Our Lean Journey has been well documented, and as promised, we’d like to update you further on our progress. The latest stop on the road to meeting our efficiency goals was attending the 2013 Continuous Improvement Conference held in Indianapolis and sponsored by the Printing Industries of America. My colleagues Paul Overn, Russ Palm, Frank Boncore and Mike Henry attended the show earlier this week and had many insights to share:
As the name suggests, this year’s show was all about “Continuous Improvement”, which is uninterrupted as opposed to continual advancement. More specifically, the show centered on creating a culture of accountability when implementing Lean Manufacturing. What does Continuous Improvement mean to those from IWCO Direct who attended?
“Continuous Improvement requires a unique mindset. It can’t be looked at as just a task or project, but more a way of life.”
— Russ Palm, Continuous Improvement Manager
“Continuous Improvement is never stopping the process of trying to get better.”
— Mike Henry, Press Operations Manager
“Continuous Improvement serves a purpose greater than the process you are currently trying to improve.”
— Frank Boncore, Operations Director
Show attendance has been growing steadily over the past four years, and this year’s show saw record attendance. The biggest takeaway was that while IWCO Direct has been involved in Continuous Improvement (CI) longer than most companies, CI is strong in the printing and direct mail industries. However, many have not started the CI transformation to digital color/print. The process of creating and producing direct mail can always be more efficient, and we strive to provide the most consistent and predictable delivery possible for our customers.
The breakout sessions also resonated well and included topics surrounding Standard Work and adapting leadership styles to a Continuous Improvement culture (i.e. coaching, mentoring, teaching and empowering employees to find solutions). There was openness for sharing ideas and thoughts, which led to a greater focus on how to implement Continuous Improvement strategies.
Our favorite part of the show (aside from visiting the NCAA Hall of Champions and the Harding Poorman Group’s printing plant) was networking. We appreciate building connections with other people trying to make their companies better and using those connections to get ideas on how we can improve consistently and continuously.
Perhaps Paul Overn, IWCO Direct Operations Director and member of the Conference Advisory Committee, said it best:
“This was a great conference. I was proud to be part of the planning, and it would be valuable for anyone starting the Continuous Improvement journey to attend.”
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