Graph Expo 2011 Edition
· 25
We’ve created a web-to-print system that enables
our customers to order their own materials from a pre-
established menu of approximately 160 forms. That’s a
pretty big menu, but since it’s all preprogrammed and
established, we have virtually no operator involvement. The
JDF information about the job follows it through the printing
and finishing process. Everything flows quicker. There’s no
need for operators to run new setups for every new order. It’s
very intelligent… and pretty cool when you think about how
the software and the machines are talking and getting the
jobs done.
This process has allowed us to break into the financial
services and pharmaceuticals markets in a big way.
How long ago did you develop this workflow… and is it
off-the-shelf software or something that you developed
here yourself?
We started building this in 2006 and built it through
with one specific vertical market and customer in mind.
We took it to that customer, and a beautiful thing happened:
the customer estimated—on their own—that we saved
them $500,000 a year in costs. Not in printing costs—but
in their way of doing business, in their processes to get their
order in to a printer.
We did it to reduce costs on our end, but it ended up saving
the customer money, too.
Any other thoughts about how your colleagues can
cut costs?
One of the other ways to cut costs involves paper.
The paper manufacturers don’t like me saying it, but paper
is one of our big costs. What we’ve been able to do is put
our papers on consignment. We eliminated the broad scope
of papers we had, which allowed us to go to a consignment
program with the paper manufacturers. So now we can run
a job on the first of the month, but I don’t have to pay the
invoice for 60 days. It allows me to get my money in first
and then pay them, not vice versa.
To do that, though, you have to manage your papers. You
really have to start controlling how many papers you’re
offering to your customer base.
How are the results of this cost cutting?
Excellent. Automation has enabled us to reduce
steps down to four. And with all the technology we’ve
added and all of the capabilities, our labor costs are down
from 35–38 percent to an 18–22 percent range in the
digital operation now. And sales are up 28 percent. Through
automation, all of our costs are down, so cash flow has
really improved. There are a lot of great ways to cut costs
out there.
Automation has enabled Ai to reduce 28 steps down to four.
Labor costs are down from 35 percent to about 20 percent.
Ai uses value stream mapping to identify opportunities for
automation. These posters hang throughout the print shop,
reminding employees of the mapping process.