The best way for printing companies to grow is not by increasing head count, but by striving for zero waste through Value Stream Mapping, continuously analyzing and improving processes. Just ask Data Image Group, a UK-based company specialized in wide-format and high-volume print and POS materials. Interviewed by Image Reports, Managing Director of Data Image Group Robert Farfort discusses the company’s Value Stream Mapping journey in collaboration with Esko, and the results it has yielded so far:
“One of the biggest impacts has been on information flow. The thing is, people have an issue with investing in their business in terms of information and software because it doesn’t make them anything. But we’re convinced that long-term it will have a massive impact.”
What is Value Stream Mapping?
Value Stream Mapping (VSM) focuses on a company’s value creation workflow, exposing waste and delays based on real numbers and insights gathered from employees, and revealing opportunities to improve productivity and throughput. VSM considers the workflow a system of steps and activities which are all connected in one way or another, helping executives to establish a long-term zero waste strategy rather than undertaking singular actions. Or, as Esko’s Director of R&D Frank Adegeest puts it:
“VSM forces you to think holistically. There’s no point in creating islands of success in a sea of waste.”
6 areas where large format printers can reduce waste
Large format printers who, like Data Image Group, choose to embark on a VSM journey can come across at least six areas where they can significantly reduce waste:
- The approval cycle: designing in 3D reduces the number of physical samples needed, so customers can view exact representations of the final product.
- Preflighting: a fully automated prepress workflow allows operators to simply drop files into hotfolders and send them directly to the press without the risk of errors, as preflighting is done automatically.
- CAD design: lacking in-house CAD skills needn’t be an issue for POP display designers, thanks to ArtiosCAD Display Store, which offers downloadable POP display designs.
- Production control: following a job’s movement through the entire floor is a time-consuming, not to mention a prone-to-error task. So why not let Esko’s Device Manager take care of things for you?
- Operating cutting tables: Esko’s Shared Resources (a part of the i-cut Production Console) increases cutter throughput by 10 percent, analyzing incoming cut files and automating table set ups and tool choices, according to parameters decided by the operators.
- Shipping: why spend precious time getting orders to fit on pallets when there are software solutions like Cape Pack that can take care of that in a flash?
Hungry for more? Read all about reducing prepress costs the smart way.