By Mark Porter
I was recently present at a Finisher's plant when a job went wrong and the management team gathered to add up the potential costs that could result from this mistake. It was freightening.
Before starting with the Post Press Industry some 13 years ago I was on the printing side of the business and although mistakes were obviously a concern the risk seemed less because the printer controlled almost all costs - material and labor.
Even to the point that on the rare occassions when the printers were asked to print on customer supplied paper the printer would always add some cost per C.Wt or per M.Sheets to cover his risk.
The post press industry, as you are well aware, is a different story. Last in the production processes, extremely tight deadlines and handling jobs that can already have tens of thousands of dollars of materials and labor invested in them. The post press company could be adding a service worth a minimum amount to a job of tremendous value. If that jobs goes wrong the finisher must replace the entire job.
Obviously post press companies have developed checks and balances that prevent alot of mistakes - plus I have meet several of the most detail oriented people ever in this industry but what else can we do to lessen risk.
1. Cover Risk
Estimating - should account for jobs of extrardinary risk. Should the sell value to drill a simple 8 pp self cover black and white book on 80lb text be the same as an 8 page 6 color book on very expensive paper. Probably not.
2. Increase Communications
The greater the communications between employees and customers the lesser the chance of mistakes. Tools such as:
Customer Profiles - Record all aspects of how customers want there jobs produced and provide 24/7 access to this information to all employees.
Electronic Orders - Information is always instantly distributed to all employees and you don't have to worry about employees working from old information.
Detailed Job Notes - Electronically attached to the Job Bag these allow you to describe every form to ensure proper production.
Problem History - Describe problems and solutions previously experienced with jobs. If a job is rerun then be automatically notified of problems you had last time.
Emails - Constant and instant communication between the customer and your employees will ensure that jobs are produced correctly.
Order Confirmation - Confirms specs of jobs that were entered into Order Entry and emailed to customer to shift responsibility back to customer.
Job Changes - are documented and distributed instantly to your customer and plant employees to increase quality and reduce mistakes.
3. Maximize Production Time with Each Job
Many mistakes happen when things are rushed. The more time we can have with a job in our possesion the less chance of Production mistakes. A super critical job can be run on the day shift rather than the afternoon shift to meet the deadline.
Received Goods Notification - As soon as goods are received at your receiving dock production is notified. There is no loss of time.
Check counts and quality of sheets received. Don't get blamed for short counts or damaged sheets that could result in you having to reprint part of the job.
Die Management - can warn you if dies need sharpening before the job gets to production. No longer does a job have to wait while a die is being re tooled or does a job have to be removed from a press half way through a production run because the die needs retooling.
Post Press companies will always take on risk - it is the nature of the business but are you doing everything possible to limit this risk.