RSA offers a quarterly "Build a Better In-plant Tips newsletter," to email subscribers. By special request, we are offering our most recent issue as a blog post. To receive our quarterly tips to help you build a better in-plant, sign up today. This quarter, Keypoint Intelligence/ InfoTrends' Pat McGrew offers three tips for workflow resolutions to make in 2018. And speaking of new years resolutions, you'll want to read our white paper, "The 9AM Workflow Quizzes." Written by Pat McGrew for us, it offers three quizzes to assess your workflow and identify where you can improve. Start this new year off right with an efficient workflow!
- Audit Your Workflow. This recommendation comes up frequently because it is the fastest path to understanding bottlenecks and identifying the low-hanging fruit in optimizing your production processes. To meet the goal of this resolution the audit has to be managed as a high-priority task that includes a time frame, who is accountable, and a plan for following through once the audit is completed.
To execute, you want to follow the path of each type of job you regularly produce, from the point where the job is acquired and on-boarded to the point it is delivered to the client. If you have process maps or other documents that define your current workflows, use them as a guide and note the variations by each type of job. If existing documentation is limited, draw the maps as you go along and note each touchpoint. When you have walked the workflow of your primary jobs you should have identified common bottlenecks.
Use your follow up time to review the bottlenecks and look for the best solutions for your operation. Don't forget to document any changes you make!
- Review Your Installed Software. Over time the servers tend to fill with software acquired to meet pressing needs and long term strategies. Updates, patches, and install packages take up more space, and long dormant software vies for space with mission critical software.
It is never easy to decide to de-install software. There is always the chance that there is once-a-year job that might use it. But each program product takes up space and has weight on the system. Start the new year by reviewing all installed software to determine if it is being used in production. Make a plan to archive off software that is no longer part of the production workflow, and remember to look for installation packages and update packages, which may be hiding in directories.
Once you have reviewed the server, don't forget to run through the same process with individual desktops and laptops used throughout the print shop.
- Add Continuing Education to Your Schedule. Everyone in the print shop knows their job and does their best every day to ensure that all of the work promised is delivered, but that doesn't mean that there isn't always a bit of room for improvement. In some print organizations the idea of cross training team members as back up resources is new and untried. 2018 is a great to time pilot some cross training.
You may uncover some new stars in your team. You might also add or expand monthly Lunch-and-Learn events by bringing in your vendors or consultants in to help everyone understand the features, functions and opportunities available in the software they use every day. In the rush of getting work in and out there is often no time to dig into new features brought by regular maintenance updates or upgrades. A convivial lunch with some knowledge sharing can bring everyone up-to-speed and add to the inter-shop networking.
Don't forget to test your shop against industry best practices
With the 9AM Workflow Quizzes you will build a better understanding of your workflow health and learn to identify a path for resolving issues.
Contact RSA for additional tips or to discuss how you can implement and benefit from these tips.