Welcome to Productivity Central.

This site is devoted to improving the productivity, profitability, safety and sustainability of your business. I hope you find it informational and entertaining. Please bookmark the site and come back often.

Also, be sure to check out my companion blog at http://MarComCentral.blogspot.com/ for information, ideas and tools to improve your sales and marketing efforts.
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West Bend, WI, United States

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

FTA membership; 1 Wi$e choice to recession-proof your company

    Companies are always looking for a competitive advantage.  This is especially true in challenging economic times. 
  • How do you increase efficiency, improve quality, and devise the newest solutions and innovations to better address your customers’ needs, all while trying to reduce costs? 
  • How do you network with partners and showcase your products to existing and potential clients? 
  • How do you stay on top of advancements in technologies, processes and procedures? 
  • How do you access the resources needed to navigate the minefield of regulations that can stifle your business?
    When struggling with cash flow issues, the all-too-common knee-jerk reaction is to cut “unnecessary” costs. The easiest places to cut are those items that, at first glance, appear to have dubious quantifiable value. Marketing, training and R&D budgets, may seem like easy targets; however, cuts to these areas tend to be shortsighted and misguided, thereby hampering your ability to produce quality products, penetrate new markets, or attract and retain a sustainable client base. 
   Trade association memberships also tend to prematurely find themselves on the chopping block. Member representatives find it difficult to justify the cost of the membership, because they feel they just don’t get enough from it. If only they realized how membership, participation, and utilization of association resources could help them gain that elusive competitive advantage. Just think of the multitude of Flexographic Technical Association resources available to assist members with: training/employee development, sustainability and environmental compliance, market visibility and credibility; as well as quality/process improvement. When you see the bigger picture, the value of membership is much easier to conceptualize. Before you jettison your membership, ask yourself a question:

Are you are aware of all that your membership has to offer?

 Training &Development

    FTA offers a wide range of programs, conferences, materials and on-line resources geared to producing highly skilled and productive employees. FTA resources expand knowledge of the flexo process, develop the skills to better control the process, and keep members abreast of the latest advancements and innovations. FFTA’s ever-expanding library of technical aids, online training programs and textbooks focus on every area and aspect of flexo printing.
   Seminars, break-out sessions, books, and technical publications are all cheap remedies to expensive problems. An ill-trained workforce is a productivity and profitability sink-hole, causing damage to press components, defective products, and excessive make-ready waste. Investment in remedying any of these ills, often produces cost savings and enhanced equipment utilization that far outweighs the cost. For that reason, the FTA developed state-of-the-art curriculums re-engineered to address the needs of the ever-evolving flexo industry. The TEST (Technical Education Services Team) program is the FTA’s comprehensive, one-stop educational and training resource. The key elements of TEST are:
  • Virtual Campus
  • Customized Training & Advisement
  • Co-sponsored Seminars & Events
  • Secondary & post-secondary programs
Are your production managers aware of these programs?

Sustainability & EHS

    For those in your organization involved in sustainability and safety, FTA has assembled a phenomenal array of resources and EHS related programs. EHS topics are featured at technical conferences, such as the FTA Fall Conference, regional networking group meetings and the FFTA Annual  Forum. Sustainability webinars and events are often developed by FTA, or held in conjunction with partnering printing organizations.
     FTA publications including FLEXO Magazine, Sustainable FLEXO, and FLEXOLive!, provide articles and editorial coverage related to all aspects of the flexo process, including EHS concerns. FTA’s EHS Direct e-Newsletter is a monthly electronic publication, with timely information on news, regulations, resources, conferences and events focused on the environmental and safety issues relevant to flexo printing industry. 
    For those wanting a more comprehensive guide, the book, The Flexo Environment, provides readers a tremendous amount of information specific to the regulations and process options that impact the sustainability of a printing facility. The In-Plant EHS Self-Assessment, assists printers in evaluating their own specific EHS challenges, choices and the ramifications associated with them.
     Founded by FTA and other printing associations, the independent, certification organization, Sustainable Green Printing Partnership, was established with sustainable business practices as its guiding principles. The SGP Partnership’s goal is to “encourage and promote participation in the worldwide movement to reduce environmental impact and increase social responsibility of the graphic communications industry through sustainable green practices”  Companies can be recognized  as a SGP certified facility by meeting a set of criteria to establish performance standards based on their efforts to:
  • Employ, wherever and whenever possible, materials derived from renewable resources, or with low environmental impact; maximizing recycling and recovery efforts with efficient utilization of renewable energy.
  • Encourage the adoption of changes within the supply chain by strongly recommending the use of raw materials that do not threaten or harm future generations.
  • Educate the customer, and ultimately the consumer, regarding the benefits of a restorative economy.
    Learn more about the SGP Partnership at www.sgppartnership.org.     
            To showcase your environmental achievements, the annual FTA Environmental Excellence Awards program recognizes the most significant and innovative approaches.  Awards are presented at the FFTA Annual Forum. In addition to a trophy, winners are showcased in FLEXO Magazine.
Are your EHS coordinators aware of these resources?

Process Improvement

            A key to any successful business is efficient utilization of resources. Getting control of process variables is the surest way to reduce process waste (the enormous investment in raw materials, energy, press time, and human resources that gets thrown into the dumpster as make-ready waste or defective finished products). Quality, consistency and defect prevention are no longer goals. In successful companies throughout the supply chain, these are becoming minimum expectations. 
            Recognizing the growing importance of process control, FTA established the Flexo Quality Consortium (FQC).  It performs vital scientific research, disseminated at FTA conferences, to provide the industry with a better understanding of the factors controlling the quality of the flexographic printing process. FQC projects investigate selected process variables in order to further develop reproducible process concepts that will allow for measurable advancements in flexographic printing technology. The group actively participates in the global graphic standards committees and associations in researching and representing the flexographic printing process. 
            None of that research offers any value, unless you put it into practice. In order to translate theory into procedure, you have to establish a common set of guidelines, targets and tolerances FIRST—Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications and Tolerances.  You need a common “language” that all participants in the flexographic reproduction process (i.e. customers, designers, prepress providers, raw material & equipment suppliers, and printers) can use for communicating those targets and tolerances. And, you need your people trained in application of that language.  That is why FTA developed FIRST.  

            More than just another book, FIRST has become the most comprehensive, most frequently referred to, technical resource for the flexographic industry. When adhered to, the specifications outlined in FIRST help all members of the supply chain improve quality, reduce cycle times, minimize rework and waste, and facilitate producing a predictable, consistent result, printrun after printrun. FIRST provides the tools to optimize your processes, improve color consistency, minimize waste and downtime, and increase throughput and productivity.
In its latest revision, FIRST 4.0, there is expanded coverage on:
• Print optimization, fingerprinting, characterization & process control.
• Process color calibration .
• Near-Neutral Calibration (G7TM).
• Color management.
• Color measurement and tolerancing.
• Substrate attributes and testing.
• Specialty inks and coatings.
Scholarship opportunities are available for FIRST Operator Certification. FFTA introduced an online auction to generate funds to support these scholarships.
Are your quality managers aware of these offerings?

Visibility & Credibility

            In turbulent economic times, it is all the more important to maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace, regardless of whether you are a printer, supplier or CPC.   How do you gain an advantage in market visibility without spending a lot more money on marketing?  FTA offers many opportunities to showcase your products, services, technologies, processes and innovations: 
q  Present a speech at any of the technical conferences.
q  Write an article for one of publications..
q  Exhibit at the INFO*FLEX and/or regional table-top exhibitions
q  Enter one of the awards competitions—Excellence in Flexography, Graphic Design. Technical Innovation, Environmental Excellence.
q  Participate on the committees, councils and projects.
q  Become a judge for one of the awards competitions.
q  Sponsor the Annual Forum, INFO*FLEX or networking event.
q  Become an SGP Patron.
q  Donate items for the online auction. It could be business related or a personal item.
     Each of these provides market exposure and adds credibility to your message - without breaking the budget! In addition, one or all lend positive PR value to your organization. 
Are your marketing people aware of these promotional channels?

 Co$t $aving$

            All of these programs and services were developed to benefit your business, but the benefits can be difficult to quantify, especially when trying to justify the annual dues. But are there more tangible benefits that we are overlooking? Can FTA membership actually reduce your costs? The short answer is “Absolutely.” The shorter one  is “Wi$e1”.
             In case you haven’t heard about it, Wi$e1, is available to all FTA members - specifically to help them reduce operating costs. The program currently consists of  affinity partners who provide a variety of business products and services to FTA members at significant member-only discounts. The synergy between FTA, its membership and Wi$e1 partners benefits all constituencies. 
FTA benefits by increasing its value proposition. Being able to offer an even better value helps the association to retain existing and draw in new members and expand its influence. To complete the circle, FTA members can take advantage of consolidated buying power to get significant savings on needed products and services that they would purchase, including: 
q  Utility and telecommunications consulting services.
q  Computers, electronics, software programs, iPods and accessories. 
q  Disability, Life, Medicare supplement, long-term care, critical illness, annuities.     
q  Shipping, packaging and freight services.
q  Casualty, property, Workers' Compensation.
q  Foreign exchange and international payment services.
q  Debt collection.
q  Website development.
q  Tax rebate assistance.
Are your procurement people aware of these vendor options?

With an expanding product and service portfolio designed to help members remain vibrant and competitive, FTA membership offers a unique value proposition.  The resources available to FTA members are invaluable, with benefits for areas of your business: (production, quality assurance, EHS, sales/marketing, procurement, accounting and human resources).   There is one catch, however. The only way to benefit from your FTA membership is to take advantage of what your membership has to offer. FTA membership is a powerful weapon in your arsenal, but it only helps you get that elusive
competitive advantage when you use it. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

st patricks day comments, glitter graphics and orkut scraps
Comments and Graphics - GoodLightscraps.com
Irish Blessing:

Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
Count your gains instead of your losses.

Count your joys instead of your woes;
Count your friends instead of your foes.

Count your smiles instead of your tears;
Count your courage instead of your fears.

Count your full years instead of your lean;
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.

Count your health instead of your wealth;
Love your neighbor as much as yourself.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Flexo Market News: A Sustainable Tool

Flexo Market News
Flexo Market News: A Sustainable Tool: ONLINE EXCLUSIVE by Greg Kishbaugh The February 11th issue of Flexo Market News featured an overview of the way in which Nestlé has used a tool called PIQET to measure and quantify its sustainability goals. The article analyzed the deep wealth of information available today for converters seeking aid in managing their sustainability programs, and, as such, the PIQET tool deserves a little added attention.
     Available from the Sustainable Packaging Alliance, PIQET (Packaging Impact Quick Evaluation Tool) allows CPGs and converters to optimize packaging system design from a sustainability perspective in all stages of the product development process.
     PIQET allows packaging designers to:
• Benchmark current sustainability performance of packaging.
• Review and optimize current packaging to improve sustainability performance.
• Include sustainability performance in the design of new packaging.
• Training to build business capability to make more sustainable decisions.
     PIQET appears to offer a host of benefits for designers, but one that certainly cannot be overlooked is that of speed. Reportedly, a complete packaging evaluation can be completed in less than half an hour.
     Due to its web-based interface, PIQET is available globally 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The tool offers cradle to grave analysis and as such provides users with life cycle information from the production of the raw materials through the production, transport, filling, and waste management of the package.
     PIQET uses information from the user itself along with background from more comprehensive lice cycle assessment modeling to provide a report on the sustainability performance of the package design.
     Seemingly, another strong component of PIQET is that it is not a boilerplate application; instead a company can tailor which life cycle indicators are reported to align with its corporate sustainability goals. PIQET reports the sustainability performance of packaging designs using eight environmental life cycle indicators including climate change, water use and solid waste, as well as a range of packaging specific metrics such as packaging to product ratio and percent of recycled content. But it is up to each individual company to decide which of these metrics are most important to track for their particular sustainability program.
     Every day it is proven that in today’s business climate information is indeed king. And with such a voluminous amount of information at their fingertips, converters have the opportunity to bring added productivity to their companies each and every day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The next chapter

In case you haven't heard, I have left the flexo printing industry, having taken a position with Sears Home Improvement Services.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my friends in the flexo industry for their support, friendship, and unselfish sharing of ideas. 

To all of the wonderful people that purchased anilox rolls, cleaning equipment and related press accessories from me, I can't thank you enough for trusting me to meet your needs for these many years.  It has been a privilege to serve you. 

I would also like to thank everyone who purchased my book, Common Sense Flexography.  I hope it has helped you better understand and appreciate the flexo process.  In writing the book, it was my goal to help you to reduce waste, enhance productivity, increase safety and ultimately improve profitability.  Hopefully, you benefited as much from the book as I did from working with the countless individuals that contributed to it. 

I would like to thank the Flexographic Technical Association for providing me and all of its members with a wealth of opportunities to participate in and learn from programs, initiatives, committees, councils, and technical conferences.  The FTA is a shining star among trade associations, always seeking to add value by actively working to advance the flexo process, promoting best practices, providing training, fostering sustainability, and recognizing excellence through its many awards programs.  The FTA has amassed a vast array of products, programs and resources to aid its members.  FTA's research arm, the Flexo Quality Consortium, constantly strives to decipher the mysteries of flexography, propelling it from art to science.  It is there that FTA's educational arm takes over to train each subsequent generation of flexographers.  Although some may consider FTA to be simply a trade association, it has been much more than that to me.  I greatly appreciate everything they have done for me throughout my career.

While I am no longer an active participant in flexo, I still have ink running through my veins.  As the opportunity presents itself, I will continue to post items relevant to the industry.  In the meantime, I am in the process of putting together my latest blog entitled Home Improvement Central at http://yourbiggestinvestment.blogspot.com/ and welcome you to check it out. 

With thanks and kind regards,

David Lanska
To view a listing of blog topics for each month, click on the arrow on the left side of that month.

FTA 50 year logo

FTA 50 year logo
Flexograsphic Technical Association