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With the challenges we are dealing with in the current financial upheaval, it becomes even more important to look for way that printers can reduce costs and improve their EBITDA. Organizations that analyze and optimize workflows, invest in advanced technologies, embrace implementation of best practices and streamlining processes will deliver high-quality services while minimizing costs and maximizing customer satisfaction.

Operational improvement can be defined as:

“The process of enhancing various aspects of your operation to achieve greater efficiency, productivity, and overall performance.”

In our experience, the following key areas will have immediate positive results on your operation:

Workflow Optimization

The printing process has complex workflows involving graphic design, direct to press, direct to print, traditional prepress, both digital or litho printing, bindery, direct mail, finishing, pick pack and distribution. By identifying bottlenecks and optimizing the sequence of tasks, printers can reduce lead times, eliminate redundant steps, and improve overall productivity. These processes can be achieved through the use of automation, digital workflows, and project management tools or an outside resource who can make recommendations that are suitable for your operation.

Lean Manufacturing Principles

Applying lean manufacturing principles to printing operations can significantly improve efficiency and reduce waste. This involves eliminating non-value-added activities, optimizing inventory management, and implementing just-in-time production methods. Lean principles also encourage continuous improvement and employee involvement in identifying and resolving operational issues. Many organizations are introducing Kaizen which is an approach to creating continuous improvement based on the idea that small, ongoing positive changes can reap significant improvements. Typically, this approach is based on cooperation and commitment and stands in contrast to approaches that use radical or top-down changes to achieve transformation. Many organizations have a Kaizen Leader who acts as a champion.

Advanced Printing Technologies

The continuing development in technology of toner or ink jet-based printers, both black and white and colour as well as the increasing substrates that they are able to print on has seen significant advancements, such as ‘on demand digital printing’, variable data printing, and web-to-print solutions. By adopting these technologies, printing companies can improve speed, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. Digital printing allows for shorter print runs, flexibility by queuing jobs with faster turnaround times, and customization options which reduce the need for traditional offset printing.

Quality Control & Assurance

Implementing robust quality control measures is crucial for maintaining consistent and high-quality printing output. This includes investing in quality inspection, implementing standardized processes, and conducting regular audits. By minimizing errors and defects, printing companies can reduce waste, rework, and customer complaints. If an organization accepts the principles of a Kaizen Environment, they will embrace continual Improvement and a culture of ‘doing it right the first time’.

Supply Chain Management

Over the past two years most printers experienced major challenges to acquire Raw materials. Now that the supply chain has improved it is critical to Cash Flow to ensure there is an efficient supply chain management, many organizations develop MIS systems that allow for optimum inventory levels and awareness for critical reorder points. Ensuring timely availability of raw materials, managing vendor relationships, and optimizing logistics can result in cost savings and improved customer satisfaction.

Environmental Sustainability = Customer Sustainability

Most printers are increasingly focusing on environmentally sustainable practices. Implementing eco-friendly initiatives, such as using recycled paper and vegetable-based inks, optimizing energy usage, and adopting waste reduction strategies, not only benefits the environment but also improves operational efficiency and reduces costs. The government is also implementing regulations that will force organizations to change, so look for a cost-effective way of compliance.

Employee Training, Development & Retention

Printers all are suffering from the same issue: how do we attract new people into the industry? In order to continue to grow and maintain profitability, we must invest in people. Organizations recruit from technical colleges or universities. CFR has a strong bond with these institutions across Canada. Investing in the training and development of current and future employees is essential for operational improvement. Equipping staff with the necessary skills and knowledge enables them to perform their tasks more efficiently and effectively. Continuous training programs keep employees updated on new technologies, industry trends, and best practices, fostering a culture of innovation and improvement. Change the culture of the organization to a “Can Do” mindset, which resonates throughout.

Operational improvement involves a “top to bottom” approach that encompasses all aspects of the printing process.

By embracing technological advancements, optimizing workflows, implementing quality control measures, and investing in employee development, companies can enhance their competitiveness, improve EBITDA, deliver superior print products, and achieve sustainable growth.

But most off all: retain clients and attracted new customers.

Is your company in need of a tune up? Contact us! Our experts are here to help.


Howard Conway has over 40 years of experience in implementing process improvement, cost realignment, quality methods, and operational re-engineering in industries ranging from consumer goods through to printing and digital printing applications and services. Howard has held a number of senior management positions in a wide range of print communication organizations, where he has led teams to implemented improvement to EBITDA and shareholder value. His leadership methods have enabled smooth cultural change as well as enthusiastic approaches to customer service, creating a “Can Do” culture. To get in touch with Howard, contact us.