In order to stay competitive in the printing industry, Asapri Holdings aggressively tackled work "visualization".
President Matsuoka says that visualization grew out of the need to clarify the per piece cost of the products and the need to capture as much revenue as possible during these challenging economic times. "I decided that we needed a system to get time data from the plant, so we developed a platform that added the concept of time management. We now know when each printing press in our group starts and finishes in real-time, and we use "Cost Meter," a proprietary system we developed in-house, to ascertain costs. The aim of introducing KP-Connect was to learn in real-time the status of the printing presses using IoT. Introducing KP-Connect not only provides visualization to the printing processes and the condition of each press, but it also provides valuable production data and reports to help our management team run production at the highest level of efficiency. Furthermore, by connecting KP-Connect to MIS, there now is a single point of data entry. In the past production meeting materials and analysis took half a day to create but now the data is easily exported to Excel, so management can review data specific to the press, the customer, the operator, and many more metrics. Automating areas that IT can handle allows us to focus on core work that only people can do and prevents entry mistakes and other human errors." Additionally, leveraging KP-Connect increases production efficiency and enables extra time to be used more effectively. The Asapri Group is developing "all-round" operators in order to use that time effectively.
"Komori printing presses perform at high level of efficiency but when work is not plentiful, we have to balance our production scheduling to ensure we maximize the operator's time. KP-Connect has allowed us to improve press performance but it also helps identify idle time for press operator. Due to the competitiveness of the market, this idle time put a strain on our profitability. Hence, operators are now multi-tasking as they are also in charge of cutting machine, folder, on-demand printing, packaging, shipping, and other tasks."
"If we can ascertain what is taking time, whether it be mounting the plate, registering, or color matching, we can standardize best practices for all our operators, and streamline the work with the PDCA cycle. Moving forward, as KP-Connect spreads to printing companies across Japan, we'll be able to benchmark our company and operators on a nationwide basis in terms of printing start-up speed, printing speed, and so on.
This is the potential of KP-Connect.
President Matsuoka also talked about the benefits of IoT through KP-Connect.
"As we are connected to Komori via IoT, we can remotely monitor pressroom productivity. Additionally, it is a useful tool to provide methods to make improvements and maintenance information."
A tool to ensure revenue and added value
As KP-Connect functions in the cloud, at Komori we take on user feedback and add new functions regularly. President Matsuoka says he's striving for further improvements in the future by using KP-Connect more effectively. "In order to fully utilize expensive printing presses, I would like to work together with Komori and other users. As a manager, KP-Connect enables us to reduce unexpected outsourcing as the printing schedule can be viewed in real-time, so it is a tool that lets us ensure added value is not lost to external parties and keep revenue in-house.
Our employees understand that competition in the printing industry is fierce. Hence, my message to the employees is that together we are going to make improvements to increase profitability and take full advantage of KP-Connect."