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Why Papermakers Win When They Truly Follow W. Edwards Deming

Posted by Robert Rourke on Jan 30, 2017 8:00:00 AM


Edwards Deming, American management consultant, had a lot to say about quality in manufacturing processes.

His insights revolutionized quality standards all over the world. In his 14 Points for Management, he noted that management’s job was to ensure people and machines consistently improve.

Let’s say you assume that your paper mill rolls meet all industry specifications for tolerances. However, you consistently get profile variations and moisture streaks in your process and your product. If Deming was your management consultant, he might ask you an important question:

What steps are you taking to improve quality of incoming materials and services for production?

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Deming’s 14 Points and the Paper Industry

In the past, many paper companies implemented Deming’s ideals. They established acceptable specifications and often used the OEM specifications. At first, many companies even checked incoming rolls and other products to make sure those specs were met.

Unfortunately, the paper industry changed over time. Headcount dwindled. Incoming goods and service rolls fell out of specification. In certain large paper companies, rolls arrived already labeled as nonconforming. The additional paperwork and increased costs for freight, manpower and cranes decreased profit margins.

Strangely, no one seemed interested in the root cause of the issue. Instead of investigating, many in the industry simply loosened the specifications!

Today, many paper companies no longer use rolls even close to original manufacturer specifications. They run machines beyond the original design speeds. You can guess the result:

  • Maintenance issues
  • Wet streaks
  • Inconsistent profiles
  • Variations in paper thickness
  • Increased breaks and downtime
  • Barring
  • Increased costs
  • Reduced profit

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Deming Was Right

Deming’s principles have been successfully implemented in many of the industries PRG services. Those who stick with his systematic approach are winning. They use only providers they trust. Their partners provide the product or do the repair work at or better than specification. Because company leadership insists on correct tolerances, the final products are superior to their competition.

From PRG’s perspective, these companies ran well even during recession times.

The Proof Is in the Roll

If your car tires suddenly lost roundness, would you head to your mechanic? Of course you would!

Oddly, paper machines’ rolls are routinely run out of roundness and concentricity. Left running in this condition, the framework, bearings and the rolls often require additional maintenance.

At PRG, we are frequently asked to evaluate machines that produce substandard product. Frequently, the root cause is the same—improperly ground rolls. Profile issues and moisture streaks come from rolls that are out of roundness, profile, and/or concentricity.

PRG is here to aid in the transformation of your company. We will help evaluate, access and restore your rolls to the tightest possible tolerances—0.0002” or better. We don’t do this because we’re out to prove typical industry capabilities and specs are wrong. It’s just the right thing to do.

Here is a complete list of Deming’s 14 Points

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Topics: Paper Industry, Best Practices, Process Improvements

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