October '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 O C T O B E R P R I N T W E A R 5 1 are on the same page. As far as frequency, meetings can range anywhere from a daily briefing to a weekly roundup, depending on the shop's needs and goals. The primary goal with any meeting struc- ture for these purposes, parties contend, is to make sure there is a specific focus for that meeting, so everyone involved feels valu- able. "We do weekly department meetings and 2–3 times a week where we meet with individual teams," notes Lee. "The smaller the focus, the more structured we make the meetings." Potter points out that having a formal chain of command can also help general communication. Having a general man- ager, then assistant managers, and team leaders in each department might seem like a lot of levels, but Potter says this structure helps everyone in the building let their voice be heard. "It keeps the lines of communica- tion open," he explains. "Sometimes people will not want to talk to the owners at all," so having multiple levels of leadership helps establish a comfort zone. Savino adds that regardless of shop size, making sure the right structure is in place will help dictate everything else. "If there is not a good support system or management staff in place, then ownership will have to check in daily and waste time with activities that are not beneficial to the growth of the company." When it comes to connecting all the departments, shops can potentially use another intermediary person if they have enough personnel. "This is the hardest part of a production shop. The front-facing staff have a wholly different focus and needs, but those needs and focus points need to be production-friendly," says Lee. Having someone who's worked on both sides of the shop in this role can help bridge the gap be- tween these departments and find ways to translate a client's needs into what a crew on the press can feasibly produce with their resources. Potter also points out that empathy is a huge part of connecting all departments. Taking time to bring a salesperson to the production floor and vice versa, he says, can help each staff member get a better glimpse of what their co-worker's day looks like and, ideally, help maintain that mutual respect across the board. In addition to empathy, Savino notes that having a designated team leader in each department means "they can jump in and assist if an issue occurs, and you have some- one that knows the department inside and out," he says. "(It's) a huge benefit to the company and employees working in that department as well." Even with a team structure, the consensus is that owners should still be responsible for long-term initiatives. EXTRA PERKS Most sources point to morale as being the critical component that improves with a Even if things seem OK with customers and busi- ness, it's recommended that shop owners occa- sionally look around to ensure everything is run- ning smoothly. (Images courtesy Same Day Tees, Frankfort, Ill.)

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