Printwear

November '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 N O V E M B E R P R I N T W E A R 2 3 prove efficiency to a surprising degree. As with the informational flow, the idea is to limit unnecessary movement as much as possible. Every step that an embroidery operator takes away from their machine during operation is usually a wasted one. Each operator should have everything they need to run and maintain their ma- chines within arm's reach of the equip- ment, and the path that people and goods take through the shop should be simple and safe to navigate. Each machine needs a work surface with any hooping aids, hoops, stabilizer, supplies, and any nec- essary tools roughly within arm's reach. Purchase sets of simple, inexpensive tools like wrenches and screwdrivers and keep a set with each machine to prevent down- time spent searching for mislaid tools. As much as possible, place shared resources centrally, requiring the least amount of movement for all users. Set up your produc- tion floor to reduce walking between pieces of equipment and create staging areas to proactively place work pieces in a queue close to the machine on which it is scheduled. Plot the 'journey' components of each job must take and plot a path that reduces travel across the shop floor. BUILDING BENEFITS Optimizing these areas may not result in outlandish production output improvements overnight the way that adding new equipment might, but their worth becomes evident when taking a long-term view. Over time, efficiencies build, and as you add equipment and employees, improvements in the above categories multiply in their effectiveness. If one operator/machine can add 50 units to their production day after benefitting from improved flow, well-made designs, and easy access to tools, the next operator and ma- chine you add will run at a similarly improved rate. With systems in place to save time and effort, the benefits scale. PW Erich Campbell has more than 18 years experience as an award-winning digitizer, e-commerce manager, and industry educator. He empowers decorators to do their best work and achieve a greater success. A current educator and long-time columnist, Erich takes every opportunity to provide value to the industry. Left: The versatility of this clamp makes it a great choice for running traditional stocking tops on a machine set up for caps. Center: Difficult, small pieces with limited access can be very time consuming, and allow very little embroidery access. A specialty clamp system allows better access and a much faster way to move small pieces on and off of the machine. Right: Specialty fixtures like these can make hooping belts and name tapes a breeze, removing the need for careful placement and stabilization in a standard hoop. Above left: Modular hooping fixtures accommodate multiple hoop sizes and include uniform, pre-spaced grids of mounting holes to allow you to record and repeat hooping positions from order to order. Above right: On a piece with very small, simple flaws, a sub five minute fix with stitch-editing software would al- low you to lasso the stitch points and move the underlay down enough to remain underneath the top stitching. Though you may still want to have the original file fixed by a digitizer, this is something that could turn potential hours of emails and waiting for edits into a few minutes fixing and reloading the file.

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