March '23

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4 4 G R A P H I C S P R O • M A R C H 2 0 2 3 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M E fficiency in your sign or wrap shop is one of the most important ways to increase profits. Many ways to save time and perform tasks in a more streamlined manner can be found through- out your shop — in the workflow, the tools you use, and the way you interact with customers. If you're a newer shop that is still establishing your business or you're going through a slow spell, inefficiency isn't always as evident. Still, unneces- sary busyness can take away from marketing, cash flow management, and other ways you can build your business. If your shop is super busy, having an inefficient workflow and taking extra steps reduces your job turnover and cuts into your profits. Walking through our shop, I noted a bunch of different things we do to speed up a task. Some of these are small steps, and some are bigger tools, but the point of each was that it made us more efficient in some way. ese are just a few of the many things we do, but if even one sparks an idea for your shop, it's worth a mention. After noting the different tasks, I grouped them into four areas of our business that they affect — counter/customer interaction, workflow (how a job moves through our shop), production, and instal- lation. Mentally walk through each area of your shop and note ways a tool or process could make your shop more efficient. Counter/customer interaction We needed a way to track completed jobs once we called the customer. A simple custom stamp allows us to note the date, who called, and if we spoke to someone, left a message, or sent an email. (Fig. 1) After three attempts to reach a customer, we bill any balance to keep our cash flow on track. Other stamps, like our billed stamp, give us a line to note the date, and then we jot W WC (white was sent with the customer), emailed, or mailed. We also utilize a paid stamp and a deposited stamp in accounting for quick tracking. We print three invoices — a white copy for the customer, a yellow copy for accounting, and a pink copy that we file with work orders and other paperwork. Unless we email a PDF of the white copy, we have to print three invoices for every job. Instead of stopping to collate the three sheets of paper each time, we have a dedicated laser printer at the front counter. In this printer, we have the white, yellow, and pink paper already collated, so we can send invoices to that printer from any com- puter in the shop without having to load the paper first. We have a second laser printer just for print- ing out proofs, emails, or other documents. is printer is also networked, and we can print to it from any computer in the shop. Each printer is near the front counter, so it's centrally located for everyone. (Fig. 2 & 3) Near the front counter, we have some wall racks. (Fig. 4) Once a customer picks up their signs or vehicle, the processed yellow and pink invoices must go somewhere. One rack is labeled "Billed," and one is labeled "Paid." Above these are a couple of wall racks for packing sheets, supplier invoices, receipts, or other paperwork for accounting. We drop the invoices and paperwork in the correct rack L E T ' S T A L K S H O P | C H A R I T Y J A C K S O N Charity Jackson is co-owner of Visual Horizons Custom Signs based in Modesto, California. She has been in business since 1995, and has worked in the sign industry for nearly 30 years. You can visit her website at Shop Efficiency Tips & tricks to improve efficiency 1 W I D E - F O R M A T P R I N T I N G

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