Awards & Engraving

March '20

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42 • A&E MARCH 2020 T he vast majority of personalization businesses have one to four people working in them. During our busy seasons, stress, errors, and wasted time can cost us in both money and health. It's not the time to have employees or ourselves out sick. Efficiency becomes critical to make deadlines and manage all the rush jobs that seem to be more prevalent these days. Running an Efficient Personalization Business During Your Busy Season Bob Hagel and his wife Dana own Eagle's Mark Awards & Signs, offering a full line of personalized products using laser engraving, sand etching, and full-color UV direct print on products. They have offered awards, recognition, and signage products to organizations for more than a decade in the Southern California wine country. He can be reached at YOUR LASER AT WORK By Bob Hagel Here are 20 ideas you can implement to help you run an efficient and less stressful business during your busiest seasons. SHOP POLICIES Customer policies We all develop some customer policies as we grow our business and gain experi- ence. There are a few that become more important when we get exceptionally busy. It is not unusual to receive change requests for name spellings, text, or even the layout and graphics after an order is submitted. I process orders in a sequence that makes sense for my production efficiency, not in the order they come in. So, I may start on an order immediately after I receive it. Make sure customers know when you consider an order final. The customer also may not have everything you need to process the order when they place it, but you may have been given a deadline as to when they need it. Have a policy for the customer as to when you must receive everything from them to make their deadline. Don't let the customer dictate when you have to process their order. Flexibility is key to efficiency. As I am the whole production team and offer three pro- duction methods (laser, sandcarving, and full-color UV printing), I bundle sand- carving and full-color printing jobs together for a more efficient use of my time. As I may etch or print only once or twice a week, time flexibility is important to me. Internal Policies and Procedures You may want to consider and create some employee policies about work if you have employees. Time off during busy times should be kept to a minimum. Breaks 20 pointers to keep you on track Our customer policies for artwork and graphics, customer products, and pricing and terms. It's crucial to develop customer policies as you grow your business and move into your busy season. ALL IMAGES COURTESY BOB HAGEL Here is an example of a checklist for accepting a customer's product, graphics, and information for personalization.

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