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Technology Manager Christy Miners talks MIS at Democrat Printing & Lithographing Co.

Published on March 2, 2011

Christy Miners, Technology Manager at Democrat Printing & Lithographing Co. tells Cary about their implementation of a shop floor management, MIS module from PRISM and the challenges they've faced.

Cary Sherburne:  Hi, Cary Sherburne and Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I’m here with Christy Miners, who’s Technology Manager at Democrat Printing & Lithographing in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Welcome.

Christy Miners:  Thank you. 

Cary:  I understand that you guys have fairly recently implemented a shop floor management, MIS module, Prism and I was really interested in your perspective as a technology person as, you know, having to live with the actual implementation as opposed to the business guy that says, “We’re just going to do this.”  What are some of the challenges maybe that, you know, associated with implementing an MIS.  I mean, you had a home grown system before.

Christy:  Yes, for job ticketing only.

Cary:  For job ticketing only, okay.  And so, you know, what are some of the challenges that you saw and how do you overcome those, is it really that hard?

Christy:  Well, one of the challenges, I expected to be larger than it ended up being, was the actual pressmen themselves.  We have a lot of pressmen who have been there 20 or 30 years and I was very concerned going in of how they would see this new project that affects them drastically.  But much to our surprise, the pressmen caught onto it very quickly.  The interface makes a lot of sense to them, with the touch screen interface, and so they walk up, they touch the part of the press, they report their information, and they go on about their business.  And it made it so they don’t have to write an essay on a timecard or a press log or an ink sheet, and so it put them back making sure the dots were round, rather than spending a lot of time explaining what they’ve been doing.

Cary:  And so it helps you, as I was talking to your boss, I guess, and he was saying that it helps you kind of compare the work of different press operators, as well as how the individual presses are operating.

Christy:  Yes.

Cary:  On a real time basis.

Christy:  Right.  It’s given us information about each crew, how each crew is performing.  Information about how different papers are performing as well, so our paper orderer has been able to go back to the paper companies, given us web break data and information like that about the roles.  It’s also given us some trending on the presses.  We can start when we start seeing certain work codes, we can see that we’re going to need to take some maintenance on a certain unit.  So from a production point of view, my boss looks at how each job ran and how its performing, how the different papers, how the different crews.  And so we’re really getting a lot of information for a variety of our managers.  From maintenance all the way to accounting.

Cary:  You know, it’s interesting, I think a lot of companies are reluctant to implement an MIS system because it seems like it’s really intimidating and overwhelming.  But what you’re doing is you’re starting out module by module as opposed to trying to eat the whole elephant at once.  I mean, do you think that’s a good way to go?

Christy:  Well, a lot of people say islands of automation like it’s a bad thing.  I think it’s a bad place to end up, but for us, each one is a place not to drown.  So the ticketing and then the press room, getting the right information to the press and then finding out how the press was performing is by far the most important part for us.  Now we’re looking at other areas, scheduling bindery, paper ordering, accounting, all those are in line next.  And one of the ways we have paid for the modular option is we save up for one module.  That gives us savings in paper waste and with that savings we’re able to commit some money to the next module then.

Cary:  Which in turn will save you—

Christy:  Right.

Cary:  To fund the next one.

Christy:  To continue the next one right.

Cary:  So I think that’s a really great approach, because if you wait until you can do the whole thing at once, you may never get it done.

Christy:  Right.  Oh, I wanted the whole thing.

Cary:  Well, of course.

Christy:  I just didn’t—

Cary:  Of course. 

Christy:  And Prism was more than willing to sell me the whole thing.  But this first module’s gone really well and we’re very excited.

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