February 20, 2019 | Amanda Flower

A Deeper Dive Into Improving Pressroom Efficiency

In my previous post, I broke down what Overall Equipment Effectiveness (O.E.E) is and taking the first step to improving your equipment O.E.E. to make your pressroom more efficient.

The following blog focuses on the “easy” improvements you should already have in place and an experiment you can conduct with your pressroom team to see where further improvements can be made.

What can you be doing to make improvements to your pressroom efficiency?

First, start with the easy improvements if you aren’t already doing these. I like to think of pressroom enhancements like picking fruit from a tree. The fruit from the lowest branches is the easiest to pick. Start to improve your pressroom efficiencies with the “low hanging fruit” if you haven’t already. Below I’ve listed some of these processes to have set up in your pressroom.

The “Low Hanging Fruit” Pressroom Improvements:

    • Jobs are staged “in order” at each press for ease of access
    • Plates are delivered to presses mounted, straight, and positioned on the cylinder correctly
    • Press operators are NOT mounting their own plates
    • The ink technician is delivering all inks to your presses and they are color matched before being staged at the press
    • Materials that are staged at the press are clearly labeled with job number and steps

Once you have the straightforward pressroom improvements in place, you can move on to one of my favorite pressroom efficiency exercises. Set up a video camera in your pressroom and record some make readies. While watching, notice the small things that can add to time inefficiencies. For example, how many times did the operator walks the length of the press and back? What is used to store press side tools? How much time does it take your operators to find a needed tool? What is the length of time it takes to find the needed components for the job or the number of times the operator had to leave the press to retrieve something?

These videos will reveal specific occurrences that you would normally fail to see as inefficiencies individually. It is also a great way to show team progress in improving their pressroom processes. Watch them with your team to figure out why the time inefficiencies happen and what the team can do to reduce them. Remember, the point of the team reviews is to find your starting point, using this information to find the problems and then putting in place a process to fix them. The pressroom team should all be apart of these reviews and work together to agree about what steps to put in place to create a standard work process. You’ll be amazed at what the little improvements to your pressroom process will do to increase overall efficiency.

About the Author

Dr. Flexo (Bill Enright, Senior Applications Engineer at Mark Andy) has been in the printing industry for over 30 years, serving in a variety of different roles from plate mounting to operations management. Bill has earned his doctorate in printing. Throughout the years, he’s learned the quality of a print job is only as good as the consumables that go into it.

Has your team done an exercise similar to the one described above? What process improvements did your team make? Let us know in the comments.