Process Improvement Helps Keep In-plant in Business
Should we insource or outsource printing? That was the question that Spectrum Health, a large health system in Grand Rapids, Mich., asked itself when it came time to renew the lease on the production printing equipment in its 13-employee Document & Mail Services department.
After careful consideration using process improvement methods, followed by a Request for Proposal (RFP) to both equipment and outside print vendors, the company made its decision: it would keep printing in-house, both to save money and to continue providing internal customers a seamless approach to obtaining print.
The first step was holding a process improvement event called “3P” in which Production, Preparation and Process were analyzed with the goal of an overall improvement in performance.
“We had an immediate success in improvement to the process flow and began to understand the actual space needed for the equipment,” says Nancy Corcoran, supervisor of Document & Mail Services at Spectrum Health.
The next step was to hold a “6S” event aimed at improving workflow and eliminating waste. The 6S process improvement tool uses six steps (sort, straighten, shine, standardize, sustain and safety) to create and maintain an organized, clean, safe and efficient setting that enables value-added performance.
Then it was time to assess the company’s equipment needs.
“The biggest challenge that we faced was to determine the actual capacity of the equipment,” says Corcoran. “We needed to know our real capacity for production, not just what the equipment brochures claim about the speed of their equipment.”
Time studies were conducted that identified the actual output times for various print orders to determine actual capacity. The in-plant prints items such as books, booklets, cards and forms in its 1,500-sq.-ft. operation, which includes laminating, trimming, folding and binding capabilties.
Next, an RFP was extended to both equipment and outside print vendors. They were asked to provide a full-service print approach. The following criteria were used to rank the findings:
- Account Management
- Service Delivery
To provide efficient job ordering capabilities, Spectrum Health has engaged a Web-to-print system from Rochester Software Associates called WebCRD since 2016. More than 9,000 files are already loaded into the system’s catalog. Employees can easily order items from this catalog.
“We print over two million impressions each month,” notes Corcoran.
After carefully considering the RFP submissions, the company decided to award the bid to the incumbent, Xerox. The decision was primarily financial, however the staff’s familiarity with Xerox technology and services also played a part.
In August, two new Xerox Color 1000s and two black-and-white Xerox Nuvera 144s were installed, and have been busy ever since.