Part I: Bindery Machine Baseline and Goals

Part I: Bindery Machine Baseline and Goals

Part I: Bindery Machine Baseline and Goals

Daniel Penn - How to...

Printing operation employees dramatically boost output and reduce scrap with set-up reduction events that improve flow, standardize work, and slash waste.

When there’s no let-up on orders, and your operation is fighting to avoid a backlog, it’s time to examine what is slowing things down internally.

A national printing and direct marketing company hired Daniel Penn Associates to support employee-led problem-solving in two Kaizen events designed to slash set-up times, speed changeovers, and improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) for its bindery and inserter operations.

The objective? Focus on one pilot bindery machine and one pilot inserter machine, then apply improvements across all machines in each department. Our two-part blog shows how the company’s employees made substantial changes to each operation with impressive productivity gains.

The company’s 12 bindery machines produced 267,692,472 pieces over 12 months, with 510 hours of changeover time and 515 hours of roll time. The bindery team aimed to reduce those hours by 50%. At an average production rate of 18,000 pieces per hour, they projected that by slashing set-up times in half, the machines would produce an additional 9,225,000 pieces yearly. Additionally, by improving set-up practices, the goal was to reduce material damage at start-up from 8% to 2%, adding 550,800 saleable pieces annually.

Bindery Machine Findings

The bindery machine Kaizen event focused on reducing set-up/changeover time for one of the bindery machines as a pilot, then applying improvements across all 12 machines in the department. The team recorded an 85.8-minute set-up time that would have been 10 minutes longer if employees had waited for paperwork. They observed the machine’s crew walking back and forth with unnecessary steps because processes were not set up logically. Tools were not easily available at their point of use. Quality standards were painted a barely visible light gray on the floor, leading to disagreement on actual procedures.

The team identified major quality issues with the finished product (borders not lining up, bar codes falling off, bad cut quality, paper wrinkling, strip cut sticking, wrong paper on roll cores) related to ill-defined machine maintenance tooling and procedures and operator instructions.

Generating Improvement Ideas

The team identified 72 areas for improving the bindery machine set-up. Improvements included the need to prepare the line ahead of time, establishing slit marks on paper rolls, establishing recipes in the cutter, using fixed or pre-determined cut marks to set up the cutter, using folder scales to set up the folder, and eliminating the need for machine adjustments by standardizing bolts and screws.


After 90 days, the team implemented 96% of the improvement activities, which reduced set-up time from 85.8 minutes to 31.8 minutes, a 63% improvement. Meanwhile, the scrap rate fell from 8% to 0.5%. These improvements allow the production of an additional 1.6 million pieces per month, or 19.2 million per year, for the two bindery machines. Bindery machine team members no longer need to produce set-up roles or work on Saturdays. The dramatic increase in capacity for the bindery machines positively impacts the operation’s upstream processing. Best of all, the improvements now allow the company to serve two to three new customers.

Bindery Machine Before and After

TaskBefore (Minutes)After (Minutes)
Static Bars2.20
85.8 Minutes31.8 Minutes

Stay tuned for our next blog to learn how we reduced set-up times and scrap in the printing operation’s inserter machines.

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