Editor's Note Among The Best
It's always great news when an in-plant is honored by the rest of the printing industry. It reminds commercial printers and vendors that in-plants are every bit as professional and worthy of respect as they are.
So I was pleased to hear the National Association for Printing Leadership recently named six in-plants on its list of the country's best-managed printing operations. Gold Awards in NAPL's 2001 Management Plus Awards competition will go to University of California-Berkeley Printing Services, CIGNA Printing and Distribution, the Nevada State Printing Division, the State of Tennessee Printing Services Division and Allstate Insurance, which won its seventh Gold Award. Also honored, with a merit award, was HAPSCO Printing & Graphics Services.
As if this weren't enough, I recently caught wind of yet another big honor bestowed on an in-plant by an industry organization. Master Printers of America named Dartmouth College Printing & Mailing to its "Best of the Best" list. This list comprises printers that MPA feels are leaders in organizational structure, work environment, training, development, personal/work-life balance and other areas.
A key factor in the decision to place Dartmouth on this exclusive list was the in-plant's daily morning troubleshooting sessions, which it calls "rounds." Everyone on the 19-employee shop meets for 20 to 30 minutes each day to discuss ideas for improving productivity, agree on standard ways for doing tasks, go over upcoming jobs so everyone is prepared, share opinions on possible new equipment and much more. Employees are encouraged to talk about their mistakes without worrying about retribution. As a result, they no longer try to cover up errors, says Jim Leech, director. The meetings, which started about a year ago, have had a profound effect.
"We've saved so many errors, increased production, know what's coming down the line and...gotten closer as a group," Leech says.