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Holland Litho's Brian Baarman on process automation

Published on October 8, 2012

Brian Baarman, Executive VP of Finance & Administration at Holland Litho gives some back ground on the company and talks about their process automation efforts.

Cary Sherburne: Hi. I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with Brian Baarman who is the Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration at Holland Litho.

Brian Baarman: That’s correct.

Cary Sherburne: Welcome.

Brian Baarman: Thanks.

Cary Sherburne: So maybe you could start by telling us a little bit about how Holland Litho, how many employees you have, when you were founded, that kind of thing, manufacturing.

Brian Baarman: Holland Litho is a commercial printer in West Michigan. We have about 80 employees. We did 9½ million last year. We have grown every year for the last 12 years.

Cary Sherburne: That’s good. Not everybody has during these times.

Brian Baarman: No. We made the transition from just a prepress shop to a printer in the late ‘90s.

Cary Sherburne: Okay.

Brian Baarman: And now we have two 40-inch 6-color Heidelbergs and one 20?inch 6-color Heidelberg. We also have two NexPresses, a Digimaster, and an envelope jet press. And we also have in the bindery, you know, cutting, folding, saddle-stitching, coil binding, die cutting, and two mailing lines.

Cary Sherburne: Wow, just about everything.

Brian Baarman: Yeah.

Cary Sherburne: So I understand that you’ve put a little bit of process automation in place. Maybe you could kind of walk us through how an order runs through your plant and how you’ve taken touches out of the process.

Brian Baarman: Well, certain aspects of the business haven’t changed a lot since we put—we put in the Pace System and DSF System. But a lot of the smaller jobs that tend to be, tend to sap up your time, we’ve changed into an automatic workflow with DSF.

Cary Sherburne: And just for our audience, DSF is…

Brian Baarman: Digital StoreFront.

Cary Sherburne: From EFI?

Brian Baarman: From EFI.

Cary Sherburne: And Pace is…

Brian Baarman: And Pace is also an EFI product.

Cary Sherburne: MIS?

Brian Baarman: Which is our MIS, yes.

Cary Sherburne: And so the jobs that come in through Digital StoreFront, what happens to them?

Brian Baarman: Well, for instance, a business card order that we have set up with a lot of our larger customers where they have internal people that change their titles or whatever, new hires or whatever, they’ll go on their own Digital StoreFront website, fill in their information, proof it on the website, and then they’ll create a PDF. That PDF when they submit the order Digital StoreFront communicates to Pace. Pace creates a job jacket automatically and that job jacket automatically gets emailed to the appropriate person in the prepress department who has to work on it. And that’s set up with RBA and Hot Folders and Rips, traps and poses, and gets sent to the…

Cary Sherburne: In Prinergy.

Brian Baarman: In Prinergy, and gets sent to the digital press. And after the digital press it goes through our business card slitter, and it’s done at that point.

Cary Sherburne: And then what happens in the shipping part, in fulfillment and shipping?

Brian Baarman: In fulfillment and—well, fulfillment, we have a lot of products that we house for our customers, and some of them are customer-owned and some of them are print on…

Cary Sherburne: Print to limited inventory kind of thing, yeah.

Brian Baarman: Yeah. And so they’ll come out on their website and they’ll order how many items of however many different products. And that also creates a job jacket in Pace automatically, and that job jacket is emailed to the guy who does the pick and pack in the warehouse. And he’s walking around the warehouse with an iPad and he gets the job jacket in his email. And then he does the pick and pack, and does the job costing in Pace, and ships the job right from his iPad from wherever he is in the plant.

Cary Sherburne: That’s terrific. That’s really exciting. So this process that you’ve gone through over the years, gradually introducing more and more automation, do you attribute a certain amount of your revenue growth or top line-bottom line growth to that?

Brian Baarman: Well, it’s made the orders that were more of a pain into something that was a non-issue. So we’re able to concentrate on the work that, you know, we really want to concentrate our efforts on. So I think it’s reduced labor and given us the ability to do a better job with the work that we really need to pay attention to.

Cary Sherburne: That’s great. Congratulations.

Brian Baarman: Thank you.

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