Brian Karnick

SVP Manufacturing, Tribune Publishing

N&T: what has been your most effective costsavings solution (workforce excluded)? 

Having been heavily involved in Lean Manufacturing methodologies, I try to always focus on waste. The easiest way to define waste is a product or service that our customers are not willing to pay for, or that does not support our organizational goals. Waste in our industry could be as straightforward as excessive startup copies, returns, ink/water applied, color utilization, missed inserts or any of a number of consumable/ process waste. Waste could also take the form of lack of process controls such as tracking of inserts, excessive insert zoning depleting efficiency, excessive handling or product movement, idle equipment, excessive changeover and lack of standards, reusable pallet loss, excessive shrink wrapping, etc.

By focusing on waste from the shop floor to the executive level, you provide a culture where everyone has a say in the process, a culture in which team members hold each other accountable for the success of the team and the organization. Focusing on waste is obviously not a catchall for the challenges we face, but by doing so it helps reduce other actions necessary to meet goals in addition to being an effective engagement tool. Focusing on waste in all forms can be infectious and a never-ending, continuous improvement tool. It all sounds very straight forward and what we do, but creating a standardized approach utilizing Lean or other process improvement methodologies leads to more sustainable results.

N&T: Is recycling currently being viewed as a revenue stream or a cost of doing business? Please explain your response.

I have always looked at recycling as a revenue stream. Working with recycling companies to achieve the highest value of the process byproducts is imperative for any organization. At the end of the day, the cost of consumables is the cost less the recycling value or revenue stream. So, at the end of the day the net expense is the cost of doing business, inclusive of the revenue stream on recycling.

In addition to the monetary value, we cannot lose sight of the environmental responsibility we all have in the processes of our business. In many cases there is a cost of recycling that is not recovered but there is larger price to pay environmentally if we do not take on that corporate responsibility. Many organizations may not think to recycle printer ink cartridges because they are not paid to do so, but there are organizations that will take them off of your hands for free. Imagine if all of the stretch wrap used in our industry was put into landfills instead of taking the responsibility to work with other organizations in order to recycle, even if we are not paid for it. There are many aspects of recycling that need to be considered in all aspects of recycling and how we all can continue to innovate in order to continue to operate in a “green” environment.

N&T:How does the annual ING meeting enable/empower you?

Our industry has faced headwinds for years. Out of these challenges come opportunities. While many of our organizations compete for ad dollars and headlines as we connect customers and clients, we also work closely together on coming together to be more efficient on the manufacturing and distribution side of the business. The same two organizations may have a client role in one market and a provider role in another market and vise- versa, making it even more interesting. In addition, with all of the consolidation in our industry, the business continuity plans (BCP) have to be much more in-depth as many of the backup partners have now consolidated into other plants leaving fewer options.

The ING conference is a great platform to connect with our colleagues, discuss potential synergies and share best practices in order to best serve our organizations and our industry through collaborative relationships.


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