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Traps for young players – Q&P management focus

Thursday, 02 August 2007
By Print 21 Online Article

“Every time a faulty process/procedure touches a job it costs you money.”

I saw this quote the other day in a web based print forum and it got me thinking: What is a faulty procedure? How do they get faulty? How can it cost you money?

The aim of every print shop is to produce print that is acceptable to customers when the customer is expecting it within the times and costs that you have estimated. Your procedures should enable you to be confident that this will happen 95% of the time (or whatever figure you judge to be acceptable).

There are five traps that will almost guarantee that your procedures are faulty and costing you money.

  • The first trap is to think that expensive/new equipment is a substitute for good procedures. It is not. You can deliver a great print job on time but then find that the customer did not sign off on the proofs or that you have no order number for it or that your accounts department had put that customer on credit hold.
  • The second trap is not to have written procedures. Everything is done by memory. This works fine until someone leaves or turns up late for work after having an argument with their partner. Procedures need to be written down.
  • The third trap is to have a great set of written procedures but not follow them. You might have spent several months writing up a set of procedures so you can get your ISO 9001 certification and then filed them away after that. Not a good idea.
  • The fourth trap is lack of accountability. Someone needs to be responsible to ensure the procedure has been carried out and signed off when it has been done. It is always disconcerting when you see completed job tickets without a single sign off signature on them.
  • The fifth trap is lack of a continual improvement process. For example your current procedures might work OK but you find about 12% of jobs are delivered late each month. You have gone to the trouble of measuring how many jobs you have late each month but the next step is to tweak you procedures so that this figure is reduced.

    Good management software such as Quote & Print can help you monitor your procedures to see if you are meeting your targets and comparing them to your historical figures. The time saved by automating the measuring process can be spent on fine tuning your procedures. Over time you will find the whole management process less stressful and you will feel that you are in control of your business.

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