Tue, Jun

Waste is a waste!

Waste is a waste!

Reduce your waste and improve your margins. Vision in Print director Richard Gray explains how you can make significant savings.

Vision in Print (ViP) has worked with almost 500 printers in the UK so far to reduce waste material, time and labour - positive for the bottom line as well as the environment. Given that the cost of waste ranges from 4-16% of a typical printer's turnover, putting a reduction policy into place can pay significant dividends.

Drawing on ViP's experience director Richard Gray says many printers miss out through not measuring waste key performance indicators (KPIs) and keeping tight controls thereafter. With that in mind he points out key considerations:

.    Do you know how much waste substrate your business produces? ViP has measured an average substrate wastage rate of around 17%, within a range of 7-33% (calculated by comparing the tonnage of waste with that of substrate purchased).

.    Have you reviewed your firm's policy on overs allowances? How much waste is planned into the job? There is a balance to be struck between the cost of building in overs and the risk of a reprint on short jobs; is that balance right?

.    Is there awareness of the cost of materials? Staff may be surprised at the cost and take extra care. Be aware of the total cost - low cost but poor quality material can have an unrecognised but significant impact on productivity.  

.    Do you know what your recycling rate is?  Printers can achieve recycling rates in the range 70-90% if they are using recyclable substrates. Regular measurement can help to ensure high rates are maintained. You will obtain higher prices if you segregate your waste.

In ViP's experience companies applying the above steps can save one percent of turnover by reducing waste of raw materials, energy costs, disposal costs and diverting waste from landfill. Achieving this puts you in a great position to develop best environmental practice as well as effective lean processes.

More broadly, lean techniques are capable of saving money fast by making opportunities and problems visible and then involving employees to find and apply solutions. To succeed, managers must lead, develop and apply appropriate measures and ensure that employees are motivated and educated to investigate root causes and apply error-proof processes.

Perceived shortage of space often leads to cramped, inefficient layouts with excessive and unnecessary transport and warehouse costs.  Train employees and then enforce 5C/5S workplace organisation to release large floor areas for other uses or avoidance of unnecessary building rental. Space savings of up to 40% are common.  

Reduce cash and space by using Value Stream Mapping to analyse material flow and reduce unnecessary stocks of raw material, work-in-progress and finished goods. Working capital and lead times can be reduced by more than 30%.

Reduce waste on key equipment productivity by recording and analysing causes of downtime and under performance. Don't wait to implement complex shopfloor data collection IT - start using simple hand written records and then involve employees using structured problem solving techniques such to minimise makeready times, increase running speeds and improve equipment reliability. Productivity increases of 25% are frequently possible without major capital expenditure.

Waste and delivery problems often start in the office. Measuring the number of work orders that are incorrect or missing information, leading to delays and quality problems, is invariably illuminating. Involve a team from all departments to process-map and then streamline administrative processes.  Without significantly upgrading IT systems, the number of administrative steps for a typical commercial printer can usually be reduced 30% with increased work-order accuracy and reduced lead times.

For more detailed information on how to cut waste email richard.gray@visioninprint.co.uk or go to visioninprint.co.uk.

Free and easy

If you run a small print company in London you have the chance to gain an environmental accreditation that is fully-funded, straightforward and hassle-free. This is because the BPIF has been successful in a bid to create a print and publishing sector investment programme called 'EcoPrint London'. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is a Solutions for Business product.

The aim of the programme is to provide print and publishing SME's in all the London boroughs with an opportunity to get involved in environmental activities and for some to achieve environmental accreditations. If you are one of the many for whom the cost of implementing an environmental standard is both time and cost prohibitive, this route is worth considering given that without environmental credentials it can be difficult getting onto, and then staying on, customers preferred supplier lists.

The BPIF has partnered with Carbon Smart, a leading environmental and sustainability specialist, to provide environmental support to London printers. It will provide a company with a robust environmental policy to present to clients as well as a measured carbon footprint and environmental action plan. The company will be certified as a Carbon Smart business - the fastest growing environmental award in the UK.

Participants will receive a Carbon Smart completion pack including certificate, artwork and guidance on communicating their green credentials to their customers and will be able to display the Carbon Smart award on their website, stationery etc.

A limited number of companies will also be able to get consultancy support towards achieving ISO 14001 or FSC/PEFC accreditation on a first come first served basis
The process is simple:

.    A half day site visit from a Carbon Smart consultant to measure the company's carbon footprint and identify energy and resource inefficiencies

.    A training workshop to equip the company with the skills and knowledge to take practical steps to reduce energy and resource costs and promote   environmental credentials to win more business 

.    Help to implement an Environmental Policy and Action Plan that will improve environmental credentials and enable to achieve re-certification

.    Access to on-site consultancy support to get a company ready for ISO14001 or FSC/PEFC accreditation

Over 200 businesses have already achieved the Carbon Smart award, which has been running for the last four years. The ERDF funding will help companies achieve the Carbon Smart Blue Award, however, they will then have the choice to move up to the Silver and Gold awards as they continue improving their environmental performance.

Tony Baker, managing diector of The Roman Group, went for the Carbon Smart award as it did not have the resources to become ISO 14001 certified. He says that his clients were absolutely wowed by the Carbon Smart programme and as a result retained them as an approved supplier.

To join the EcoPrint London programme and become Carbon Smart call the BPIF 020 7915 8400, email Steve Walker, BPIF project manager at Steve.Walker@bpif.org.uk

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