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Aug 27, 2013
Verdigris Blog: Clean Up That Mess!
medium_laurel3.jpg The weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner

When we were living at home with our parents we heard it, and when we have children of our own we speak or even shout it. A messy home is bad enough. But a messy workplace is even worse because it reflects how little a business cares for its resources, human or otherwise. It also reflects how a company views the wider environment. The printing company owner who lets their press hall floor get strewn with rubbish, probably doesn’t care much for reducing their environmental impact. But does messiness matter beyond reflecting environmental awareness? Should we all be paying more attention to keeping our workspaces neat and tidy? Does it bring other benefits as well?

There are several reasons why tidiness might be worth the effort, but the most important one is the signal it sends to customers. A neat and tidy factory gives the impression of cleanliness and control. It is a signal to customers that their service provider cares about the immediate environment for visitors and staff. It also suggests that keeping stuff in order is important to the business and that staff can work in a calm and focused space without the distractions of mess.

A tidy factory is also about efficiency and quality control. Cleaning around piles of junk and waste can never be as effective as cleaning uncluttered space. Mess is distracting but not being able to find what you need because it has no proper place is really annoying as well as time consuming. Losing customer materials, prototypes and proofs is all very uncool.

There is also a cost dimension. Consumables for instance should be stored in a controlled space so that they are not exposed to hostile influences such as air conditioners, radiators or the elements creeping in through ill-fitting windows or open doors. For sectors where substrates are expensive, such as label printers or wide format printers, this sort of care is fundamental.

It’s not just about being able to find things or making sure they stay clean. Dust accumulates along with the mess and general debris and dust is anathema to high quality printing. A tidy workspace not only aids cleaning and general maintenance, but also helps prevent wasted consumables and remakes.

Of course there are many reasons not to bother keeping things neat and tidy, but very few apply to business. A tidy home might be the sign of a very dreary mind, but business is all about control. An untidy workplace gives the impression of a lack of control, of impending chaos. Maybe getting resources and workplaces under control is the first step to a broader environmental awareness? Extending a cleanliness model to the wider environment might lead to greater interest in improving environmental impact. A new and much tidier dimension to management and process control!

– Laurel Brunner

Verdigris supporters who make the blog possible: Agfa Graphics (, Digital Dots (, drupa (, EFI (, EcoPrint (, Fespa (, Heidelberg (, HP (, Kodak (, Pragati Offset (, Ricoh (, Unity Publishing ( and Xeikon (


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