Stitches

Tech Top-Up

With the pace of the business world always increasing, fast turnaround times of decorated-apparel orders have become inextricably linked with quality customer service. To compete, shops must deliver expertly embroidered wearables within super-slim deadlines. Having reliable employees and a production space optimized for easy order flow are essential to coming through in the clutch, but that’s often not enough anymore. To speed production and maintain quality, decorating shops like Blue Heron Industries are bolstering their backend technology systems to streamline orders. “We’ve really gotten a lot more in-depth with our technology,” says President Kevin Kelly. “It’s helping us run more efficiently.”

Recently, Blue Heron leveraged software investments and in-house IT talent to invigorate its order production process. The upgrades focused on providing the tech infrastructure necessary to improve how orders are received and tracked internally. “We wanted to tighten the reins on the whole process to make it run better,” Kelly says. The work has proved profitable, significantly improving communication among staffers and reducing unnecessary downtime. “We’re making more of every minute,” Kelly says. “Things come together quicker.”

Thanks to the improvements, for example, New Jersey-based Blue Heron has been able to quicken its e-commerce fulfillment, especially on single-piece orders that comprise a chunk of the shop’s business. With these more rapid turns helping to make customers happy and providing the ability to complete more orders, Kelly is optimistic about sales for 2014. “With what we’re seeing, the numbers are trending toward a bigger increase than last year,” he says.