive plan? Nopey, let s clean the darned place up. Sloppy organization
of materials, jobs, and hand tools are the prime waster of time in the print
shop. Start with all your horizontal surfaces. Are these work surfaces or a
pack rat s storage bin? Examine the work floor and eliminate all trash and
non-essential tools and storage. (Things placed in one spot for over one
month can not be considered being placed there
) Do not put
anything directly on the floor (use pallets or shelving for paper;
appropriate racks, cabinets or shelving for everything else). Next, look at
the walls. Eliminate the clutter by the walls and make sure all passageways
are clear. Organize the handtools needed by the workers. Are the tools, parts
and clamps all mixed together? Are gloves, shoes and other miscellaneous
articles thrown in the tool box? Let workers know they are responsible for
the neatness of their areas and you, the owner, be responsible for the
neatness of yours!
Now, look inside the shelves and sort the materials, parts and tools. Make
areas clear and distinct so things can be found at a glance. If shelves are
enclosed in work areas, take off the doors. Return tools to their appropriate
place. Assure scrap is being deposited directly into appropriate containers
(press operators should not be throwing waste paper in the floor).
Next, adopt a rational organizational structure. This subject is a whole
book in itself. There must be one person in charge of production. Clarify
jobs and responsibilities. Assure the person in charge of production really
is in charge of total production and not just a press room foreman with a
fancy title and make sure you, the owner, allow them to actually do their job
by redirecting work they have directed. And from our notes, we added the
concepts of maintaining order entry discipline (orders can t be processed
before they are specified); the production manager taking possession of all
jobs entered into the system; and then laying hands on each job at least
twice a day.
There are 20 keys defined in the text, some are more appropriate to our
specific situations than others. Here s a few of the ones I find to be of
great importance to us.
Coupled Manufacturing: We are involved in a coupled manufacturing system as
opposed to a linked one. A linked one could be conceived of as an assembly
line. In print shops, the pre-press is coupled with press which is coupled
with bindery, but not in one continuous operation. In such a system, we imply
communications and functional linkages between processes. Coupled systems
should have designated coupling points at the end of each process. In an
unenlightened shop, each process functions independently. Each operator feels
that as long as they make the schedule, everything will work out. Operators
have their own places for meeting demands and they often ignore people from
the previous process, concentrate on easier to produce batches and ignore the
needs of people in the next process.
***** ***** *****
Family Print Shops: From the Worst of Times to the Best of Times.
I will be
discussing this topic during NAQP s Next Generation session immediately
following the NAQP general sessions (July 15th). Hope to see you there. More
info contact NAQP or see your registration packet.
***** ***** *****
Maintenance: Unenlightened shops run equipment into the ground and fix it as
it breaks. Schedule maintenance as a normal part of operations. Focus on
preventive maintenance of the most essential equipment first. When the
machine breaks down, the first person to know it is the one who is operating
it. This person should also be the first to try to repair it. When operators
start to feel personal ownership of equipment and a personal responsibility
for its functioning, they will not want to leave preventive maintenance
solely up to service personnel.
The three most typical forms of equipment abuses are: lack of cleaning; lack
of lubrication (and routine parts replacement); and mishandling. Move beyond
equipment improvement control.
old equipment and machinery can be made to function better than new
equipment. Prepare preventive maintenance equipment check sheets. Use daily
sheets for inspection by the operators.
In a more enlightened facility, operators are completely aware that it is
their responsibility to keep equipment from breaking down. Operators work to
eliminate equipment abuse. Management must make commitments to thoroughly
understand the causes of breakdowns.
All equipment problems have a serious impact on quality, costs and delivery
schedules. Some people are under the impressions that once they eliminate the
three forms of equipment abuse, all such equipment problems will stop.
Unfortunately, although this will great reduce the frequency of problems,
there will still be problems caused by wear, design flaws and other
conditions. If the equipment breaks down, don t just fix the problem. Try to
ensure the breakdown will not happen again.
Equipment improvement is a dynamic process, distinct from the passive
approach of equipment maintenance control. maintenance does the minimum to
keep the equipment running, but improvement control is concerned with
enhancing the equipment to minimize problems and raise the quality of the
Time Policies: All but the worst employers try to design work times around
the needs of workers. Policies pertaining to starting and quitting times must
also, however, be viewed in context of the entire production system and not
just in isolation based on one worker s needs.
In unenlightened shops, the work times and even breaks are left to the
worker s discretion. I once was in a shop s basement with the owner
discussing issues and when we reappeared at 3 pm on Friday afternoon,
everyone in the shop had left. Why? Boss doesn t want any more work than 40
hours in a week and imposed this on all of the workers. So, once they hit 40
hours, they all left and left the shop unattended. Other shops have press
operators starting at 6 in the morning and working until 2:30 or so. The
pre-press people come in at 9:30 or some other time. Is it a problem? Yes.
Exaggerated, let s suppose the press folks work from 6 am til 2 pm, the
typesetter works from 3 til 9 and the bindery person comes in from 10 pm
until 2 am. Would you have a hard time getting this team to function
together? Bet your bippy. So the same goes for starting and ending times.
That s up to management to design in support of customer needs.
Morning Meeting: One time device most used to get the day started on the
right foot is to get everyone together for a morning meeting. This short
start to the day reduces tardiness and its inherent adverse effect on
employee motivation as well as helps the production manager control the
biggest waste of the day: the time lost in getting production started.
In an enlightened shop, workers do preparation for tomorrow s work before
they go home at night. They are punctual to the morning meeting and they
immediately after the meeting concludes.
Quality Assurance: Kobayashi says that an un-enlightened shop leaves quality
assurance to the testers at the end of the process. In print shops, I see
quality assurance being left up to customers who either accept or reject
Basic steps in beginning a quality assurance program is a shop wide attitude
that the next process is the customer. The customer of the typesetter is the
press operator and the press operator s customer is the bindery person.
The next step is to have workers perform inspections on their own products.
Unfortunately, most of us think we do this now, but we don t. A two point
inspection program needs to be fully implemented. This means the operator at
the next process must first double check the work done by the previous
process before using it. If defective, it should be immediately returned and
corrected (impossible to do unless all members of the team are there at the
same time). Then the operator who completes the process should inspect the
items to assure the usability for the next step. This two-step process
consumes time and resources and should be eliminated through mechanization
where possible. Unfortunately, it is one of the best devices we have to use
for quality assurance in most shops.
Another concept is the poka-yoke. These are divided into control methods and
warning methods. Control methods shuts down processes when abnormalities
occur (misregisters monitored by an electronic device) and warning methods
(gauges showing pH factors of fountain solutions) give operators notice as
problems occur. While not heavily implanted in most print shops,
opportunities for doing things the right way do exist. A simple example of
poka-yoke is where bright stickers draw workers attention to unusual details
of a job even if the appropriate information is written on the work order.
Another would be where a part could be placed on another part in one of two
ways: the right way or the wrong way. The part, under poka-yoke, is then
redesigned so it can be placed on the other part in only one way: the correct
way. The most unused poka-yoke available to practically all shops is the
people tell me,
just won t use it.
(Besides it won t tell you the difference between
it does give you the first cut and allow you to spell
even if the customer didn t.)
***** ***** *****
Our Next Saturday Morning Power Pricing Seminar will be in Colorado Springs
on August 24th. Call (304) 342-5100 if you want to attend this FREE session.
See you there. Tom
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Waste: Most print shop owners don t understand the full implication of waste.
Sure, we understand the direct material wasted when a job is ruined as well
as the time waste of repeating the job. However, Kobayashi defines waste as
any action the customer will not eventually pay for such as transporting,
moving and restacking inventory. Or walking great distances to gather
materials for a job. Or searching for parts, negatives or old files.
Training: An unenlightened shop is a collection of
in their own
field: the press operator or the typesetter who are indispensable to the
operation for no one else can do their job. Cross training begins with work
groups. Second and third press operators being adequately trained on all
presses, not just the one they work with most of the time. Once cross
training is completed, look for opportunities to make equipment easier to
operator. Eliminate manual labor which is a form of waste. Press wash-up
equipment, for instance, eliminates some manual labor as a collator
eliminates much hand collating. Modify the work stations to allow operators
places for the tools which are needed. (My favorite ploy is to ask a press
operator for a common tool only for them to scratch their head and search for
five minutes to come up with it.)
There are many more steps in this book which have not been covered here. This
book is not written for the printing industry, so it does take some
creativity to translate the principles involved to our shop floor, but it is
worth it. We have some copies of the book available at $65 plus $5 shipping.
To order, send a fax along with your credit card to (304) 342-5187 or call
Clark at (304) 342-5100. 20 Keys to Workplace Improvement by Iwao Kobayashi
is published by Productivity Press.
Performance Groups: Our fall Performance Group which meets in Orlando is
getting full. We are planning to open another in the spring of 1997. If you
are considering joining such a group, remember that we must complete an
on-site visitation prior to your actual participation. So, it s not too early
to plan your on-site. Consideration for the meeting location for the spring
1997 new group is: California; Dallas; or Orlando. If you have an interest,
please contact Clark Workman at (304) 342-5100.
Visitations: Gonna be in the Chicagoland area much of the month, with the
exception of a jaunt out to Arizona in time to see the heat wave.
And, if you have an internet address, but are not receiving the Crouser
Report OnLine weekly, send me a message to TomCrouser@aol.com and say
It s free and it s fun. See you soon.
Always work for those who will.
adapted from James Russell Lowell s
A Glance Behind The Curtain.
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Crouser & Associates - Helping Printers Prosper Since 1985
Crouser & Associates Performance Group program includes
two on-site evaluations by Tom Crouser each year along with two group
meetings. Management training is held during the group meetings along
with participation in a meeting with non-competing printers. Join others
who have decided to run their business instead of the business running
them. Reply to by Email to Tom
Crouser for more detailed information or call Clark Workman
at (304) 342-5100. Or fax (304) 342-5187 or contact email@example.com.
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