September '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 S E P T E M B E R G R A P H I C S P R O 6 1 research. She found a scheduling software online called Keep and Share, which al- lowed us to scan our orders in and upload them to the calendar daily. Later that night or the next morning, I could move the jobs digitally for each employee, so they knew what order to run first. Then she had me create the math for- mula I used to quote customers; she used Microsoft Excel to create pricing grids and created digital order forms with the same program that allowed us to stop handwrit- ing orders. We could save the orders and look them up, so she could start helping me quote and write up orders faster. You punch in the cost of the item, quantity, and amount of locations, and the cost per unit is generated in seconds. This was a massive help and gave me more time at home with my family. By year 10, we were creating a ton of pa- per order forms for customers, which was a huge pain since we had to design and print the copies, then when they came back, we had to tally them all. My wife researched an online software for us to create online stores for our customers, which cost around $200 per month. That was a small monthly investment to make since it made ordering easier, and customers could pay with a credit card right away along with not wasting the time or money to print every order form. They could share the store link on social media, which gave us free advertising and more orders faster since online stores can be shared quickly. We also purchased our 5,500-square-foot building in year 10 that we are in still today. Before we made the purchase, though, I had to make sure the building was the right fit for our equipment and workflow, so I got a copy of the floor plans, measured our equipment, and created a rough drawing in Illustrator to build a roadmap as to how everything would work in our building beforehand. From there, I went to the actual building and used masking tape to mark everything out to doublecheck my math. Just using my graphic design software helped me problem solve and know ahead of time that within a year or so we could outgrow the building, but we still had an acre of land to keep expanding on. By the time we moved in on Feb. 1, 2014, we were up to 13 staff and more production, customer service, boxing orders, deliver- ies, and more. We kept using the same software for the first four years. During that time, we added an app to our phones called Slack, which allowed all of the staff to communicate about work. We had one that would tell us our replacement or add-on orders right away and another to let us know when the calendar was all loaded, so I could start booking the jobs that came in that day. Around our 14th year in business, we started to realize with all of the moving parts and all the software programs, we were losing time bouncing screen to screen to do simple tasks, costing us valuable time. My wife and I researched business production software for our line of work, but most did not handle everything we needed it to or all of the processes we offered. So, we decided The old Excel form we used to type up orders.

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