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The LEAN (and clean) pressroom

Oct 1, 2009 12:00 AM


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In my 51 years in this industry, I have seen the best and the worst pressrooms that exist in this and several other countries. With these economic times, there is great interest in going lean in the pressroom. Implement a 5S program first.

The plant should be free of unwanted items — clean, organized, no tool more than 15 seconds away from where it is needed, a place for everything and everything in its place. I know it can be done because I have seen it and have helped plants do it.

If you do not want to clean up the plant, forget about lean. I have watched 30 plants commit to lean practices and fail at the first step. It begins with your desk or work area. Recently I was in a plant, passed by the plant manger's office and, after seeing the mess, wondered how he could clean up the plant. I am pleased to say that the plant is spotless today and he began by cleaning his office and car first.

The first ‘S’ is Sort

Printers are pack rats. We like to save everything and keep it forever because someday we might use it. Now, my mother would call that clutter and she would tell me to get rid of it. Red tagging items is a good way to start. If you do not need it, sell it, give it away, recycle it or scrap it. Next, is the item in the right place and working properly?

There is a lot of information available on doing a 5S program. The cost is small and it can have a major impact on the firm.


Raymond J. Prince is a leading expert in pressroom technical and operational issues. He is vice president and senior consultant, operations management, NAPL (Paramus, NJ). Contact him at (605) 941-1492 or e-mail rprince@napl.org.