New "Lean Printing" Blog
Tom Southworth has often commented here as “LeanPrinter.” He now has his own blog focusing on applying Lean methods to the printing world.
Welcome to the lean blogosphere, Tom!
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The print community has been slow, very slow in accepting Lean or any new business model for that matter. I call it the “Gutenberg Effect” – nothing seems to have changed for 500 years!
Just look at the numbers. According to one of the industry’s leading associations more than 7,500 printing facilties – large and small – have closed in the last 8 years and thousands more are expected before this decade is out.
High inventories, overcapacity, long lead times, cut throat pricing, outsourcing to the Far East and India – the print industry needs to shake itself out of its old school “more is better” ways and embrace Lean.
Finally, I have been waiting for a something dealing with lean, continuous improvement and the printing industry.
There are others out there – just not well publicized. I have links to a few other graphics blogs on my site, as well as links to several industry trade magazines where you might catch the occassional article or two. It seems print companies (at least the top management of the companies) are too fascinated with the latest toys, bells, and whistles and too convinced that the latest gadget or multi-million dollar add-on is the only route to productivity and cost control – hence the heavy debt many of them now carry.
Label & Narrow Web’s current issue has a lengthy article on Continuous Improvement success stories from several US label converters and I’ve linked to the story in one of the postings.
There’s also a research paper from RIT titled “Lean Manufacturing in Small and Medium Sized Printers” written back in late 2004. I know it’s old, but still relevant – it seems as if nothing’s changed since this was written.
You can find the paper at: http://print.rit.edu/pubs/picrm200404.pdf , and please feel free to post comments on the Lean Printing blog about any topics you’d like to see addressed.