How to identify and resolve the 8 wastes of lean manufacturing for printing and coding

  • By Domino Printech
  • February 17, 2021
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  • Specialised Solutions
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The lean manufacturing model is tried and trusted in supply chains across the world. And while the principles are usually applied to manufacturing at large, we can still apply them to our printing and coding operations to ensure they are efficient, hassle-free and cost-effective. Let’s get started.

1. Defects

Defective coding costs time and money. Inaccurate placement, illegible codes and coding errors all result in rejection or reworking. Further costs are incurred if incorrectly coded products make it into the supply chain. Product recalls can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and endanger multi-million-pound contracts with buyers. You could even be fined.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure the right code is printed onto the right product, in the right place and in the right way. Domino can help in two ways. Firstly, our integrated QuickDesign software makes it easy to manage batch coding with templates that minimise data entry, and it can automate your print runs with a simple operator interface and a central database which limits the possibility of human error. Secondly, we offer automatic print inspection systems that help to catch coding errors – scanning each product on your line in a matter of milliseconds. These systems bring consistency, speed and accuracy to your codes, and also slash the risk of illegible codes and false rejections. When working in busy production environments, the cost of unreliable codes could reach many thousands of pounds.


2. Excess processing

Given the damaging consequences of coding errors, many manufacturers can become obsessive about manually checking codes during a print run. But this is a waste of both time and human resource. Human error is inevitable when it comes to checking codes. In fact, it’s thought that a human operative will produce ten mistakes for every 600 coding entries.

Mistakes are especially likely on high-speed, high volume FMCG lines. Canning lines, for example, typically run at speeds of 2,000 cans per minute. If you have a line operative checking the accuracy of a code on a can every 30 minutes, you are essentially checking one can in every 59,999. It’s unsurprising that coding errors slip through the net. Again, this can be managed with automatic print inspection which eliminates errors and allows you to redeploy human resource to other areas of your manufacturing business.

Another area where excess processing can be found is in manually monitoring the efficiency of your printer fleet. As we enter the Industry 4.0 era, we now have technology that automatically gathers data on printer performance and sends it to the cloud. Here you get a dashboard view of your printer fleet, making it easy to drive continual improvements to line efficiency.

3. Overproduction

Non-essential production processes can also obstruct the lean manufacturing model – especially when applying codes to packaging where the number of printed labels must be reconciled with the production quantity. You can streamline your production of codes and the management of print runs with QuickDesign, while our range of print and apply technologies can reduce the time necessary to affix labels to secondary and tertiary packaging by hand. Our print and apply labelling systems are flexible, reliable and robust, and whether they need to affix labels to the front of individual products, on the tops of a tray, or over the corner of a bundle package, they meet all traceability, legibility and clarity requirements.

4. Waiting

You know what they say. Time is money. That’s as true with coding and marking as in any other area of business. Therefore, it’s essential to remove unnecessary delays from your processes. Delays could be caused by printer failures, mechanical downtime, excess scheduled maintenance and integration issues within your coding and marking infrastructure.

Domino specialises in reliable technology. We also offer a range of SafeGuard products which are designed to eliminate downtime and extend warranties on parts and labour to ensure your printer is operating at its optimal performance and safeguarding your production OEE. Monitoring your printer remotely with automated alerts and analysing performance data can also assist in detecting and rectifying any issues before they become a problem. In the unlikely event that you need a callout, our engineers are fast to respond and will know which equipment to bring with them before they arrive.

5. Inventory

Mishaps and inefficiency can occur when you are juggling multiple print runs simultaneously. The speed and accuracy of Domino’s printing technology mean products can pass through your production environment quickly and efficiently without backlog. Due to the flexibility offered by QuickDesign, you can even react quickly to seasonal promotions, for example, with late-stage customisation of your product coding and marking.

6. Transportation

Consumables – such as ink cartridges – are an intrinsic part of most coding and marking technology. However, stock is normally limited on-site to avoid any expiration or unwanted use of the goods.  This in turn may cause a problem in “waiting” for stock as it may not be available to use when you need it next on your production line. Here too, you can build efficiency into your restocking process. Domino’s SafeSupply service allows you to schedule delivery dates of genuine Domino consumables that are designed to keep your coding accurate and your printers efficient. Best of all, we will fix the price of your consumables for up to five years, so you can budget accurately.

7. Motion

Manufacturers can experience further inefficiencies with larger printing technology networks. Poor operational layouts can lead to issues with how products move through production lines, and this can be made worse by infrastructure that is not connected. We can advise on how to streamline your production environment for lean coding and marking operations. With the QuickDesign Unite platform, you can bring harmony to your operations – taking the language of your ERP or MES and translating it into Domino language. The result is a connected and highly efficient operational framework, with remote label design capability that reduces operator involvement and can send the right coding commands to any printer in your network on demand.

8. Non-utilised talent

It’s easy to place too much focus on process or machinery when it comes to isolating manufacturing inefficiencies. But it’s important to remember the human side of your operations. Inadequate training can cause unnecessary delays or stoppages on the line, and mistakes can be made when staff potential is not maximised or key competencies are not developed.

Domino’s training academy is designed to help to provide your staff with the technical insight they need to keep your coding and marking operations running efficiently. Training can be conducted either in person or via webinar. Either way, we can help you to make sure your staff are knowledgeable, engaged and equipped with the knowledge they need to get the best from your printing fleet.

Beyond that, our printing and coding solutions can bring a high level of automation to your site via automatic print inspection or via Domino Cloud, our remote diagnostic technology as part of the SafeGuard support package. By training staff on this Industry 4.0 technology, they are empowered to assist with predicting future technology failures and downtimes, therefore working to eradicate under-utilised talent.

What's next?

Taking an honest look at your coding and marking operations can help you to identify inefficiencies, which in turn will allow you to save time and money while presenting an opportunity to engage and upskill your human resources. But it’s only possible if you know how to resolve the challenges that are unique to your site. Domino can help. Get in touch to start the conversation.

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