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NOC Code: NOC Code: 7303 Occupation: Supervisors, printing and related occupations
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Supervisors in this unit group supervise and co-ordinate the activities of workers who produce camera work and printing plates and cylinders, process film, print text and illustrations on paper, metal and other material, and bind and finish printed products. They are employed by companies that specialize in commercial printing or one of its components, such as binding or colour reproduction, in combined printing and publishing companies, such as newspapers and magazines, and in various establishments in both the public and private sectors that have in-house printing departments. Supervisors in this unit group supervise and co-ordinate the activities of workers who produce camera work and printing plates and cylinders, process film, print text and illustrations on paper, metal and other material, and bind and finish printed products. They are employed by companies that specialize in commercial printing or one of its components, such as binding or colour reproduction, in combined printing and publishing companies, such as newspapers and magazines, and in various establishments in both the public and private sectors that have in-house printing departments.

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Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Reading 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2 3
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3

  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.

  • Read short letters from suppliers and clients. For example, read letters from equipment suppliers which outline lease and purchase options. Read letters from clients describing printing jobs and requesting quotes for the work. (2)
  • Read notes from crew members, supervisors on previous shifts and from staff in other departments to learn about the status of various jobs, equipment faults, complaints from dissatisfied clients and specification changes. (2)
  • Read memos and email from managers. For example, read memos describing new workflows and equipment set-up changes for particular jobs, and memos providing guidelines on how to encourage clients to make certain paper selections. (2)
  • Read instructions on job dockets and work order forms. For example, a photographic lab supervisor reads instructions on how to make prints for an art installation that requires negatives to be printed normally and backwards, cropped according to specifications and burned and dodged in various sections. (2)
  • Read procedure and design specification manuals to plan work and to ensure jobs have been carried out correctly. For example, a plateroom supervisor checks platemaking procedures in a manual against docket information to ensure required steps have been followed. (3)
  • Read suppliers' catalogues for information about computers, scanners, printers and other equipment. For example, a prepress supervisor reads catalogue entries about new scanners and printers to understand their capabilities, maintenance and repair details and how they would interface with existing equipment. (3)
  • Read articles in national and international trade publications to learn about new equipment, printing processes, marketing trends, cost-cutting methods, and quality control systems. Analyze the content to adapt and apply the information in your own settings. (4)
  • Read lengthy technical manuals for new equipment and software. For example, press supervisors study manuals for new presses to become familiar with all aspects of the machinery's construction and to be able to instruct staff so that they can get the most out of the machinery. Prepress supervisors read software manuals to learn how to use new applications and to refine their understanding when using familiar applications in new situations. (4)
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  • Write comments on a variety of forms. For example, write descriptions of and explanations for changes on production schedules. Write comments about problems with artwork, plates and clients on quality control checklists. (1)
  • Write email and fax messages to clients to update them on the status of work orders. Describe problems that require extending timelines, explain why printing cannot be produced as requested and offer alternatives. (2)
  • Write memos and email to co-workers on a variety of subjects. For example, write memos to co-workers about holiday planning and safety problems and email co-workers to critique proposed processes and explain anticipated problems. (2)
  • Write copy for job postings and promotional materials using terms understood by intended audiences. For example, a prepress supervisor limits the use of technical vocabulary and occupation-specific jargons in writing promotional materials aimed at a wide range of prospective clients. (3)
  • Write staff performance appraisals and disciplinary letters. In appraisals comment on employees' performances in areas such as knowledge of duties, quality of work and initiative. In letters of discipline, describe behaviours that are not acceptable, corrective actions required and potential consequences of a repeat offence. (3)
  • Write reports to management about budgeting and production problems. For example, a prepress supervisor prepares a report justifying variances between budgeted and actual monthly expenditures. A plateroom supervisor writes a plate analysis report that describes steps taken to investigate a customer's complaint about the quality of a print job, presents findings and conclusions, and makes recommendations. (4)
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Document Use
  • Scan lists and labels. For example, look up names, phone numbers and email addresses in directories of printers and suppliers. Locate product names, sizes and quantities on the labels of ink, paper and film products. (1)
  • Use computer and software applications. For example, use press maintenance management systems to access preventive maintenance schedules, verify equipment repairs and create work orders, and Covalent press output tracking software to display equipment operation data. (2)
  • Carry out research at industry websites, place on-line orders with suppliers and retrieve files sent by customers from the company's websites. (2)
  • Use bookkeeping, billing and accounting software. For example, enter operating and financial data into Quicken to track operating income and expenses. (2)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, use Excel to create work schedules, monitor spoilage and consumption rates, and summarize staff appraisal results. (2)
  • Use databases. For example, use Blueprint to access electronic docket information. Use FilemakerPro to enter and adjust client order information and to print work orders for operators and E-Ticket to manage production files, schedule jobs and print job tickets. (2)
  • Use word processing software. For example, write letters to suppliers, performance appraisals for staff and promotional materials using basic text editing and limited character and page formatting. (2)
  • Scan daily production reports completed by press operators and other crew members to locate data such as start and finish times, operational levels, material wastage rates and downtime minutes. (2)
  • Exchange email with attachments with clients and co-workers. (2)
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining. For example, use press process control systems to monitor and adjust a variety of press functions and CREO prepress server to manage files. (2)
  • Obtain details about production processes from labels attached to products. For example, a prepress supervisor reads the printer bug, production label located on each item that identifies all aspects of the item's production history including the file name, date produced, software, server and colour palette used. (2)
  • Locate original specifications and updates on job dockets as the jobs move through production stages. Check to ensure that specifications and instructions are consistent across different sections of the dockets and data from work order change forms have been incorporated. (3)
  • Use graphics software. For example, use Illustrator to create illustrations and digital dies. Use Photoshop to create pre-press files and check colours and text placement. Use Acrobat to convert files submitted in Publisher to portable document format, ArtPro to take designs from Illustrator, Freehand and InDesign and to make print production files. Use QuarkXpress to create process diagrams to explain computer to plate procedures. (3)
  • Interpret graphs of job and process statistics. For example, examine dot curve graphs to determine what size dots would produce colours, shadings and edges to match plate mock-ups. Review graphs of monthly waste levels when planning waste reduction strategies. Locate data on work volume graphs to compare the number of work orders handled by the traditional and digital sections of plants. (3)
  • Complete daily production reports by gathering data from various sources. For example, to complete a daily production report, a press supervisor collates data from reports completed by operators, other supervisors and job management software. The supervisor tallies and enters data such as net yield and impressions, waste, number of set ups, downtime and reasons for downtime. (3)
  • Consult long-term and complex production schedules. For example, a press supervisor monitors a central production board that presents, in table format, all jobs on order for three months and their current respective statuses. A supervisor in a daily newspaper printing plant refers to a complex daily production schedule to analyze the planned and actual completion times of each prepress, plateroom, and press function to the nearest minute. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Discuss routine details of ongoing and upcoming work with co-workers and crew members. For example, request that maintenance staff check equipment that is not fully operational and alert crew members to the arrival of jobs with special printing requirements. (1)
  • Discuss the technical details of jobs with customers and respond to their complaints. For example, review proofs with customers and discuss adjustments to colour and type if required. In some cases, act as mediators between customers and staff by listening to and passing on their demands for quality, while explaining to them the constraints under which press operators work given the design and time available. (2)
  • Coordinate workflow with supervisors in other departments. For example, negotiate the sharing of crew members and adjustment of production schedules to meet tight deadlines. (2)
  • Interact with managers, sales staff and other department supervisors at production meetings to discuss production status, changing priorities and operational constraints. Present proposals for equipment purchases and marketing strategies, and persuade others on the proposals' merits. (3)
  • Train workers on the operational, maintenance and safety procedures for new presses and other equipment. Present explicit verbal instructions, demonstrate procedures, provide running commentaries and refer trainees to sections of manuals. Observe trainees while practicing procedures and provide constructive feedback on their work. (3)
  • Respond to staff members' technical questions and give instructions for special order requirements. For example, explain to press operators how to adjust colour mixes to compensate for different textures and weights of paper stock, and instruct bindery staff on the sequence and method for executing complicated finishing steps. Try to communicate clearly and thoroughly to prevent errors and delays. (3)
  • Discuss work performance with crew members. Commend workers on skills mastered and job tasks accomplished well. Censure and discipline crew members for poor workmanship and conflicts with co-workers. Try to communicate honestly, firmly and in a friendly manner to improve production without damaging worker morale. (3)
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Money Math
  • Verify invoices prepared by accounting departments. For example, a prepress supervisor verifies calculations in invoices by checking that labour amounts are in keeping with internal billing rates and that outside services such as making plates have been marked up. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Create daily and weekly schedules for the deployment of crew and equipment. Consider the volume, complexity and due dates of jobs on order, the number of workers needed to cover up to three shifts per day, the estimated running time required for each piece of equipment, and possible downtime due to mechanical faults and production problems. Adjust the schedules according to changes in work progress. (3)
  • Calculate costs for different supplies and equipment purchase options. For example, a press supervisor compares the costs of purchasing precut sheets of paper against the cost of purchasing large sheets and cutting them down to meet job needs. A plateroom supervisor calculates the reduction in overtime hours that can be realized from using new proofing equipment that produces proofs more quickly. (3)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure products to check their quality. For example, a prepress supervisor measures type width using a ruler on hard copies and page layout dimensions feature in graphics software. A bindery supervisor measures the length and width of a pamphlet to ensure it has been folded and cut according to specifications. (1)
  • Calculate quantities of ink, paper and other consumable supplies. For example, a plateroom supervisor calculates the amount of plate material left over from jobs by measuring and calculating the area. (2)
  • Use specialized instruments to take precise measurements. For example, a pressroom supervisors use spectral-densitometers to measure percentage of dot gain in various segments of printed images, and dot-reading protractors to measure colour screen angles. (3)
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Data Analysis
  • Compare process data such as press speeds and print densities to specifications and norms. Look for inconsistencies that may indicate equipment faults and production problems. (1)
  • Manage inventories of stock materials such as papers, toners and inks. Consider existing inventory quantities, the requirements for upcoming jobs on order, and usage rates in past years to order materials and supplies that will meet job demands without incurring long hold times in stock rooms. (2)
  • Generate production statistics and compare them with goals and targets in business plans. For example, calculate wastage rates to check if these are within acceptable levels. Graph variables such as estimated and actual use of time and resources to identify and analyze inconsistencies. Calculate average error rates by crews on different shifts. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the quantities of stock and supplies needed to complete scheduled jobs. For example, a photographic printing supervisor estimates how much stock of the same emulsion will be needed to print an order of one thousand large prints, factoring in stock needed for tests and rejected prints. It has to be a close estimate because changing stock in the middle of an order would require extra time to rebalance colours and may produce inconsistent results. (2)
  • Prepare job quotes for clients by estimating costs. Analyze job steps to estimate costs for labour including possible overtime, materials including spoilage and waste, and outside services if needed. (3)
  • Estimate the time required to complete jobs. For example, a press supervisor estimates how long it will take to run a job given standard set-up times for each deck of colour required plus the time for plate mounting, press run, operator breaks and other downtime. These times are subject to variation depending on the skill levels of full-time, experienced versus part-time, temporary operators and the idiosyncrasies of equipment involved. If it is not close, the supervisor's estimate could compromise the accuracy of job quotes and disrupt production schedules. (3)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Supervisors in printing and related occupations organize their own tasks to ensure that their departments complete work orders received from sales departments and plant managers. They plan their own tasks to review job orders, prepare work and equipment schedules, monitor the work of crew, check product quality and inventory, and attend production meetings. Their schedules are largely determined by the volume and type of work on order. They must, however, frequently adjust their schedules to accommodate changes in work volume such as influxes of rush jobs and delays caused by machinery breakdowns, faulty materials, customer complaints and order changes. (3)
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Decision Making
  • Choose suppliers for papers, inks, equipment and services such as paper recycling by considering the price, quality and availability offered by each supplier. (2)
  • Allocate duties and job tasks to workers. Consider the type of work to be performed and the workers' skill sets and personalities. For example, press supervisors decide to assign workers to particular shifts to ensure crews have adequate skills for jobs scheduled. They may decide not to assign press operators with conflicting work styles to work in pairs. They may also decide to work on jobs themselves when timelines are tight and their expertise is required. (2)
  • Choose materials and methods for printing and binding jobs. For example, a prepress supervisor makes numerous operational decisions when using graphics software to create printing proof files. A press supervisor may choose printing stock, ink types, roller settings and press speeds to run print jobs. A bindery supervisor may adjust cutting, folding and stitching equipment to ensure that products are square at start and finish of bindery processes. (3)
  • Select equipment to use for jobs and determine the order in which jobs should be completed. For example, a press supervisor decides to run a small print job on a stacker instead of a print roll press, estimating that time lost using smaller capacity equipment is made up by the cost savings realized through using fewer operators. A plate room supervisor decides to run two jobs through the plate making process at once to create time and cost efficiencies. A bindery supervisor decides to fit in several small jobs before beginning a large job to maximize the company's daily deliverables and revenue. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Faulty stock can't be used for jobs as planned. For example, press supervisors may find that parts of paper shipments are water damaged and can't be used for scheduled print runs. They notify suppliers, place rush orders and may use existing stock to cover the gap until new stock arrives. (1)
  • There are staff shortages at periods of high demand. Provide incentives to encourage remaining staff to work overtime, perform more of the work yourself and negotiate reassignment of staff from other departments. More time and resources may be put into hiring and training new staff. (2)
  • Conflicts among staff are lowering morale and decreasing production. Try to curtail the conflicts before they escalate. Talk with staff to find out the nature and details of the conflicts. For example, some workers believe that other workers are not doing a fair share of the work. The supervisors encourage cooperation, speak in private with the unproductive workers and perhaps pair them with supportive, experienced workers. (3)
  • There are a variety of defects in plates, proofs and printed images during production. Work with the crews to check the materials and equipment for faults and to review operating procedures to detect probable causes. In some cases, consult suppliers and your own companies' technical staff for advice. Identify likely solutions and have crews run tests until the defects have been corrected. Adjust production schedules to accommodate the downtime. (3)
  • There are major errors in finished products. For example, a prepress supervisor discovers that a reflow error has caused a key message from the chairman of the board to be deleted from an annual report. The supervisor develops action plans for meeting the needs of the client, such as offering to reprint and rebind the report, insert labels or give the client a price adjustment. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Find specifications in industry standards documents. For example, newspaper prepress supervisors refer to SNAP test forms and colour reference guides to look up targets for accurate colour reproduction. They look up dot percentages for hundreds of progressive tints and density levels for a range of highlights and shadows and navigate multiple-page documents to locate information presented in the form of lists, colour scales and codes. Supervisors in this occupation use considerable specialized knowledge to interpret and apply content correctly. (2)
  • Find information about new printing and binding jobs. Locate quantities, dimensions and instructions on work orders and clarify instructions by talking to designers, customers and managers. Review production data from past jobs. (2)
  • Find information about supplies and equipment by speaking with product suppliers and colleagues who have used the products, arranging demonstrations by sales representatives and trying out products and equipment. Carry out research at websites of manufacturers and professional associations and participate in on-line discussion forums. (3)
  • Investigate customer complaints. For example, a plateroom supervisor gathers all documents pertaining to a print job to ascertain whether a customer's complaint of poor quality can be traced to plate production. The supervisor examines photos of plates, proofs, and printed samples to identify any problems, and reviews production checklists to determine if any steps were overlooked. They organize and present evidence in reports submitted to clients and management. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Judge the suitability of work produced by other departments. For example, a press supervisor judges the accuracy and efficiency with which designs from the art department can be printed. The supervisor draws on past experience with presses and designs to judge if line screen counts and the sequences of colours required by the designs are the most efficient. The press supervisor's good judgment can save time and costs on jobs by leading to design changes before the plate making stage. (2)
  • Assess the business risks of investing in new equipment and make recommendations to management. Study manufacturers' materials to determine the capabilities and qualities of new equipment, and consider initial and operational costs as well as repair rates and maintenance requirements to determine whether the equipment can be run at a profit. Weigh potential increased production capacity and quality against the costs for equipment that can run into millions of dollars but may quickly become obsolete. (3)
  • Evaluate the suitability of candidates when participating in hiring processes. Review résumés and participate in interviews to judge candidates' experience, technical skills and stamina. Also consider candidates' personalities to judge how well they will fit in with the personalities of existing crew members. (3)
  • Evaluate the quality of finished products. Measure and visually examine products to check criteria such as image registration and alignment, colour quality and density, and straightness of folds and stitching. Consult work dockets and industry standards to determine if products meet specifications. Some criteria for quality, however, are subjective. For example, photographic printing supervisors assess the colour and saturation of prints by comparing them with customer samples and interpreting clients' instructions. They must note that instructions such as 'warm,' 'a bit colder' and 'on the light side' are individual preferences and subject to interpretation. Their evaluations are especially critical when making fine art reproductions for customers with exacting standards and when printing large volume orders which would be very expensive to repeat. (3)
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