Which Magazine Printers are the Best Quality Printers?
This is obviously a critical question for publishers looking to find a reliable and hassle-free printing partner. To help answer that question, in this series, I will reveal four critical factors you can use as a guide when touring a prospective printing facility. Without getting into the details of any specific quality methodology, these four factors are “key indicators” that any quality program is “alive-and-well.” However, if these factors are missing, you have good reason to be concerned. The four critical factors are…Discipline, Technology, Corrective Action, and Employee Involvement.
I start with “DISCIPLINE” because discipline is the foundation of all quality processes or programs. Without this foundation, it doesn’t really matter what quality methodology your printer tries to follow…the results are sure to be disappointing and very short-lived. Fortunately, the most telling evidence that your printer has is a culture of discipline is actually very easy to uncover, and it is something most people recognize at first glance – “Cleanliness and Organization.”
Simply stated, if your prospective printer lacks the necessary discipline to keep their presses clean, work stations and tools organized, floors swept, etc., they have zero chance of ever implementing and sustaining a rigorous quality program, period! The symptoms show up as…quality standards and procedures that are written but not followed, manufacturing teams that cut corners and often miss the details, and service teams that are deficient in communication and follow-through. A printing facility without discipline – is a printing facility without accountability!
Discipline is established in baby steps, and I have found that focusing on “Cleanliness and Organization” is a great first step. The reasons… it is a goal and focus that is easy to communicate across all levels of the facility, most team members already have the wherewithal to make it happen, and it is easy to recognize success or failure. Once you have conquered the discipline of cleanliness and organization, you can then move on and tackle bigger projects like quality programs.
Printers that take “Plant Organization and Cleanliness” to the next level, implement a methodology by the name of 5S. The five S’s stand for Sorting, straightening, shining, standardizing, and sustaining. A methodology akin to what we affectionately call “spring cleaning.” In every work area…you de-junk and get rid of everything that isn’t necessary, then you organize by having a place for everything and everything it its place, then you clean sway all the dirt. After that, the final two steps insure the changes are enduring.
In summary, discipline is the first factor you should look for when choosing a quality printer –whether you’re looking to print postcards, magazines, flyers or anything else–and it’s the best key indicator is plant “Cleanliness and Organization.” This factor alone does not guarantee quality – but I can assure you – if cleanliness and organization are missing, consistent quality will be missing as well!
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