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Lean Manufacturing: Slim Your Waste

February 2008 by Ken Rizzo
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For the last several years, Lean Manufacturing has been growing in the printing and packaging industries. PIA/GATF started presenting Quick Changeover training to printers and packaging companies starting in 1993 and implementing Total Production Maintenance starting in 1998. The problem printers have had with Lean is they have felt there are too many variables and that Lean applies to manufacturers that make widgets or automobiles. However, appeals for improving process efficiency in the printing industry date back to 1914 in articles in local printing trade publications. Lean Manufacturing is all about cost and money, so printing and packaging managers must first understand Lean’s perspective of waste.

Traditionally, the printing and packaging industries have looked at waste in terms of paper and substrate makeready waste, running waste, and roll waste. Consequently, printing and packaging managers typically start to look at lead time when a job enters initial production steps, such as making proofs or plates, or starting makeready on press.

Lean Manufacturing, however, looks at everything in terms of lead time of the value stream. A value stream is the time and cost of all materials and processing actions and activities that are required, starting when raw materials are delivered to the plant and continuing through the final converted product being delivered to the customer and payment received.

Throughout the value stream for folding carton operations, for example, there are two types of issues and activities that occur: value-added and non-value-added. Value-added (VA) activities are process actions that actually add value by converting the form, fit, and/or function of materials and parts into printed package products. For example, VA for a folding carton producer would include the actions of printing, cutting, folding and gluing, packaging the folding cartons, and shipment to the customer. The customer pays for and specifies VA activities. Typical VA times to produce and ship one item for a folding carton job (sheet/carton) are shown in Table 1.

Non-value-added (NVA) activities are process actions that consume resources but don’t add any value to the product, or even worse, result in product that is unacceptable to the customer. Plain and simple, NVA activities are considered waste.

Waste can be placed in eight categories from the Lean perspective, depicted by the acronym DOWNTIME (Table 2).

• Defective product—Product that is unacceptable and that customers will not pay for;

• Overproduction—Producing quicker, sooner, and more than the next process or customer needs or can handle;
 
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Most Recent Comments:
Bob Manzella - Posted on February 28, 2008
I have a question about the info. on Table 1. You have calculated the cycle time for one piece thru the printing, cutting, and gluing activities, but it appears that packaging is not broken down to the piece. I can't imagine it taking 10 minutes to package one piece. Is this correct? Or should the 600 seconds be divided by the pieces per job?
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Archived Comments:
Bob Manzella - Posted on February 28, 2008
I have a question about the info. on Table 1. You have calculated the cycle time for one piece thru the printing, cutting, and gluing activities, but it appears that packaging is not broken down to the piece. I can't imagine it taking 10 minutes to package one piece. Is this correct? Or should the 600 seconds be divided by the pieces per job?