Insider Insight: Streamlining Print Production
Industry experts talk bottlenecks on the shop floor.
We asked seven of Big Picture's Editorial Advisory Board members to respond to the current state of the wide-format industry and reveal what we should expect in 2018.
Big Picture: What is the largest bottleneck on your shop floor? And what are you doing to help streamline your print process?
Scott Crosby, VP Sales and Marketing, Holland & Crosby: Our largest bottleneck continues to be our finishing department. With print technology moving to “breakneck” speeds, the bottleneck happens at the cutting and assembly stages. We continue to look for improvements in speed and automation to increase throughput. We have just purchased an automatic stacker for one of our digital cutters to have “lights out” production.
Kirk Green, President/CEO, Ferrari Color: Our bottleneck is shifting materials and changeovers. Our solution is batching projects.
Carmen Rad, Founderpreneur, CR&A Custom: Getting the print output volume to match finishing. We have added automated cutting systems to alleviate some of that.
Jared Smith, CEO, bluemedia: Quality control (QC): We don’t have time at the end of production, and QC at every step is not working anymore, either. Our automated scheduling system with integrated RIP is working well, but we have real QC initiatives on our plate now. Doing something twice creates more than bottlenecks.
Mark Taylor, COO/Senior VP, GFX International: Traditionally, our bottlenecks have shifted from area to area due to capacity limitations. As we grow, the bottleneck shifts either upstream or downstream. Recent bottlenecks have occurred in our job processing area, related to gathering and communicating specifications to our manufacturing departments in a timely manner. We implemented a new automation to streamline this activity and, as projected, the bottleneck moved to the graphics department that now needs to process files at an increased pace to keep up with the jobs being entered into the system.