Business Center

Print Shop Lean Process Breaks New Ground

By Dennis Van Patter, CDOT Communications Office
July 24, 2013

When CDOT hosted a lean process Rapid Improvement Event the week of July15-19, at least two major 'firsts' were established.

These included CDOT's first attempt to undertake a process improvement project involving as many as four other state agencies, and the first attempt in the state to apply Lean principles to the state's printing and quick copy services.

Currently, five Colorado state agencies have print shops, but two of those (Colorado Department of Revenue [DOR] and Colorado Department of Labor & Employment [CDLE]) are being phased out.  That leaves the Department of Personnel & Administration's (DPA) central print center, and print shops at CDOT and its nearby northern neighbor, the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).

The team had a lot to consider, given the changing environment of printing and how state employees and customers receive vital information from state agencies.  Topics for discussion included approaching obsolescence of much of the state print shop equipment; how to re-engineer processes to provide more timely print services delivery; providing backup locations for all print shop operations; cooperative buying; and interagency agreements.  The goal of all of these discussions was to figure out ways to provide seamless customer service.

On the first day of the weeklong event, not everyone was sure where the whole process was going.  By Thursday, when the photo shown with this story was taken, everything was much clearer.

"The so-called "Big-Three" print centers had never gotten together prior to this," noted CDPHE's Julia Rodriguez, one of this Lean process co-sponsors.  "It was like we had three individual silos, although I don't know how or why that was.  Just a few days after first getting together, the group is embracing partnering as a way to improve our service to our customers."

Steve Wilkerson, who was representing the DPA print center and also serves as a Lean process steward, agreed.  "This is an intriguing process," he said.  "We wanted to be a lot more familiar with the existing print shops, to be able to cooperate if needed.  At DPA, we now have management that is open to that kind of concept.  We have definitely made some good progress this week.  Personally, I'm pretty charged up about this."

Manuel Lucero, who works at the CDOT Printing & Visual Communications Center, said he noted major progress during the week.  "We made a major shift during the Rapid Improvement Event," he said.  "We figured out what we needed to do to work together."

All ideas were on the table, including shifting jobs from one center to another for quicker completion depending on existing workloads, electronic work processes, and other items.

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