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Disciplinary Policy for Press Room

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  • Disciplinary Policy for Press Room

    Hi Guys,

    Looking for some input....
    We are currently having problems with press operators making MANY careless errors. Entire job scuffed, color variation, hickeys, ect. and they dont seem to care that its costing the company TONS of money. I was wondering what kind of disciplinary system you guys have in place, if any. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  • #2
    Re: Disciplinary Policy for Press Room

    We address the operator(s) with the problem(s), and document what is said,
    who it was said to and when it was said. If that doesn't work after a couple
    rounds, we fire them. We don't have any double secret probation foolishness
    here, and we aren't a union shop. It makes it frightfully easy to dump the


    • #3
      Re: Disciplinary Policy for Press Room

      Yeah thats the kind of approach i figured, i think the management here doesnt want to leave anyone without a job. But my feeling is if you document and let them know they are pushing it, then when they do screw up carelessly and continuously they have fired themselves.

      Edited by: Ernie on Feb 14, 2008 12:58 PM


      • #4
        Re: Disciplinary Policy for Press Room


        At out company if you make a major balls up and you seem to accept it was your fault then there ok. For an easy life one balls up a year is acceptable, any more and your in for it. Verbal warning if two in three months and then two more written before the door.



        • #5
          Re: Disciplinary Policy for Press Room


          20 years ago after a week of despair my wife said that wars are won by ordainary men just better trained and motivated

          "doubting Thomas" view is one that works if your country allows u to do it and you can find replacement staff ,

          My way is involvement and colective pride - "you have let the press room down" etc.

          BUT and its a BIg BUt you have to make sure everything else is right .

          So you have to make sure that they can concentrate on what they are paid to do - that is printing

          They need rules.

          Plate should be checked and identified

          Presses have to be maintained properly - no messing

          What they have to match too clearly identiffied ---They should not look for proofs to match in the "c***p" in the job bag,

          AND and I say AND it has to be acheivable- not some uncalibrated ink jet proof.

          job instructions should be clear

          Paper should be identified and next to the press.

          The colour standard should never be left to the pressmans judgement - he can only get it wrong and once that happens he loses confidence .

          BUt he also has responsibilities

          The rule must always be to make it easier for those next in the workflow to do their job -

          so the printer then has, sign pass sheet marking densities and 50-% dot gain values on sheet

          on long runs pull out sheets every 1000 and sign that they are OK

          tab waste sheets , put stack card in stack saying how much they ran and mark side lay

          *Make them feel like kings - even the night shift*

          nd if they dont do it

          then they can (will) go and play elsewhere because the other printers will not want them to work with them



          • #6
            Re: Disciplinary Policy for Press Room

            Thanks for the replies guys. I think the GM is afraid that he wont be able to find replacement staff thats any better than what we currently have. Not that they're awesome, but because there are few press operators in the area. And even fewer that know what they are doing or care about their work. I have shown him your responses and hopefully we can come up with a plan of action. We also have older equipment with no consoles, manual plate load, ect. He said he also doesnt think he would be able to find someone that can run the older stuff instead of a "button pusher" that runs new presses (his term not mine). Thanks again for all your help!


            • #7
              Re: Disciplinary Policy for Press Room

              This is a simple SOP enforcement isue. If you have Standard Operating Procedures in place, those which would identify the defects you're experiencing, and they are 1) not following them or 2) ignoring the procedure when it reveals a defect, then they are in violation of company policy and you should follow YOUR SOP for disciplining them.

              So if you're "searching in the dark" and nothing is in place, I suggest the following. (Your employees should be employed "at will" meaning there is no contractual obligation for them to continue working for you, or for you to continue to employ them. It is your will to employ them and thier will to remain employed. Either your or their will can be changed without cause or reason. This should be in your policy manual.)

              1) The management team (try to leave out top-level C*O's...) should agree on an easy to understand, easy to enforce and black/white disciplinary system. It should contain several levels taking into account that people do make mistakes, and they should not be punished for normal human behavior. I like the 3 strikes program... this should become an SOP, enforced equally across the entire organization/department.

              2) The management team and production leaders (a trusted pressman, maybe a shift supervisor) should write Quality Assurance SOP's that very clearly define the frequency of inspections, the scope of the inspection, retention of the inspected product and accountability for those actions. Furthermore, these SOP's should contain (or reference other SOP's that describe) how an operator is to address quality issues. Do they fix it on their own? Do they alert a supervisor and fix it? Should a mechanic be involved? At what point do they pull the job and get management involved?

              3) When the SOP's are in place, get everyone on board. It isn't important that everyone agree, persay, on the content of the SOP's. As long as they are clear, concise and address only critical-to-quality issues, there is no arguement to be made. If someone chooses at that point to ignore their SOP's, you use your SOP to discipline them.

              The "three strikes" system is very effective everywhere I've seen it used. If you accumulate 3 strikes in 12 months you are either dismissed or reallocated.

              Strike one is "oops, I'm sorry" No disciplinary action takes place other than a form in their personnel file.

              Strike two can be a second "oops" as long as it doesn't violate the same SOP as strike one. If it does, the employee should attend SOP training to ensure he/she understands what is expected of them. This strike may also come with unpaid time off (two or three days is appropriate, depending on the cost to the company of the error) Another form in the personnel file here, including the cost to the company and details of their time off.

              Strike three of the same SOP violation is "you're out." Most people who habitually violate the same SOP really don't care. They should be free to find alternative employment. If you value the employee and they're just careless in their job, find them another place to work in your organization. Wipe the slate clean in that case... job fit is a major factor in many people's performance problems. Strike three involving a different SOP should still be "you're out" but in this case, a valuable employee should be retrained. Perhaps for the same job, maybe another.

              If you use this system, it's important not to make your SOP's too broad; if any screw-up would violate the same SOP over and over, it's not working the way it was intended.



              • #8
                Re: Disciplinary Policy for Press Room

                An SOP is always a good idea, and all employees should be given time to acclimate to a new one, and the sticking points given heavy re-emphasis. Regardless of the size of the shop, professionalism is the key to a professional product. Even the A2 envelope: for it holds an RSVP to a multi-million dollar event.

                Unfortunately we work in an industry of high-stress where people think they have to move too fast, and do not realize they are only working on one task at a time no matter how much they are multi-tasking (but, just a few seconds at a time on each of the taks). Even when the job has to get there today, the press only runs so fast. A deep breath and a few extra seconds to check the product is always worth the investment.

                While I seem to see a ton of pressmen ready to apply whenever we have an opening, very few pressmen on the market do not have personality or drug/alcohol problems. It is a thankless job at times that many self-confident people get out of and the rest rotate into new jobs every 18 months. We need to always speak well to our employees, then our employees will perform well, no matter the condition.


                • #9
                  Re: Disciplinary Policy for Press Room

                  Here is a completely different approach:

                  Offer incentives and one, is a higher than average pay. Hey...if I was making money that i cannot get anywhere, you're can bet I am going to be looking out what I am producing.

                  To begin, if they can do it good, offer the pay increase. After that, offer some other incentives for doing well, perhaps even more money. Every quarter, offer a bonus.

        're throwing the bonuses in the trash, might as well start getting these guys to earn their money and make money for you. Some in their pocket, some in yours, none in the trash bin.

                  There will be other's beating down your doors to do a better job.

                  Something to consider.


                  • #10
                    Re: Disciplinary Policy for Press Room

                    "i think the management here doesnt want to leave anyone without a job."

                    How long before they cost EVERYONE their job when the company goes belly up from the tide of lost money they are causing?
                    By the time I walk out of here, I'm going to be a lean, mean, prepress machine...


                    • #11
                      Re: Disciplinary Policy for Press Room

                      well said.

                      toss the baby out with the bath water. oops we all have to find a job

                      of course I believe it is easier to set and follow a sop in a large shop in a larger metro area. in rural markets it is a little more difficult. we have pretty nice equipment in our shop, but we are rural and it is tough to find and keep a great pressman. it does always hinge on pay. if they are willing to work for $10/ hour. do they respect themselves or your shop? we have tried the hire a guy for $8/hr and train them. just does not work any more. We have tried the hire a good pressman for $20/hr and if they are good they eventually we leave to run the 8 color with all the bells for $25/hour. if the are not good we have to fire them because they screw up to much. but you do have to have a system. even in the small shop.
                      of course if your not in an at will state then you had better document everything. I have finally come to the position that nice guys do finish last. at least overly nice owners. some people will take kindness for weekness if given half a chance, and you don't need those people dragging the whole company down. of course if your boss is a jerk, that can be much worse.


                      • #12
                        Re: Disciplinary Policy for Press Room

                        You guys hit the nail on the head. I personally think we are being overly nice as well. I dont expect to have a job if im not doing my job.

                        We are a rural shop and are running into those same exact problems as you have indicated. We dont have any bells and whistles on our presses either.

                        Thanks for all the great replies! You guys have made some very valid points i have made to my GM.


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