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How to Get More from Your Floor

(February 2011) posted on Wed Jan 26, 2011

Find out how shop-floor efficiency can carry your business toward increased profitability.

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By Rick Mandel

Figure 2 incorporates the thought process of locating sales/customer service in the vicinity of the prepress people and the front end (electronics/work station) of digital cutting facing the prepress group. Digital printing equipment is in viewing distance of the prep department to allow continuous monitoring, as well as multitasking with files during printing. Finishing is also within viewing distance to encourage the second pair of eyes on what comes off the press. Try to get away from the straight lines of multiple computers and cubicles; instead, create a semi-curved, circular space that may share large tables or even a coffee machine. It is amazing how we save the world with a coffee cup in our hand.

What we are really doing is knocking down the walls of conventional manufacturing—figuratively and literally. Walls and cubicles prevent collaboration in our environment. But can we introduce too much interaction? Depending on the personalities of the operators, some amount of personalized space is important. What we are talking about is cubicles versus open spaces for the work environment.

The sales group tends to be on the phone quite a bit; therefore, this area can get a bit loud. Prepress/creative people like to focus and not to be interrupted. Interior-design techniques aid in sound deadening, and translucent office barriers can give the illusion of privacy while encouraging interaction. To add to these interesting architectural effects is that we may be able to print them in house. Is there a better way to present to our clients creative graphics than to show wonderful imagery within our facility? Show areas are great, but innovative uses for our products are great sales techniques.

Generational tendencies may require personalization of the space. Baby Boomers (born between 1945-1963) have been characterized as individuals who believe that hard work and sacrifice are the price to pay for success. They also like teamwork, collaboration, and group decision-making. Generation X, defined as consisting of individuals born between 1968-1982, aspire more than previous generations to achieve a balance between work and home life and are more independent, autonomous, and self-reliant than previous generations. They value continuous learning and skill development. They have strong technical skills and are results focused. Although they are individualistic, they may also like teamwork, more so than Boomers.


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