On Wednesday, July 15, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT, I'll moderate the first in a series of three WhatTheyThink webinars on a topic that couldn't be timelier: "Lean Management and Manufacturing" for graphic communications businesses. Our subject-matter expert will be Professor Kevin Cooper of the Graphic Communication Institute at Cal Poly (GrCi). I hope that all readers of this blog who are responsible for production management at printing companies will log in to hear him. What do we mean by "lean"? It's a total focus on eliminating waste in all of its forms, be it wasted material, wasted motion, or wasted time. It's about making everyone in the company an evangelist for practices like the "5S method" (sort, straighten, shine, standardize, and sustain) and the Kaizen commitment to continuous improvement. It's a discipline that every printing company can use to optimize its processes, add value to its services, and protect its hard-earned profits. The first installment on July 15 will cover foundations and basics. Professor Cooper returns on August 26 with "Cultural Imperatives in Becoming Lean." His GrCi colleague, Professor Kenneth L. Macro, Jr., wraps the series up on September 30 with "Sustainability, Lean and Knowledge Management." You can learn more and register for the seminars here. The cost is $99 per installment, or $267 for all three. An Internet connection and a Flash-enabled web browser are all that's needed to participate. Participants can purchase Lean Printing: Pathway to Success, a textbook co-authored by Professor Cooper, for $20 (a 50% discount) from PIA. They'll also be entitled to one free consultation via e-mail. Like all WhatTheyThink webinars, "Lean Management and Manufacturing" will be a fully interactive learning experience. I'll be looking forward to monitoring your questions and presenting them to Professor Cooper as he teaches how to build the lean muscle tissue that every printing company needs for survival in a hyper-competitive business environment.