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Make Your Offset Press Makeready Faster

If a press isn't running, it isn't making money.  That reality motivates pressrooms to make their makereadies faster and more efficient on their offset presses.  As a pressman of 22 years, I would like to share with you five essential ingredients to making your makeready better.  Each printing press is unique in complexity and size, but these principles will help any pressman to take their makeready efficiency to the next level.  In many ways, you will see it's not much different than a formula one pit stop.  So here goes.

1.  Make A Checklist

A glorified makeready.
It doesn't matter how wonderful of a pressman you are, no one is perfect.  Forgetting one simple step in a makeready can cause many headaches.  A checklist ensures this doesn't happen.  Make it as detailed as you want, outlining all the settings and adjustments that need to be made.  Moreover, it should tell you in what order they can be done.  The less you have to think all the steps out when you shut down the press, the better.  Look at the picture.  Is anyone trying to figure out what to do next?  The steps should be simple and in order.  It should serve as a standard for the pressroom.

2.  Be Ready

Before the next jobs starts, there should be steps in the makeready list that can be done while the previous job is running: eg. getting paper ready, setting out plates, tools ready, etc.  Get everything laid out and ready to go.  No one in the picture was looking for a tire when the car came.  They were ready.

Additionally, each crew member should have clear in mind what is required before the next scheduled pit stop.  They should be given an assignment that they are experienced at and can do quickly.  No doubt the crew above rehearsed in their mind what they were going to do.  Take the time to explain procedures clearly before the press goes down.

3.  Use Your Manpower

This makeready consists of 19 people.
Everyone should be busy during the makready.  If they're not, there is a lack of organization.  You might ask yourself, why are there three guys changing the tire?  One could do it just fine.  The problem of course is that the car would have to wait - unacceptable.  The point:  all should be busy doing everything to get the press back up quickly.

The sponsor of the race car doesn't seem to think it's a waste of time to have the personnel ready for the change, and the same applies to the pressroom.  It's worth every penny to have the manpower available to reduce downtime. 

4.  Standard Settings

Every press has proven settings that work.  Once these settings are achieved, record them and use them for your future makeready lists. 

5.  Motivation

Make time the benchmark of a makeready.
Every pressman is motivated by something, even if it's just his pride.  Challenge the press crew.  Set a goal or benchmark and aim for it.  Communicate the objective to everyone.  In formula racing, a nine second stop is considered very good.  The press crew should also know what time they're aiming for.  It's a good motivator.  Have a way to measure success and encourage input from the other pressmen as to how improvement can be made. 

Achieving a good makeready comes with experience and time.  In my experience, if you follow these simple principles, you will have fast makeready times and your offset printing pressroom will be profitable.

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