Prof. Malcolm Keif :”It is impossible to maintain a lean environment unless one takes the colour-matching process off-line”

At drupa 2012, Print Proof Solutions and GSE Dispensing demonstrated their vision for integrated lean ink management in package printing.

Two senior academics and specialists in lean management workflows, Prof. Malcolm Keif  and Prof. Kevin Cooper provided advice for packaging printers on how to drive waste from the workflow and adopt lean production methods during a seminar held at our drupa stand.

Prof. Keif and Prof. Cooper, from the Graphic Communication Department of the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, USA , have researched and published extensively on lean management.

Professor Cooper, a professor of graphic communication, said: "We think lean management is portable and applicable to every industry. Printers too are driven to look for leaner production methods because of the increasingly competitive conditions facing their industry right now."

"Lean management is principled on two foundational items: continuous improvement and respect for people," Cooper added. "Both of these are focused on finding ways to create value and to drive waste out of the business. To make printers more competitive at a time when printing runs are getting shorter, we think it is critical to adopt lean principles, reduce setup times and be focused on customer value, to remain competitive in printing."

Malcolm Keif, who specialises in flexography, quality management, lean thinking and printed electronics, explained that good colour management has an important role to play in the lean manufacturing environment: "So much of the preparation time is dedicated to colour-matching on press. We know of job changeovers taking over an hour because of the efforts needed for ink toning and getting the right match for a spot colour. It is impossible to maintain a lean environment unless one takes the colour-matching process off-line. The printer must aim to get the perfect colour-match on the first attempt after starting up the press. A robust process is needed to ensure colour perfection. GSE Dispensing and Print Proof Solutions bring that to the table with its dispensing systems, ink management software and proofing systems."