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PIA/GATF Center for Lean Practices Formed

Press release from the issuing company

Pittsburgh, PA, June 7, 2007 -- The Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (PIA/GATF) announced the formation of a Center for Lean Practices to assist members with the implementation of Lean Manufacturing practices. The Center will provide consulting, training, publications, and a speaker’s bureau.

The association reports that printers are increasingly recognizing the power of applying quality systems to their operations in an effort to reduce defects, expose wasted resources, and improve throughput. Lean Manufacturing is one way for members to meet client demands for faster turnaround, and stay cost competitive while protecting profit margins, according to PIA/GATF. Lean’s focus on driving out waste is also seen as critical for companies competing globally.

Ken Rizzo, PIA/GATF’s director of consulting, will oversee the Center’s activities. He has been involved with Lean for over 20 years, including writing and teaching about concepts before Lean became popular in American industry. Prior to re-joining PIA/GATF, Ken served as process engineer for offset printing for Rock-Tenn Company, where he led numerous lean manufacturing projects, including Kaizen events, 5S, setup reduction, and total productive maintenance.

Joining Rizzo as a lead trainer/consultant is Rhonda Huskins, a full-time Lean Manufacturing consultant with the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership. A certified Lean Manufacturing specialist, Huskins has over 20 years of manufacturing and senior engineering expertise in printing and other industries.  Most recently Huskins was the director of continual Improvement for Wikoff Color Corporation, a manufacturer of printing inks and coatings.

“We continue to expand our resources to help members become better manufacturers,” said Michael Makin, president and CEO of PIA/GATF. “Lean thinking is a great way to expose and fix sources of waste that stay hidden from many print managers. The Center will be a catalyst for members to apply the lessons of lean, with the added advantage that the services will be delivered by people that know the printing industry.”

Makin pointed out that this is not PIA/GATF’s first involvement with Lean Manufacturing. Each April it conducts the industry’s only conference—the PIA/GATF Continuous Improvement Network Annual Conference—focused on manufacturing and process excellence. Attendance has grown as Lean applications and case studies have been added to the agenda.

The Center’s first workshop, Lean Manufacturing for Print Managers, is scheduled September 25–27 at the PIA/GATF Training Center in Pittsburgh. A second workshop on value-stream mapping and 5S is also planned, as is a series of related workbooks.

Additional information on the PIA/GATF Center for Lean Practices is available at www.gain.net (“Research and Consulting”) or by calling Ken Rizzo at 1-800-910-4283 ext. 835.