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Jump-Start Your Productivity in Two Weeks

(August/September 2017) posted on Tue Sep 05, 2017

You can do things better; you know it. Every shop can.

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By Marshall Atkinson

When you take a step back and analyze the workflow and processes in your shop, what stands out?

• Do you have trouble checking in blank inventory in a timely manner after it hits your loading dock?
•Does your screenroom struggle to keep up with the demands of production?
•Is your job queue lacking? Perhaps production isn’t busy enough because you suffered a flat sales quarter and things aren’t as rosy as they used to be.
•What about your job downtime? Do you struggle with getting ink mixed, staging the screens and blanks, or getting a job registered on press, instead of quickly setting up and printing?

These four challenges and thousands of others lurk in shops every day. Think about which monsters are lurking in your company. I’ll bet you can name 10 right off the bat.

In this month’s column, I’m going to outline an easy-to-implement process that can eliminate these challenges in your shop once and for all. Read on…

The IDS Process
The first idea I want you to learn is to Identify, Discuss, and then Solve your challenges. This is simply shortened to IDS, a concept made famous in Gino Wickman’s fantastic book Traction. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. Wickman outlines a process for running any business that he calls the “Entrepreneurial Operating System,” or EOS. It helps owners and leadership teams create a healthier, stronger business by establishing alignment throughout the company and focusing on the most important issues. EOS will help you think differently about how to run your business.

But, let’s get back to solving your problems. Here’s what I want you to do: Instead of you determining the action and shooting Zeus-like thunderbolts down from Mt. Olympus, start by gathering your managers and team leaders in one room. Make sure it has a whiteboard, and that your team is ready to have a candid discussion about solving problems. If that’s not your usual culture, then take the time to explain what you’ll be doing in this meeting and why.

Spend a good hour or so brainstorming about all of the top challenges affecting your shop that need to be resolved. I can’t list them here because these are your issues, not mine, but trust me: your group will have a bunch. Let the conversation flow; nothing is sacred and guts should be spilled.


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