Why Ditching Tables Could Be Your Print Shop’s Game Changer

Why Ditching Tables Could Be Your Print Shop’s Game Changer

Intro: A Stroll Through the Print Shop

I was wandering through a potential client’s print shop earlier this week, and it was an absolute sea of tables – each one loaded up with projects “pending”, waiting for their “turn” at their next stage of production.

It’s a scene that’s all too familiar in print on demand, and it got me thinking about something I picked up from Eliyahu M. Goldratt’s book, “The Goal.” It’s all about smoothing out those workflow kinks, which in our world, translates to embracing a ‘No Tables’ way of doing things.

Tables: The Not-So-Silent Workflow Killers

In print on-demand, tables are more than just furniture – they represent and actively allow bottlenecks. They’re where work goes to take a break, and honestly, that’s not doing anyone any favors.

In the perfect print on-demand facility, workflow should mimic standard long run manufacturing, like a conveyor process, with things moving smoothly from start to finish and no unnecessary pit stops regardless of the complexity of the various stages of production. This is a lofty goal for a production process in which every unit of production is different from the ones before and after it, but it IS achievable.  Removing the  tables is the critical step. From there it’s about having a workflow solution that streamlines your volume so you never feel the need to bring them back.

The ‘No Tables’ Way: Keep it Moving

Removing tables has a number of benefits but mostly it’s about allowing for continuous workflow. When you take away these pit stop points, what you’re really doing is getting everything to march to the beat of the slowest drum. It’s about making sure nothing is just sitting around when it could be moving on to the next step.

Further, the absence of tables means any slow lanes in the production flow are immediately visible. That’s your cue as a Manager to jump in and smooth things out, because you’ve just identified a bottleneck! Now it’s up to you to decide whether you want to accept that bottleneck (e.g. batched production) or adapt the stage of production (e.g. parallel stations, change of staff, change of process, change of equipment etc.). Either way you need to be making an informed efficiency decision and by removing the tables you are forced into having that difficult conversation.

ZenSmart: Your Workflow Wingman

This is where a tool like ZenSmart makes a big difference. It’s not just about cutting out tables; it’s about having the right system to give you the command and control to make the whole ‘No Tables’ thing work.

  • ZenSmart acts like a control tower, providing a bird’s-eye view of your entire workflow. It helps identify where processes are slowing down, enabling you to address bottlenecks promptly and keep the workflow smooth and uninterrupted to keep the workflow… well, flowing.
  • Based on real-time data and insights from ZenSmart, you can make informed decisions on where to bolster resources or streamline processes. This ensures that each part of your workflow is as efficient as possible, aligning with the ‘No Tables’ philosophy.
  • ZenSmart offers the flexibility to adapt your workflow to changing demands. Whether it’s scaling up for new product lines or adjusting to seasonal fluctuations, ZenSmart helps maintain a steady, efficient flow in your print production, avoiding unnecessary pauses or delays.
  • Innovating and implementing new products, processes and lines is much easier with ZenSmart, allowing you to make minimal investment decisions, monitor their progress and update and adapt as needed as bottlenecks are identified.

The Big Picture

Going ‘No Tables’ isn’t just about getting rid of physical clutter; it’s about a whole new approach to work in your print shop. It’s about finding those spots where things are getting stuck and doing something about it..  Done correctly significant process reform can be achieved and major amounts of cost taken out of your business and permanent profit improvement achieved.

Curious About the ‘No Tables’ Life?

If you’re itching to see how a ‘No Tables’ approach can transform your print shop, head on over to https://zensmart.ai/. It’s all about getting things moving and keeping them that way!

Sammy Brent

Sammy Brent is the CIO of ZenSmart, a leading workflow automation platform that streamlines manufacturing in On Demand plants across the world.

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