For those that went to the 2019 User Group meeting you may remember Jordan introducing us to the recipient and assigned/designer feature on the manager side of PSP. Campus Graphics (CG) has been utilizing the assigned/designer drop down box to passively allocate the job to a designer, but that was about it. While Jordan was talking about the drop down fields, I was thinking to myself “there has to be a better way to utilize this feature in PSP.”
Since January my team of creatives and production staff have been trying to improve the efficiency in the approval process for our college outreach collateral. At our college any printed or online material that might reach the public is required to be filtered by the Public Affairs department, and thus CG has to divert these print/design requests to Public Affairs who resides in another building with its own staff and competing workload.
The current workflow of the approval process took, on average, 72 hours to complete and had non-value added waste in the form of excess processing, waiting, transportation/motion, excess paper and worse of all defects as time sensitive jobs could easily get lost in the process.
A week after the PSP User Group, during our weekly production meeting, I asked my team how we can better utilize the assigned/designer feature. Because we all steeped in Lean/Six Sigma thinking, it did not take long for the team to come up with a way to use the assigned/designer drop box to automate the approval process. Here is a brief snapshot of what they came up:
- A job comes into CG, if the job requires approval CG staff toggles the assigned/designer field to PA Approval. This automatically sends an email alert to PA staff that there is a job that needs approval. No job tickets are printed or transported, and the job is marked as “Pending Approval” status.
- After PA staff approves or edits the file they mark status as “Reviewed by PA” and an email is sent to CG staff
- If approved, CG staff releases job to production/design and assigns the designer in the drop down box. If not approved, CG sends edited file back to customer for corrections.
What used to take 72 hours now takes 4, an improvement of 94%, and a monetary savings in staff time of $8,600 per year in salary/benefits! My design time has 5 more hours a week doing what they do best, designing and being creative, and not steeped in the minutiae of paperwork.
In addition, we use the assigned/designer feature to automatically populate a new job in Trello, which we use as our Kanban production workflow software. This saves me around 15 minutes per job, as estimates are now converted to active jobs with two mouse clicks. Job specifications are posted online with 100% accuracy as the specifications are pulled from PSP.
Examine for yourself how the assigned/designer feature can automate your processes and save you valuable staff time. If you are interested in viewing the flowchart of the approval improvement project above, please visit the PSP Forum on the edu Business Solutions website and leave your comments and questions.
Gordon Rivera has over 20 years of experience working in an in-plant print shop. He is currently Supervisor of Campus Graphics at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California. He received his degree in Graphic Communications from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt as well as a G7 certified print professional. He is a contributing writer for In-Plant Graphics Magazine. Gordon has been teaching evening classes in Graphic Communication at Cal Poly for 10+ years. Gordon has been a Print Shop Pro® User since 2008.