10 Tips for Streamlining Production
Doing more with less has become standard operating procedure for most production departments. Many production and manufacturing executives are regularly tasked with reviewing their processes to find even more ways to trim time and costs from the production cycle. Here, industry professionals offer 10 tips for streamlining production.
Tips From … Theresa Skrapits, Production Director, MediZine
1. Review commonly used documents and templates, and update, as necessary. "If a document is a hard copy or a Word document, it can probably be improved," says Skrapits. "Excel documents allow you to isolate costs, link to summary sheets [and] eliminate … hand work. … Our printer invoices … link to the current price list, by make- ready, running per-thousand cost or one-time costs. [Our] summary sheets mirror [financial] spreadsheets, so actual costs and forecasting are simplified. Manufacturing instructions are linked to the print order, so … version counts are always correct. Setting up a document once, correctly, will save you lots of time, and give you a snapshot of where you are spending and … saving."
2. Document everything —problems, solutions and cost savings. "Keep track of what worked [and] what didn't," she says. "… Documenting savings for our quarterly issues really added up. In five years, I've 'found' over $1 million worth of savings simply by doing things better!"
Tip From … Barb Van Sickle, Production Director, Active Interest Media
3. Utilize staff members with transferable skills. "Everyone is pitching in, learning new responsibilities …," says Van Sickle.
Tips From … Sally Kingsley, Director of Manufacturing,
4. If your volume supports it, hire a full-time, in-house color expert. The Smithsonian's expert goes on press checks, says Kingsley. "While having a color guy on press for … every press approval … is a luxury, we feel that it is important. We have invested a lot of time into every image, and we want them to reproduce as well as they can."