Lean Manufacturing Practices

It may be hard to believe, but over 95% of the total time it takes to process a printing order and manufacture a printed product is non-value-added. Lean thinking focuses on identifying and eliminating all kinds of waste and non-value-added activities with the goals of reducing costs, faster throughput, improved financial performance, and higher customer satisfaction. 

Operational Excellence for Printers by Printers

Waste is the dollar costs of time and materials that consume resources, but don’t add any actual value to the printed product, or result in product that is unacceptable to the customer. These waste activities must be eliminated, reduced, and integrated.

  1. Ignorance of the Current State: Lack of knowing and understanding the current state of equipment and processes; capabilities, performance, quality, and methods/techniques.
  2. Process Instability: Failure to keep equipment and processes at an essential state of reliability and performance through effective critical cares and maintaining necessary conditions
  3. Overproduction: Overproduction is when the amount produced by one process sooner or more than the next process needs or can handle. The result is large amounts of product spending long periods of time in WIP. Typical symptoms of overproduction include pulling jobs off a machine in the middle of a production run to make room for another job, production overtime that customers don’t pay for, large amounts of floor space clogged with skids of WIP, process bottlenecks, and warehouses filled with finished goods inventory.
  4. Waiting: Processes and people waiting for other processes to complete activities, the curse of downtime, machine breakdowns, defective product, and waiting on information are all non-value-added waste.
  5. Unnecessary Transporting: The time spent and extra equipment utilized to frequently valet tooling, materials, and WIP loads around the plant is non-value-added waste.
  6. Extra-Processing: The extra time spent on processing jobs due to long equipment changeover (makeready), continually quick-fixing quality-related print problems, extra actions and activities required due to poor job planning and mistakes, inadequate materials, and sudden mechanical problems from substandard press and equipment conditions.
  7. Inventory and WIP: The dollar cost of; raw materials, floor space, materials/components waiting for further processing, and warehoused finished goods waiting prior to delivery to customers then waiting for payment is waste.
  8. Motion: Includes time spent searching for and retrieving tooling and materials, process layout poor, waste from component installation and settings due to outdated technology and poor component conditions; waste from increased adjustments due to poor operation of equipment mechanisms, quick-fix quality activities due to unacceptable materials (paper, ink, coating, plates, etc.) and job components (production schedule, job tickets, and proofs, etc.), lack of poorly functioning tools, poor color management, abnormal equipment conditions, lack of teamwork and process organization.
  9. Product Defects: Time and materials wasted producing defective product. Waste from product defects includes employee time spent, materials, and equipment utilized inspecting and sorting defective product, and in identifying and handling non-conforming product.
  10. Waste of People: Includes not utilizing people’s mental, creative, and teamwork abilities. Waste through the existence of antiquated thinking, department politics, resistance to change (not invented here), fear of repercussions to new ideas from a not-invented-here culture, lack of timely feedback, poor hiring practices, and little or no investment in effective training.


Custom Training

  • On-site Lean education and training available from The Center for Technology and Research

On-site Help and Facilitation

  • Lean and Productivity Assessments
    • Determine current state of processes and workflow
    • Recommendations to slash waste, reduce downtime, solve print problems, and improve quality
  • Value-Stream Mapping
    • Identify waste in the value stream
    • Find the constraint process
    • Identify where to target system improvements
  • 5S:  Sort ® Straighten ® Shine ® Standardize ® Sustain
    • Achieve clean and organized processes
    • Implement visual management systems
  • Quick-Response Makeready
    • Quick Changeover—Single Minute Exchange of Die
    • Implement 5S quick changeover
    • Streamline changeover procedures and methods 
  • Total Production Maintenance (TPM)
    • Maintenance and Critical cares
    • Pit Stop Maintenance
    • Achieve the official Print Production Excellence Accreditation certificate

For more information and to schedule a consultation, contact Printing Industries of America 412-259-1710, or consulting@printing.org.

Published on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 (updated 04/30/2015)