July '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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4 8 P R I N T W E A R J U L Y 2 0 1 9 G o ahead. Walk out onto your shop floor and take a good look around. What do you see? Is everyone work- ing? Are orders getting produced and shipped out the door? But despite the seemingly obvious amount of effort that is being generated before your eyes, you still feel that nagging in your gut that you could be getting out more work. You are in luck, my friend. In this article, I'll share top tips for get- ting more work produced per day. Here we go! BE READY There is nothing worse than finishing up a job and not having ev- erything ready for the next. Our first tip sounds easy to implement, but it may require you to rethink your workflow and organization a little bit. The easiest way to be ready for the next job is to spend some time the day before gathering everything you need. Around lunch, print the schedule for each machine in your shop (regardless of decoration method) for any job that needs to be produced tomorrow. If you can, organize these in order of priority. Then, as the day goes on, spend some time gathering everything required for each job and line up the orders by each machine, staged in order of priority. This should include all shirts, consumables (buckets of ink, cones of thread, etc.), samples, work order docu- ments, and mockups. When your production crews come in, every job they need to run will be assembled for them with every item needed. Plus, there is a printed schedule for them that outlines what's needed for today's production. TRACK DOWNTIME It's been said, "What gets measured gets improved." In shops, there can be a lot of unnecessary downtime. Are you measuring this? Don't just look after the job is complete when the crew is breaking down the old one and setting up the new. Although that changeover matters, sometimes it is the untrackable time that is the culprit. Try this. In the morning, after a break and right after lunch, what time is the first shirt completed in production? Within five to seven minutes? Longer? I've been in shops where after each of these periods you won't see a completed shirt for up to 30 minutes. That's about an hour and a half of unscheduled downtime. But unless you start looking, you can't start improving this. If you use a production log, be sure to track the daily produc- tion downtime and record it. Hold your crew accountable for the unreasonable amount of unproductive time. CLEAR EXPECTATIONS Your crew needs to know the rules and have clear expectations about what is important in your shop. For example, one crew has to unbag a set of 500 shirts before they can run them. Who owns this task in your shop? The embroidery or screen-printing crew? Receiving? Someone else? If you want more orders produced per day, your machine pro- duction crew should have this task already handled before the shirts are in their area. Setting crystal clear expectations on what is important and who owns these tasks is crucial. Otherwise, you'll find that a press isn't running a job because they are spending time unbagging boxes of shirts before they can start printing. Work Smarter M A R S H A L L A T K I N S O N

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