Prof. Miles Southworth is best known for his books Color Separation Techniques and Pocket Guide to Color Reproduction. He also co-authored with Donna Southworth How to Implement Total Quality Management. In 1985 he was named Director of the School of Printing at RIT. He has been a member of TAGA since 1964.
Vera & Giannini Impresores pioneered a circular economy and a transformation from the traditional manufacturing model.
My experience in the mid-90s was the impact and rapid transformation from a traditional packaging company to a highly productive Manufacturing Model by implementing Lean.
At Vera & Giannini Impresores, a company owned by two brothers founded in 1939, it grew to control the entire manufacturing process of packaging from the board manufacturing, printing, and finishing to supply over forty percent of the domestic market in Chile.
Mr. Vera introduced since the beginning a circular economy as he believes it was environmentally sound and that marketing and gains of finished products were highly affected by the market price of raw materials.
After being directly involved in installing the second Komori press, start-up and provided operators training, he hired me to elevate the technical knowledge of their staff in the pressroom, thinking there was the source of inefficiencies of the production line.
In a matter of weeks, we realized that the entire organization need it an organizational overhaul. I stayed on and led the changes by introducing lean manufacturing methodology and a custom-designed MIS system named TGM (Tiempo General de Máquina), which offered a remarkable picture of where the time went and showed the sources of inefficiencies accurately. From there on, things changed forever at the company.
Aligned with Mr. Vera's vision, we reduced VOC in the pressroom by switching gasoline to VARN environmentally friendly cleaning products.
The introduction of Alcohol-free fountain solutions developed and manufactured locally by Chemical Engr. Gloria Gutierrez Nuñez of Quimica Chile
was a great success.
The immediate results were a compounded process and raw materials waste reduction from over twenty percent to a single figure within six months.
The organization reached unprecedented productivity levels comparable or superior to European organizations of the same industry sector. We double the production throughput within six months with the same manufacturing equipment.
This efficiency milestone resulted from combining effective operators' training with a preventive planned maintenance program. We transformed traditional disruptive corrective technical support into preventative maintenance during the initial phase.
It is important to note that these improvements and productivity records achieved didn't involve speeding up printing, die-cutting or finishing equipment or layoffs.
The strategies used focused on enhancing workflow and training focused on the process, discipline, empowerment on self-reliance, and constant motivational support by solid leadership.
The procedures used concentrated on improving make-ready methods, empowerment to problem-solving, organized just in time raw materials delivery to the production lines, along planned preventive equipment maintenance
and an accurate colour matching system to avoid colour adjustments on press.
Lessons in China.
Later on, while travelling in China with Prof. Southworth with a group of experts in the graphic arts industry, I further strengthened my knowledge and understanding of manufacturing processes. It challenges and impacts well-designed workflows, process control and management, KPIs and technologies, productivity and waste reduction possibilities, and scalability potential.
The trip to China was a unique opportunity for me and a small group of representatives of a few companies of the Graphic Arts Industry from Europe, the Middle East, Japan, and the USA, interested in establishing future business development ventures in China.
Anton Rodi, Heidelberg R&D, showing Chinese Directors a German printed magazine. China.
A well-organized and sponsored by the International Ambassador's Program, People-to-People. The first time China open the doors to foreigners to visit manufacturing printing facilities without restrictions and meet with management teams in large cities.
Sharon L. Gray, Intl. Buz Developer of Shorewood Packaging, shares knowledge with SME management team members. China.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower created in 1956 the People-to-People International Foundation to enhance international understanding and friendship through educational, cultural, and humanitarian activities involving exchanging ideas and experiences between people of diverse cultures.
The Chinese Graphic Arts Industry in the '90s
We learned on the trip firsthand about the manufacturing processes in the graphic arts industry in China. We understood the eagerness of Chinese leadership and awareness of the potential of building business relationships with western companies to have access to technologies, know-how, and resources to move ahead faster on their development strategy by using their industrial capacity.
We visited several large manufacturing Printing State Enterprises of different industry segments, such as food, luxury packaging, and Pharma for domestic and export products. Also commercial, bookmakers, and publication in many cities, known as SME (small-to-medium enterprises). Witnessed process management quickly evolving within the Chinese industrial traditional settings.
Lean Manufacturing is welcome in China.
Lean Manufacturing practices have been adopted in China based on research in the heavy and automotive Industry long before the European and American companies.
Yet, organizational structures and workflow in the Graphic Arts Industry followed the European and American guidelines. Later on, I realize industrial cooperation between China and Japan substantially impacted their organizations by Japanese industrial work style.
In China in the 90s, the printing industries' production processes were relatively simple and low-tech. Most of the equipment didn't calculate its capability or automatically detected abnormalities. It was evident that the management pushed the human aspect of manufacturing processes to the maximum of their capabilities due to the lack of technology and automation and reduced labour costs. They understood that cooperation and coordination positively lead to process efficiency and better quality of products and services.
We noticed management team members at different levels kept Manufacturing and production's KPIs and logged entries by hand. Although rustic, process data collected used metrics based on Dr. Ishikawa's problem-solving tools.
SME directors and workers in China.
We met and directly talked with management teams in formal and informal meetings at these large printing factories. We engaged in discussions where our questions and their openness and informative nature quickly shaped our understanding of a nation moving fast and preparing to build the industry foundations for the twenty-first century.