February '20

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 23 of 68

2 0 2 0 F E B R U A R Y P R I N T W E A R 2 1 take orders, and handle approvals. The new shop that follows the intended workflow of a well-made software system will more than likely find themselves operating in a profes- sional, sustainable way from the start. As the software manages the flow and storage of information, organizes production, and records customer contact, the shop benefits from this consistent record of their work and accessible information that spans back to their initial contact with customers. This store of information makes jobs repeatable, and paired with these imposed good habits for collecting and storing information, allows them to add sales or management staff with some ease as they grow. HELPING NEW HIRES Whereas shop owners often have trouble handing over tasks when they move away from sole proprietorship, those who start out with a system benefit from being able to allow new hires controlled access to this systematically recorded information. Rather than relying on the heroic efforts of an owner or worker who 'just knows where things are' (often leaving staff scrambling whenever there's an unplanned absence) or having workers dig physically through filed paperwork or virtual document stores, order history, and contact informa- tion is available to anyone who can log in and search. Every client call benefits from staffers who know not only the current status of any order in the process but everything there is orders incorrectly, the established meth- ods of operation can be hard to unlearn. At this point, organizing a shop requires abandoning habits, recovering and enter- ing information trapped in old storage methods, and still learning how to oper- ate the tools needed for a new system. It's harder by far to organize with that baggage in tow. TOOLS THAT TEACH AND TRAIN Though initial order volumes may not seem to warrant a complex system, the hidden benefit of this early adoption of decoration-specific management software is that the working through the system can inform your process and workflow. Partic- ularly for more inexperienced decorators, relying on the system means that they'll be immediately using industry-proven meth- ods to interview customers, create quotes, Most cloud-based shop management solutions also in- clude online stores. They have become tools for increasing profits rather than just ways to refine internal processes.

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