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Sat, Sep

Time to call in the experts

Time to call in the experts

 DIY is all well and good but sometimes you need outside expertise. Vision in Print provides just that via its business improvement programme which gives you the framework to build a more streamlined and efficient business.

Want to dramatically increase your operational effectiveness and profitability plus improve staff moral without devoting too much time and cash in the process? According to Vision in Print (ViP) its business improvement programme can help do just that. No matter what size or make-up of your print operation, ViP will lend a helping hand via a series of modular-based programmes that won't break the bank.

To ensure you embark on the right module every business first undertakes a one or two day Snapshot diagnostic (costing ?350 per day), whereby ViP engineers work with you and your team to identify the most appropriate course of action. The first programme following this Snapshot costs ?795 per day (with further programmes costing ?895 per day).

Specifically designed for companies with up to 25 staff is a five-day Modular Improvement Programme, devised for minimum impact upon cashflow and resources. Initially ViP engineers will work with employees from key areas of the business to identify the biggest issues in terms of cost, quality, delivery and flexibility. Simple techniques will be put in place to define and solve problems and track benefits. There will be a focus on the importance of team work and standardisation of processes to lock improvements in place - and communication throughout the workforce of subsequent improvements to profitability will be stressed.

Although this is a five-day programme it is stretched out over three months to provide the greatest flexibility within small companies. Between each session team members will implement actions to measure, trial and standardise suggested solutions. Every session will conclude with feedback to managers and rough-cut calculations of the benefits seen.

Obviously the content of the programme depends on specific company requirements, but to give you an example of core issues tackled the main focal points include: materials waste reduction, machine efficiency, production planning and key performance measures.

Companies employing 25-50 are likely to be directed towards Kickstart. This builds on the priorities identified through the Snapshot diagnostic, instilling best practice as a matter of course. During the programme ViP engineers will teach participants how to work as a close team to successfully implement changes. The low intensive workshops take place in three phases adding up to a total of five days. The first day focuses on diagnostics with a three week gap before a three-day targeted improvement workshop. Four weeks later there is a one-day follow-up.

During the course ViP engineers coach cross-functional teams of four to six people (normally comprising a mix of management and shop floor staff) in using best practice tools and techniques. According to ViP many Kickstart teams have worked like this to improve existing processes and to find new ways to solve old problems.

During the first day the engineer will explain the concepts of best practice to staff and outline the benefits the business can expect in terms of improved efficiencies and cost savings. ViP will also help implement the collection of data and information that the team needs for the next stage of the programme. At this point the make-up of the teams for the workshop phase are also decided - the onus being on having a multi-functional skill-set on each team.

The three-day workshop combines hands-on activities by team, plus teaching on how to use tools developed specifically to help printers address productivity and competitiveness issues. The ViP engineer will lead the programme but much of the actual decision making will be left to the staff to make it more engaging and empowering.

At every stage of the workshop, the ViP engineer will work with the teams to establish a revised procedure for the process under scrutiny. The outcome should be an improved way of working that is both standardised and documented so that future deviations can be quickly identified, qualified and put right.

The final follow-up day sees the ViP engineer helping the staff to review, measure and quantify the progress made. At this point plans can also be made to roll out the learning elsewhere in the business for sustainable improvement.

For larger companies (those that employ 50 - 100) MasterClass Lite has been developed. This shopfloor based improvement plan takes place over a period of months and comprises all the key elements of ViP's flagship Masterclass programme but adapted for a smaller team with a reduced time commitment.

It works in a similar way to Kickstart but with some noticeable differences. For a start, it takes 12 days in total instead of five, and is broken down into more parts as that timescale suggests. An initial consultation day is followed by a management awareness day with a four to six weeks gap before a three-day diagnostic phase. There's a space of another three to four weeks before a one-day groundwork visit from ViP and the same period space again before a four-day practical workshop. There is then a four to six week gap before the first of two follow-up visits, the last one taking place another four to six weeks later.

ViP says businesses that have embarked upon this programme have seen a real improvement in their response to customer demands as well as productivity and efficiency benefits.

ViP runs a wide selection of business improvement courses alongside those mentioned above (see panel) but these are the main 'building blocks'. However, another worth highlighting is Team Leader Training - a print specific training course run by ViP engineers together with BPIF Training. This is a modular eight-and-a-half day course aimed at managers, supervisors and shift leaders and covers motivation and delegation as well as how to manage efficiently. It also looks at how to resolve conflict and understanding basic employment law. Process modules include how departmental performance relates to company success and waste reduction methods.

The course is made up of four modules of two-days each, delivered over several months, with a half-day follow-up on site at your own place of work. Contact ViP or BPIF Training for course 2010 dates and locations.

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