Printing and publishing are the result of a production process. As a result, Lean and Six Sigma are appropriate methodologies to achieve improvement.

We’ll look at a Malaysian case study of applying Lean and Six Sigma in printing.

Then we’ll finish with two more general articles: one on Lean Six Sigma generic project definitions in publishing, and another on the barriers to implementing Lean techniques in printing firms. These will be useful to anyone in those industries considering Lean and Six Sigma.

Malaysia: Lean Six Sigma in a Printing Company

In an article titled “Implementing the Lean Six Sigma Framework in a Small Medium Enterprise (SME) – A Case Study in a Printing Company,” authors Joshua Chan Ren Jie, Shahrul Kamaruddin, and Ishak Abd Azid discuss the application of Lean Six Sigma to label printing.

Tools used in the study include:

  • Value Stream Map
  • Pareto Chart
  • Root Cause Identification
  • Fish Bone Analysis
  • 5 Whys

Their work led to a capacity increase of 21.93% in impressions/hour on one machine.

You can access the article here. 

Lean Six Sigma Project Definitions for Publishing

“Generic Lean Six Sigma project Definitions in Publishing” article by authors

Henk de Koning, Ronald J.M.M. Does, Arjan Groen, and Benjamin P.H. Kemper

The authors state, “The purpose of this paper is to facilitate the process of defining LSS projects in publishing, because lack of a clear definition is an important cause for project failure.”

They list eight project categories:

(1) Revenue improvement by servicing more customers.

(2) Cost reduction by improving efficiency of processes.

(3) Improvement of customer satisfaction and processing efficiency.

(4) EBIT improvement by reducing discounts and cost of sales channel.

(5) Cost reduction by improving efficiency of internal processes and sourcing most effective suppliers.

(6) Cost reduction by improving forecasting.

(7) Working capital reduction by improving cash management and fast delivery.

(8) Marketing effectiveness improvement.

They then discuss each of the categories by dissecting a sample of 49 Lean Six Sigma projects carried out in a multinational publishing company.

You can read their article here. 

Barriers to Lean Implementation in Printing

This is the master’s thesis of Sandeep Yellined from Rochester Institute of Technology titled     “Barriers to Implementation of Lean Techniques in Printing Firms and the Impact of Implementation.” 

Sandeep lists one of the major objectives of his thesis research. 

“One objective of this research was to examine the reasons that impede firms in the printing industry from implementing Lean techniques and also seek to assess the familiarity of these techniques among the managers in the industry and observe the possible relationship between the size of the organization and the impact on the implementation of Lean practices.”

To achieve this, he conducted a structured survey of firms. 336 surveys were sent out and 73 were received back for analysis. 

You can access the thesis here.