Impressions - September/October 2010 - (Page 52)

HANDS ON >> SCREEN PRINTING >> HANDS ON TECH TIPS HANDS ON >> HANDS ON Production SCREEN PRINTING HANDS ON TECH TIPS HANDS ON Improve Profits with an In-House Shop Tune-Up Taking a look under the “hood” of your shop and analyzing workflow procedures and operations can result in a smoother-running, more efficient business. Simple tasks like taping up a box can cost you three times as much if you don’t explain to employees why they should only be using one strip of tape, not three. All photos courtesy of Mind’s Eye Graphics, Decatur, Ind. we expect them to learn that way. Over time, after they’re comfortable with that process, they may discover a better, faster or cheaper way of doing things — and we want their input. If their suggestion doesn’t work, we take the time to explain why it doesn’t so that we don’t discourage them from offering future ideas. Showing employees written documentation about workflow also helps them see the steps that happen before and after their individual tasks. Thus, they get a much better sense of how their work affects the entire process. GETTING STARTED When there’s a one-time problem in a particular area of your shop, you probably don’t need to worry about it too much. For instance, if a customer service representative forgets once to get a customer’s written approval on artwork, chalk it up to a memory slip. However, if there’s a recurring problem in your company — whether it’s a frequent failure to get written approval on artwork, a production person constantly using an incorrect ink mixture or a manager neglecting to keep enough T-shirts in stock — it’s definitely time to take a closer look at the process. In other words, it’s time to evaluate your workflow. Prior to conducting any workflow analysis, you must have a firm process in place. There’s no way of knowing if you’re doing a task correctly if there is no “correct” way of doing things in your shop. That 52 Impressions >> September/October 2010 said, part of any shop’s standard operating procedure should be to have a flow chart for key processes, documenting the entire workflow — each step involved in every key process. You may think it would be easy to get carried away with the documentation of these standard operating procedures. For instance, you may think a chart explaining how to tape a box is taking things a bit too far. However, a simple instructional piece showing employees that they should use only one strip of 3-inch packing tape instead of three strips can save time and money over the long run. When employees know how to do something — and more importantly, why they should do things that way — they have a greater sense of ownership in the process. We make it clear to our staff that we have a certain way of doing things, and Admittedly, the task of writing out all of these steps can be overwhelming. After all, there’s so much to do that you may be wondering where to start. The answer: Start where the problems are occurring. Where in your shop are things getting backed up? Screen making? Shipping? Purchasing? Wherever this bottleneck occurs is your starting point for documenting workflow. For some people, especially entrepreneurs, writing down a process is extremely difficult. You may not see the value in it; you may just feel that you don’t have time for it; or you may reason that you have all of the information in your head, and that’s good enough for you. However, even if you can somehow keep all of this information straight in your memory, you’re only one person — and you can bet that others in your shop don’t have the same flawless memory that you apparently have.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Impressions - September/October 2010

Impressions - September/October 2010
First Impressions
Product Gallery
2010 Top-Volume Decorators
Back to Basics
Inside Outerwear
Technique: Use Proper Techniques to Easily Embroider Fleece
Technique: Water-Based Ink and the Environment
For Screen Printers Only
Online Directory
Tech Tips
Using Layer Styles for Digital Printing
On Design
Business to Business
Ad Index

Impressions - September/October 2010