Automate Your Shop's Workflow

The more streamlined your shop’s operation is, the more efficient, productive and potentially profitable you can be. Arranging your shop’s physical layout to optimize the speed with which an apparel shipment can be received, decorated and sent out is essential. To further ramp up efficiency, decorators can leverage technology tools to better automate operations.

Eliminate disks. If you send embroidery designs to your machines by disk, you’re bogging down your production process, says Ed Levy, director of software technologies for Hirsch International (asi/14982). Shops that deal with an average of 20 designs per day could be losing as much as 1.5 hours daily because of the time it takes to transmit designs this way. To turn those fruitless minutes into productive ones, send designs straight to machines in seconds through a direct connection or over a network. Tech offerings that can help you accomplish this include adaptable and expandable networking solutions from Pulse Microsystems, which require no proprietary networking hardware and are compatible with another automation helper – Tajima, Librarian, a computer-based design management system.

Get business management software. The right business management software can help you standardize and automate the complex components of production and shop management. “There are good software options out there that can streamline order entry, especially on re-orders,” says Jay Malanga, president of ShopWorks, which makes business management software OnSite. “Another benefit is order status: You’ll know what’s going on with an order by clicking a button.” Invest in software tailored for the industry. Beyond order entry and job tracking, such solutions aid in clearly communicating job requirements, accounting, purchasing, pricing, and shipping/receiving.

Use design automation tools. Software makers have built smart functions into their systems to make the design and fulfilment process more automated. For instance, EmbroideryStudio Team Names from Wilcom Embroidery Software empowers you to take a single design and then personalize it with names from a list. The system pairs a logo from one file with the names from another file, readying everything for stitching while speeding up the personalization process. Meanwhile, Wilcom’s Auto Fabric applies suitable underlay, pull compensation and stitch density settings for different fabrics.