Bean counters may disagree, but the economics of our business rarely bend. Printing and print finishing operations must purchase raw materials, process them in specific finishing lines, and add labor to produce a finished product.
And, there’s little wiggle-room when it comes to these costs. In general, raw material pricing is beyond the control of most printing operations. For any given geographic area, the cost of paper, ink, adhesives, and wire are generally fixed, and companies will find it difficult to “out purchase” their competition to derive any significant benefit. Sure, larger consumers get better pricing, but within their class, the pricing is likely to be very similar.
Realizing a labor cost advantage is even more difficult. These costs are persistently fixed to the immediate geographic location of the company and subject to competition from many sources, and not just other printing companies or peer competitors. Printers are competing against every form of manufacturing company in their region. Moreover, many localities are adopting their own labor rules and minimum wage, further increasing the cost of labor with no immediate increase in productivity.
So where can printing and print finishing companies truly distinguish themselves in today’s variable print landscape? It’s through manufacturing excellence. And that’s achieved by:
- Physical Equipment. Choosing the proper print finishing equipment that best meets your customers’ ever-changing product demands. The actual equipment also determines how paper and product move through your plant, as well as how many people must touch the job from file to finished product.
- Virtual Workflows. Proper configuration and interconnecting the physical equipment produces a seamless, ultra-efficient workflow. Keep in mind that today’s complex finishing challenges (e.g., variable trim sizes, formats, and content) are data-intense. Virtual workflows utilize and interpret varying job data throughout the line so that not only fewer people need to interact with a job, but that less error and waste occurs.
This combination of physical equipment and virtual workflows are integral components to Muller Martini’s Finishing 4.0 design and engineering philosophy. Essentially, production lines developed with a Finishing 4.0 mindset enable you to make more money since they offer these advantages:
- Reduction and decoupling of the physical demand required to load pockets, feeders, and catch finished product from high-speed, short makeready devices.
- Simple and consistent operator interfaces which reduce training for new employees while simplifying operation for experienced staff.
- Motorized size and format adjustments to reduce job changeovers.
- Touchless workflow to permit automated changeovers and job management without operator intervention.
- Interconnected devices that can share production and machine status with automated planning and reporting systems, resulting in smoother workflows and fewer bottlenecks.
If your business truly wants to compete in spite of today’s complex manufacturing demands, please forget the bean counting. Muller Martini’s Finishing 4.0 portfolio enables printers and binderies to construct uniquely efficient manufacturing solutions so you can realize manufacturing excellence—and profitable outcomes. Learn more about successful companies who have embraced Finishing 4.0 by scheduling a visit with one of our Regional Sales Managers.
How is your operation achieving manufacturing excellence on today’s complex production lines? Let us know below.