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MAN Roland's first customer conference for commercial web presses a success

Press release from the issuing company

October 12, 2007 -- "The number one item I learned was to focus on the total process of printing. If we are going to keep productivity high and waste low on our MAN Roland press for years to come, we need to have a total process approach to the training, start-up and ongoing preventative maintenance of the press."
So says Peter Doyle, vice president of manufacturing at Hi-Liter/Inland Graphics, describing his participation in MAN Roland's first Commercial Customers Conference. The event, which was themed "a partnership focused on your success," was conducted at Chicago's James Hotel in conjunction with Graph Expo.
The centerpiece of the conference was a presentation by Jason Elliott, Director of Service Support Operations at MAN Roland Inc. His topic: "Maximize Performance to Increase Profitability."
"Process improvement initiatives hold the key to an efficient workflow, production repeatability, reduced costs and increased profitability," Elliott told the group. He then went on to cover such essentials as press maintenance, training, and the effective use of MAN Roland's
PECOM web press automation and operating system.
"Optimum performance doesn't just happen by accident," remarked Elliott. "It's a culmination of strong operating processes, focused maintenance procedures, utilization of the press automation, and investment in personnel development. When you put all of these points together, you will reach your full potential."
Elliott's advice was well received, according to the comments provided by conference participants.
"I was impressed with MAN's bold stance regarding makeready waste and running speed," says Daniel Sand of Minnesota's Nahan Printing, which is ramping up the first 10-unit ROTOMAN press in North America. "Because of this, my expectations have gone up and those are in the process of being woven into performance expectations."
Performance was also on the mind of Tim Pink, Pressroom Supervisor
of Valassis' facility in Durham, North Carolina: "We are taking a look at how we are optimizing our products to better utilize the PECOM system. We are currently doing this slightly different than what we heard at the conference."
Peter Doyle was interested in establishing a production routine from scratch, since Hi-Liter/Inland is in the process of starting up North America's first EUROMAN press. "The process approach is especially critical with the PECOM system," he says. "The press and its systems will need to remain calibrated to achieve the total benefit of this press control and automation system. Our operators need to have standardized methods for setting up and operating the press."
Conference Benefits Users
Douglas Bradley, Vice President, Web Service at MAN Roland, sees the conference as a way to get customers together in a forum where everyone can benefit from one another. "All of our customers are faced with the challenge of reducing their operating costs so they can remain competitive in their market," he said. "We developed the Commercial Customers Conference to focus on the topics that have the greatest impact on the key metrics of their business. Through interactive discussion and structured presentation, we can share ideas to help everyone improve their operational performance."
Bradley added that MAN Roland newspaper web press customers have already formed one of the industry's most successful users groups, called MANRUG. "That organization has its own website, conducts well-attended annual conferences, and has a highly active membership," Bradley said. "There's no reason why our commercial web press users shouldn't enjoy the same benefits of a conference like this."
Doyle agreed, noting that advanced planning and openness are the keys to group success. "Users groups work best when the participating companies share their thoughts and opinions openly," he says. "My hope is that we will have several companies attend that are driven to get the most out of their press and realize that they can't afford to pass up the opportunity to improve."
Valassis' Tim Pink benefited from what he heard at the customer conference. "I liked the format," he says. "I came away with more knowledge on the PECOM system."
Dan Sand at Nahan sees his participation in a users group as a way to build up experience quickly. "Since we are a new MAN Roland user, I would like get a better understanding about how often others are finding it necessary to perform roller settings and roller maintenance," he explains. "Then I would like to get feedback from others that have the same model press as ours."
"We would attend the user group meetings to share and compare our level of press performance against that of other printers," notes Peter Doyle. "Ideally we would compare our best practices and processes with better practices and processes. We view the user group as part of our continuous improvement effort."
The customer conference concluded with a question and answer session that featured a panel of technical and operational experts from MAN Roland's printservices team. The dialogue flowed openly between the group on various topics including training, color management, PECOM and process improvement.
Plans are not yet finalized but Bradley confirms that the Commercial Customers Conference will be repeated in 2008.  "We are really happy with how the conference rolled out," he commented. "We continually focus on ways we can impact our customers' success. We see this event as another way we can help our customers improve their operational performance and profitability."