What is this new and latest buzzword sustainability? If I have offended you by calling it a buzzword I am not apologizing. Please do not misunderstand me; I think sustainability is a good thing. Smart printing businesses have been engaging in most if not all of the components of sustainability for years. The reason is quite simple – PROFIT.
Recycling is a key component to a sustainability program. Has anyone reading this been around long enough to remember the late Roger Dickeson’s War on Waste (WoW) waged by web printers back in the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s? Did they do this to be “green” or “sustainable?” Personally I think not – they did it to MAKE MORE MONEY!
Did the web printer I worked for in the 80’s and 90’s commit more resources to better segregation of waste paper streams, including office paper, to be green or sustainable? Did we find ways to recycle even the cores from our rolls of web paper to be more sustainable? No, we did these things to reduce the cost of waste disposal and increase the revenue received for recyclable product. The net result of course was that we became more sustainable and green.
I suspect the sustainability ‘consultants’ out there are screaming right now that he does not get it! While you may be right, I do understand that there are other components to a complete sustainability program including a social responsibility component. I am sure even the social responsibility component of sustainability, when properly executed, can and will result in more of that dirty word – PROFIT.
What caught my interest about sustainability is that improvement must be measurable. Then I got to thinking – if the sustainability movement repackaged WoW, what else have they repackaged and re-labeled? Deming’s Statistical Process Control (SPC) that’s what. The past twelve years of selling and servicing ColorMetrix color verification and process control software has provided me with a good knowledgebase in this area. I have also written quite a bit about the topic on this blog.
Since you can read all the past posts, I will keep my explanation of using process control in a sustainability campaign short and sweet. Following is a simplified ink jet proofing example:
- Establish a baseline of ‘bad’ proofs as a percentage of the total produced.
- Utilize color verification and process control tools like ColorMetrix and ProofPass.com to verify color quality of all proofs produced.
- Review process control charts and other data to establish when and why variation/drift is occurring.
- Fix/Improve the causes which can be fixed and improved, and learn to ignore the special causes.
- Return to step one and compare current results with the baseline.
SPC works and Quality is NOT free, it is instead an investment with a return.