Subject: Continuous Improvement Conference Newsletter: March 2018

Continuous Improvement Newsletter
March 2018
Selecting Metrics to Drive Improvement

Many companies recognize the importance of business metrics or key performance indicators to gauge some component of their company's performance. For example, companies often track their spoilage, which we depended on during our recent survey on spoilage. Far fewer companies consider the potential for KPIs to positively impact employee engagement and behavior management.

The top rated session at the 2017 Continuous Improvement Conference—Making the Needle Move: Selecting Metrics that Drive World Class Behaviors and Results—dealt with this very topic. Delivered by a former operations head for Philips Respironics (a leader in sleep therapy equipment), the session delved into the concepts for how to use KPIs to propel improvement.

Eric Kulikowski points out the ABCs of good metrics: actionable, balanced, and clean and clear to employees. He also proposes a specific system for selecting metrics to make sure all key aspects of company operations are covered. His philosophy is that the primary purpose of metrics should be to drive change, improvement, and behaviors, not merely to track progress.

The hour-long session was recently repeated as a webinar and can be watched by PIA member firms for free (others for $39). Access the webinar recording (members must be logged in to

There will be two sessions on metrics at this year’s Continuous Improvement Conference, focusing on collecting and using specific metrics tailored to printing companies.

Is Your Spoilage Rate Cause for Concern?

Printing companies are, on average, enjoying the highest level of profitability since before the Great Recession. Growth, however, may have been accommodated with decisions counterproductive to reducing waste. To find out what typical spoilage rates are for printing companies, PIA conducted a survey at the end of 2017. The aim was to better understand the extent that spoilage is tracked, how statistics are calculated, and more importantly, the range and average of spoilage levels by size and type of company

One of the sessions at the Continuous Improvement Conference (April 8-11 in Chicago) will feature a presentation on the results, along with a case study of how GLS Companies has reduced its waste. To whet your appetite, here are a few of the survey’s preliminary findings: 

  • 75% of companies reported less than 2% spoilage. The average was about 3%. The highest was well over 10%.
  • 73% of the companies calculate their spoilage rate based on sales revenue (12% calculate based on value added and 15% via a different method). 
  • Slightly less than half the responding companies are obsessive about spoilage, striving to track every incident of unsaleable product, rework, and wasted materials, regardless of dollar amount. 
  • 38% of companies used full-loaded costs (including machine costs and overhead) to account for spoilage.
  • Half of the companies said they have a financial incentive—profit sharing, spoilage-related bonuses, or other—that makes reducing spoilage lucrative for employees.

Want to know more, such as the corporate behaviors that correlated with low spoilage rates and the impact of employee financial incentives? We invite you to come to the conference to find out.

Become an Improvement Professional in Print!

Does this description fit you?
  • You’re a professional dedicated to improving processes in your organization.
  • You operate with an eye on the goals of increasing customer satisfaction, speeding production, and reducing costs.
  • You are, in short, a devoted practitioner of continuous improvement.
If so, you’re an ideal candidate to become a certified Improvement Professional in Print! Printing Industries of America developed the Improvement Professional in Print (IPP) certification program to validate the expertise of industry professionals who help companies pursue operational excellence using the concepts of Lean manufacturing and other management and quality systems.

Eligible candidates must be able to pass the 100-question IPP certification exam. The best way to prepare for the exam is to study the IPP Body of Knowledge which includes seven short self-paced online classes and three books put together by industry experts.

Find out more about achieving certification at

Conference Registration 

The 2018 Continuous Improvement Conference (April 8–11 in Chicago) is the only industry event focused on helping printing and converting companies achieve operational excellence by using the concepts of Lean manufacturing and other management and quality systems. Attendees directly link reduced costs, lowered waste, and increased profit margins to ideas gained from conference presentations and networking.

Whether you’re starting a structured improvement program or are looking for ways to sustain and improve your existing efforts, the conference has content specifically designed for your knowledge level. There will be 30 speakers, 25 presentations, 7 networking and social sessions, 3 pre-conference workshops, 2 plant tours, and several hundred attendees.

To register and learn more about the event, visit

301 Brush Creek, Warrendale, PA 15086, United States
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