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NorQuest Completes Lean Manufacturing Tour

May 22, 2012  By

NorQuest College’s Centre for Excellence in Print Media finished up a series of five lean manufacturing seminars across Western Canada, based on $77,500 in funding provided by the National Research Council Canada.

Hosted by NorQuest’s Centre for Excellence in Print Media (CEPM), the one-day Lean Learn-and-Do seminar series was facilitated by CEPM Principal Josh Ramsbottom and printing-industry expert Dr. Ken Macro. Having previously spent two months with NorQuest’s printing program as a visiting professor, Macro co-authored the book Lean Printing: Pathways to Success.

The series made stops at post-secondary institutions and provincial associations in the key Canadian cities of Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg and Vancouver. Because of the government funding, CEPM was able to charge printers just $79 (including breakfast and lunch) to attend the workshops, designed to help small- and medium-sized printers engage in lean manufacturing. The workshops specifically focused on three key steps that an average printer can easily implement with little to no cost to their company. 


More than 70 printing professionals from 35 companies attended the seminars, which Ramsbottom says indicates a strong interest level in lean principles from the Canadian print industry. “It was great to see the number of printing companies that recognize the value of the programs we support,” said Ramsbottom. “We look forward to offering more training and informational seminars in the future.”

“I’ve studied various efficiency models and flavour-of-the-month business systems over the years, but none of those experiences came close to delivering the practical tools we were exposed to in CEPM’s lean seminar,” said Rick Kroeker, President of Calgary’s Little Rock Document Services Ltd. “I particularly appreciated how we can define and solve one small problem at a time. It helps keep tasks easily managed.”

Dan Matthys, Sales and Business Development Manager of Capital Printing and Forms in Edmonton, also found the workshop worthwhile. “It was an eye opener and very motivating,” said Matthys. “The CEPM provided information on the evolution of the print communications industry and how it compares with the manufacturing sector as a whole.”

As a follow up to the workshops, the CEPM will be working with three selected print companies in Western Canada on three-day onsite planning sessions. Both the seminars and the planning sessions are supported by National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program.

“Offering this level of education directly to industry would not be possible without the NRC’s generous support,” said Ramsbottom. “It demonstrates the government’s commitment to our industry. We hope more printers in Western Canada take advantage of these resources and the programs the CEPM brings to market.”

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