October '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 O C T O B E R G R A P H I C S P R O 7 1 need for your sublimation process to keep up with your orders. For example, we ran a sale on coffee mugs. We looked at our sales for the item and knew we sold at least 900 per year or 75 per month, which is not a ton, but still a good amount for the time. Then we reached out to our suppliers to check case pricing and how many to a skid. We found that buying by the skid would cut our pric- ing by 50 cents per mug, but we had a new issue — storing them. So, we worked out a contract deal. The first four months of the year, we would take 10 cases each month, giving us time the year before to market harder in the first quarter. Another great thing about having stock that no one thinks about — mugs can break or have coating defects, so you usually have to hold them and return them for credit, and most often, you may not have enough to finish your order. By having stock, you just grab another mug and finish your order. This allows you to keep production mov- ing faster and get paid faster. It gives you the ability to take more rush orders too. Our first year doing this, we ended up go- ing through two skids of coffee mugs and improved our production times and profit margins on this one item alone. STAFFING AND EQUIPMENT The next two things knowing your data analytics can help with are staffing and equipment. When you track your produc- tion times with each staff member, you can build an average run time. You can truly know your employee cost per item and your average profit per hour. Once you have an average, and if your staff can run more than one piece of equipment at a time, then you can maximize your aver- age output along with their hourly rate for handling more work at once. Once you get to an 85% average of what your equipment and employee can handle, you can use your data analytics to deter- mine growth patterns and when you might need more staff or equipment. You do not want to wait until either are at 100% compacity, or you take a chance of burn- ing either one out. Always be proactive in avoiding that. You never want to overwork your crew or equipment, and your data can help curb that by setting realistic goals. If you overwork your staff, your quality can slip, and you can burn your equip- ment out at the same time. Lose-lose for all. Use your data to improve production, maintain quality, and stay ahead of your growth patterns to build a great work en- vironment and high-quality products for your customers. As you can see, knowing your data ana- lytics is key to knowing how fast your com- pany can grow to the next level in. Use it to your advantage to not only grow your company but to protect your company. All you need to do is invest your time in learning and knowing your numbers and apply them! GP HOWARD POTTER has worked in the promotional industry for 17 years, from designing to building brands and a family-owned business. He is the co-owner and CEO of A&P Master Images LLC with his wife, Amanda. Their company offers graphic design, screen printing, embroidery, sublimation, vinyl graphics, and promo- tional items. Howard, his family, and the business reside in Utica, New York. For more information, please visit

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