December '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 23 of 68

2 0 1 9 D E C E M B E R P R I N T W E A R 2 1 We're looking for equipment that never fails us and might be able to move more production or serve another purpose if we have staff in place. We're looking for knowledge in one market that we might apply to another, or markets into which we could further commit and grow our share. PREFIGURE AND PREPARE Now is the time to consider the future with a clear vision of where we have been and where we are. Our flawless hindsight be- comes foresight into the next year. And, once again, we'll want to be ready to write down what we discover here: • When you look back over the next year, what will you wish you were writ- ing on this page? • What would you have replaced, re- solved, or achieved? • Where would you like to be? • What results need to be different for you to mark the year as successful? Answering these questions will help you prioritize and make sense of those exist- ing projects and problems. Take note of what results rely on each other and work toward establishing a chain of results. What will success at each stage of the process look like? Next, examine how your goals align with the resources you have now. If you were to take the strengths you see on the second page of your assessment, where and how would you apply them to the problems on the first page? Write down all the places where your resources could be redirected to make the most impact. Last, look for holes in your coverage. Which problems and goals can't be addressed with the strengths and resources you have now? What is missing to enable the changes you want to make? This assessment will help you evaluate potential changes in your process, expansions in your markets, and acquisitions of both talent and technology. Do you need new equipment to fulfill a goal or address a market with room to grow? Do you have staff that are a few trade-show seminars or training sessions away from being able to fill a much-needed role? Are you poised to sell and produce more if you only spent on further marketing or found a new niche? Knowing these answers should give you a general idea of where you should look for input and improvements from the outside. Having a solid idea of where you are, where you want to be, and what areas and assets you need to address to get there will help you sort through the many expert predic- tions, product launches, and potential opportunities the new year and trade-show season will present. Luckily, we don't need clairvoyance to get an idea of where your company stands. Taking a moment to commune with your own higher sense of purpose and your well-earned understanding of your business can turn predictions into actionable plans, priming you for progress. 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. Watching a camera-enabled machine track and stitch down patches auto- matically is very enticing, but if you don't have incoming business for appliqué and patches that justifies it or the labor in place to run it, you may have some thinking to do before you buy. Systems to automate file transfers and stitch information can take the heat off of the operators as far as selecting and setting up files goes, but you have to make sure that your staff enters the right information and maintains the data with changing orders for any information system to be useful.

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