How to Streamline Production

There's always room for improvement when it comes to workflow.

We asked 10 of Big Picture's Editorial Advisory Board members to address the current state of the wide-format industry and reveal what we should expect in 2019.

What are you currently doing or plan to do in 2019 to streamline your production process?

Chris Laniak, VP of sales, Excelsus Solutions: When we moved earlier this year, we had the ability to place equipment in the most effective, lean way possible to eliminate the wastes of motion and transportation and plan the layout for further equipment adds. We’ve been looking at new software to streamline the front end process prior to production, which we are going to be pulling the trigger on by the end of this year. Integrating software from sales to shipping is very important for a well-oiled machine to run at its top performance level. 

Elaine Scrima, VP of operations, GSP Companies: Mostly looking for ways to automate the fulfillment process. This is difficult because we rarely pack 1000 of the same thing to 1000 stores. We pack 1000 custom orders; some boxes have 300 pieces, some have 200, so that’s harder to automate. We’re also thinking of converting to an all-digital shop to overcome the low unemployment rates in some of our markets. 

Ryan Clark, president, Direct Edge Media: We’ll be launching our MIS system in the next six months that hopefully, significantly, streamlines our production process. For years, we’ve been looking for solutions to our problems and nobody could help. We’ve partnered with a software provider and really had to work with them to get them to understand what we need. We’ve also provided programing from our side because of the detail needed. Key features will be having the estimating program pick which machine will be the best fit for the job and also picking the best location to print the job. As we expand, we need to be able to bounce work to different locations around the country and not treat new locations as separate vendors.

Brian Adam, president/owner, Olympus Group: We’re focused on responsiveness – we want to turn product fast. We’ve made some significant equipment investments, not necessarily to increase total capacity but to increase our ability to respond. We are also working on building out front end automation, focusing on what we can do to process orders more quickly and get them on to press faster.

Jon Sherman, founder/creative director, Flavor Paper: We’re currently reviewing all processes and revising our operating manual in order to prepare for implementation of a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) program to increase efficiencies and cost evaluations to improve margins.

View more from this Big Picture issue