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Here's the Screen Printer's Map to Getting Leaner and Meaner

How implementing lean processes will build a culture of continuous improvement, ultimately leading to more sales.




IN THE Screen Printing January/February 2023 edition, Lukas Holland, an expert in Lean manufacturing, shares ways screen printers can continuously find small ways to improve and cut waste to create more value. The byproduct of implementing Lean and focusing on growing people and building a culture of continuous improvement is more efficiency and better quality, leading to higher sales with higher profit margins, as well as happier employees who enjoy work.

Here’s what the Brain Squad has to say about Lean manufacturing in their businesses.

  • Now you’re speaking my language! We are a Lean shop! Lean junkies here. Cory from Floodway and I were hosting a weekly YouTube live on Lean processes in the screen printing industry until this spring and we both got super busy and the weekly lives got put on hiatus. We use a TON of Lean processes in our shop including 3S, KanBan card system for supply upkeep, and dozens of QR codes “putting the answer where the question is” throughout our shop. There are only benefits to Lean. You can listen to 2 Second Lean by Paul Akers for free on YouTube and access a ton of free Lean materials and education on Fast Cap’s lean portal website. — Scott Garnett, King Screen
  • I set up the Lean Clubhouse group and found discussing our lean practices really rewarding. Continuous Improvement is a great habit to get into, which makes you take time to improve instead of being in the trap of being too busy to innovate. We now take time every Friday to work on studio development, experimenting, and fixing processes. — Chessie Rosier-Parker, Squeegee and Ink
  • Yes, on many levels for many years. It’s about reducing waste, which ultimately means saving time. — Mark Coudray, Coudray Growth Tech
  • No, we do not have a lean manufacturing program in place. We are always looking at ways to streamline production times and reduce costs and waste, but we do not have a formal process in place. — Charlie Vetters, Organic Robot Designs
  • Yes, to a degree. We are constantly aiming to improve our process so we can get more total work done in less time. I have read 2 SECOND LEAN and the TOYOTA WAY as well as other Lean-focused books. We focus on small changes we hope lead to a big impact in the future. — Joe Ortinau, Ortinau Art
  • No. We should, as we employ a lot of wasted time. We are old and don’t want to try new tricks except with quality of print improvements. — John Wilhelmsen, Distinct Impression
  • Lean manufacturing benefits us in many ways, like maximizing productivity with minimal waste and long-term savings overall. — J Jeetendra, The Print Specialist
  • Every day is a constant aim to better our system. Job flow control, trackers, ordering systems, automation. It’s a constant learning process. — Ron Augelli,
  • I’ve been trying to implement lean processes. Somedays it works, other days it doesn’t. There is a lot to fine tune. — Nate Hansen, Hansen Screen Printing
  • Constantly on the Lean, just need to get everyone else thinking the same way. — Shannon McKinnon, Aisle 6ix
  • Sort of. Kevin Solomon from Night Owls has been helping us. — Steven Farag, Campus Ink
  • No, although in production we try to keep material flowing directly into the workflow meeting with prepped art/screens/inks, etc. In our situation, we are remote, so materials from suppliers, especially inks or things from the USA, we actually order ahead and warehouse so they are always available. With shirts or paper, they are ordered in response to a job and don’t hang around that long. — Andy MacDougall, MacDougall Screen Printing
  • Yes, always improving. Constantly finding time saving techniques and have hired many Lean consultants throughout the year. — Eric Solomon, Night Owls
  • Yes. It is the only reason we can compete with overseas production. We can get the finished goods to them one month after they order. Also, getting the goods here last-minute helps with storage space and often we can get paid from our customer before we have to pay for the blanks. — Matthew Pierrot, GetBOLD – T-shirt Printing and Embroidery
  • Yes. Always. BTW, Lean is not aimed primarily at reducing time only. Lean is about being more effective. You want to maximize productivity while minimizing waste. — Marshall Atkinson, Atkinson Consulting

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a screen-printing business, you’re invited to join the Screen Printing Brain Squad. Take one five-minute quiz a month, and you’ll be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting screen-printing pros. Sign up here.



Let’s Talk About It

Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Screen Printing Industry

LET’S TALK About It: Part 3 discusses how four screen printers have employed people with disabilities, why you should consider doing the same, the resources that are available, and more. Watch the live webinar, held August 16, moderated by Adrienne Palmer, editor-in-chief, Screen Printing magazine, with panelists Ali Banholzer, Amber Massey, Ryan Moor, and Jed Seifert. The multi-part series is hosted exclusively by ROQ.US and U.N.I.T.E Together. Let’s Talk About It: Part 1 focused on Black, female screen printers and can be watched here; Part 2 focused on the LGBTQ+ community and can be watched here.

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