Reducing Errors on Our Print Jobs

There’s nothing more frustrating than finishing up a print run – only to find an error that requires rework.

This waste is frustrating for us at Heeter, but it’s especially negative for our customers who have lost time and possibly dinged their brand.

Given these costs, we are very focused on reducing the Printer Errors (PEs) that occur in our facilities.

Let’s start with what is typical: The Printing Industry reports that the cost for PE reprints amounts to 1.5% of total company sales.

While our 2015 PE number was below the industry average, we know we need to lower it further to be a leader in the industry. So we’ve started a couple initiatives to achieve our PE goal of no more than .5% of sales containing errors in 2016.

Initiative #1: Better Track and Review PEs

Changes were made in January on how we handle PE’s starting with the way we enter and report on PEs.

  • Our QA Manager Bill Fann reviews a daily PE report and investigates each issue.
  • When he finds a PE, Bill meets with the department manager to determine the root cause of the problem. He then issues a Quality Incident Report with the manager being responsible for completing the report within 24 hours.
  • If a reprint is necessary, Bill will seek approval from our VP of Operations Kirk Schlecker.
  • After the job is finished and all the corrections are made, Bill will add in all the costs associated with the PE and complete a Quality Incident Report.

With this new process, we find we better understand the reasons and costs for the PEs.

Initiative #2: Reward Production Employees for Improvements

It’s clear that the critical team who will lead the PE improvements will be the production employees. So we have devised a quarterly incentive program that shares 50/50 all cost improvements by reducing our PEs below the 2015 level. We need the employees to be focusing on this PE reduction all of the time.

And we’ve set up the program benefit to be sizable. If we hit our target on a quarterly basis each production employee would pocket $450!

How are we doing so far in 2016? After a slow start in January, we saw nice improvement in February. And then in March, we dropped the PE below .7% of sales.  We are heading in the right direction.

And this very low March figure brings our quarter 1 result below the goal threshold, so Heeter is paying its production employees a bonus for quarter 1.

If the trend continues, we will have a very successful year of reduced print errors.