Anyone planning to attend the opening session at PODi AppForum 2015 should be ready for action when they sit down for Cory Sawatzki’s seemingly harmless-sounding workshop, “How to Analyze Production Workflows”. Sawatzki, whose contemporaries liken his newly-independent status as a consultant to “letting the tiger out of the cage”, is anything but mild when he hits the podium.
“I’ve reviewed Cory’s presentation and found it to be exciting, engaging and right on the money for anyone with operational responsibility,” says Greg Cholmondeley, PODi Workflow Analyst. “We’ve scheduled it as the first session on Monday to set the tone for the rest of the conference.”
Not the Cost of Doing Business
“I’m not saying too much that people don’t already suspect,” Sawatzki, whose career includes more than a decade as Technology Director of Consolidated Graphics’ (now part of RR Donnelley) 70+ production facilities, explains. “But I’ll be shining a light on things that make them uncomfortable, which are typically things they mistakenly assume are the costs of doing business.” Sawatzki, whose consulting firm is called SpotlightPro, says that dealing with those obstacles head-on, though, is going to turn any production facility into a lean, efficient, profit-making machine.
A Different Approach Delivers Success
One of several approaches that make Sawatzki’s brand of production workflow analysis and recommendations for change so successful is his immediate attention to the company culture – and more specifically, the people who work there.
“Functions yield quantifiable facts,” Sawatzki says, citing the example of the FedEx driver who suggested that all drivers stop making left turns, resulting in millions of dollars in savings every year.
“Everyone has value; not just in what they do, but also what they think. Someone who packs your boxes could tell you something that could save you millions, too,” Sawatzki says. “It’s amazing how things really click, organically, when the whole operation is bought in, brought in, and benefitting.”
Prepare to Be Challenged
Sawatzki will challenge attendees the moment the door closes, requesting that they tell him why they came to the session, and what they came to learn. Audience members should pack caffeine and be ready to listen and participate, because Sawatzki says he is not interested in giving a speech. “It’s a workshop,” he says, “and so I’m looking for honesty and conversation. You’re wasting your time if you aren’t going to get involved, whether in front of us or privately, with me.”
So while Sawatzki can be intense — 20 major production-related topics, including Sales, Estimating, Prepress, Cutting, Fulfillment, and Shop Floor Tracking; all pepper a slide called “Where do I start?” – he is also quick to share a laugh. Just following the migraine-inducing list of 20 production processes is a slide displaying a single picture of “spaghetti wire”, along with a simple caption: My head already hurts….
Plus, with PODi AppForum being in Vegas, and Vegas being Vegas, Sawatzki evidently feels no session is complete without at least a few inside tips on playing the tables.
Gambling, however unacceptable in print production, is what owners and managers end up doing when they bet on old processes, technology acquired at different times and for different reasons, and new customers or new types of jobs from existing customers. And so Sawatzki goes on to share more insider tips, to help those in supervisory roles to better spot bottlenecks and deeply buried problems.
For example, Sawatzki says that “your trash tells a great story!”; in this section talking about inventory inconsistencies, stocks that cause jams, bad color, bindery issues, and ink waste.
Other topics to be addressed include:
Communicating with the Sales Team
“I look forward to meeting everyone at the AppForum,” Sawatzki says. “We have a lot to talk about.”
If you haven’t yet registered for PODi AppForum 2015, May 11-13 at Harrah’s, Las Vegas, go to www.appforum.org and register using code AF15_Press50 for half off the conference price.