Creating a New In-plant
One fascinating presentation at June's In-plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) conference was given by Jud Posner, pressroom manager at the Church of Scientology International’s in-plant. He detailed how the church created a new in-plant using church members with no graphic arts background. Through custom courses at Cal Poly and RIT, and apprenticeships at a commercial printing company, they learned how to operate massive web presses and six-color sheetfed presses, becoming so skillful that the in-plant routinely wins In-Print awards for the quality of its printing.
The decision to create the in-plant came about due to the church’s growing need for publications and the belief that costs would go down by producing the work in-house. This has proven to be the case, Posner said. There have been many other benefits as well.
“Our speed of production actually increased by 70% by bringing everything in-house,” he reported.
The facility was set up so materials flow through in a logical path, with as few touches as possible. In its first year, the in-plant printed 5 million items; last year it produced 72 million.
The in-plant has adapted the church’s philosophy of organization. Projects are broken into steps by working backwards from the final product and listing every step.
Posner detailed some processes that work for the in-plant:
- Set production expectancies for each step; find root causes when they aren’t met.
- Use checklists at every station.
- Schedule similar jobs in batches to reduce makeready time.
- Schedule routine machine maintenance.
- Full-time person dedicated to training staff.
- Near-line finishing, for flexibility of scheduling.
- Automation for labor-intensive procedures.
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