Do you know the productivity figures of your presses?

Commentary written by Lasse Krogell, NOPA

With reliable production figures you can build up improvement programmes in best cases together with the personnel. Make a long-term goal and split it into reachable steps on the ladder to the goal.

To be able to improve the operations, it is essential to know the past and current situation. Over the past ten years sheetfed offset presses have developed drastically in their potential to produce. Perhaps you have one of the newer generations of sheetfed presses, but your production figures have increased only slightly. Perhaps you think that press productivity is not the number one concern. It is the lack of jobs. By increasing the productivity, you can lover your price slightly which hopefully will fill your presses.

With the relatively short print runs we have in our region the make ready time is the key figure and the average running speed is the other important indicator. I have seen production statistics of the best printers in Europe with average make ready times under 4 minutes and running speeds of 15.000, when print runs are only 1.000 revolutions. When you have a run of 1.000 you spend 4 minutes on make ready and 4 minutes running! Then it is time for the next job. This is called industrial printing. This means that in one 8 hours shift you can print 60 jobs like this! How far are you from theses figures? I have to admit that those who can show these figures have standardized their production very clearly. Perhaps they use only one paper for example. But this just shows how the best in class perform.

Why should the printer on the press try to reach these figures, when there are only a few jobs to be printed during the shift? This is clearly a managerial challenge. Agree on a program with intermediate goals over a longer period. If the average make ready time is now 15 minutes, agree that the goal for March is 10 minutes and for August 7 minutes. Analyse together with the printer what are the obstacles to reach the goals. Is the paper to be printed on hand or does the printer have to bring it to the press from far away? Are all instructions to run the job clear and at hand? … Lean production philosophy has a bunch of tools to help here.

But back to the headline. Now when we are starting a new year it is time to start collecting all the important production figures, if you don’t already have them. From the new presses you get them directly, but with older presses figures have to be reported manually. With detailed statistics you can benchmark your figures with other printers and get valuable information about how to improve further.

Have a peaceful and pleasant Holiday Season and keep safe.