A Truly “Unique” Approach to Efficiency, Continuous Improvement, and Change Management

Key Takeaways

Unique Litho

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“We are a company whose sole purpose is not bottom line profits, rather a company powered by a sense of service, community, and accountability.” Unique Litho is a Colorado-based print & mail company, founded in 1984, with specific and noble standards for service, product, and environmental responsibility. They serve local, state, national, and international markets by providing their customers a wide range of custom print services, and with a commitment to responsible environmental stewardship in all business practices. Unique Litho was the first printing company to earn the prestigious Gold Level of Colorado’s Environmental Leadership Program.


As a company experiencing a specific period of growth, Unique Litho began to see that their production practices were not as efficient as management would have preferred, but they were uncertain how to address the issues. Fortuitously, President Jay Hartway had an opportunity to view first-hand how Manufacturer’s Edge deployed effective strategies for increased efficiencies and profitability when he toured AIA Plastics’ production facility before and after their engagement with Manufacturer’s Edge representatives. Hartway contracted Manufacturer’s Edge first to help streamline production processes through a 5S workplace organization as well as prepare them for ISO Certification. Then, after discovering an additional need to provide management with tangible tools for change leadership and sustainability, re-engaged to provide a series of workshops, which resulted in a Lean Management System for the company.


Hartway acknowledges that he and his team received a far greater level of employee buy-in to the improvements than they had originally anticipated. The 5S and Lean Management System processes deployed by Manufacturer’s Edge resulted in a workplace in which, according to Hartway, “workarounds from 20 years ago could be replaced with newer technologies.” Additionally, these systems enabled a new company-wide vocabulary pertinent to process, service, and change management—Hartway says it’s now common for employees at all levels simply to say, “we need to 5S that!”

5S organized and systematized us, while Lean was a new way of evaluating every process. Why are we doing it? Is there a better way? Why are we doing it this way? Is it a 30-yr old bad habit? [Manufacturer’s Edge] removed our blinders.

Unique Litho President Jay Hartway