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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.
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