Get Everything in Order

There will be a day when everything goes perfectly at your business. Files will be prepared and ready to go. Shipments will be all accounted for. The day’s projects will be rigorously scheduled, and you’ll even finish ahead of time. Fires (of the metaphorical kind, I would hope) won’t even have a chance to ignite.

I’m talking about the perfect day at work – and it doesn’t have to be a pipe dream.

How do you make it happen? By optimizing your shop to run as efficiently as possible. You can iron out the fixable problems. You can give production a much-needed cushion. You can be in total control.

With that in mind, we present this month’s cover story: “The Perfect Order.” It details the perfect scenario for every key part of the order process, from the first phone call with the customer to the follow-up of a completed order. In between are the essential steps that often are the culprits behind lost productivity. Here is how to fix them:

Work Orders: The client wants red, but is it Ketchup Red (Pantone 186) or Tomato Red (Pantone 032)? Identify the specific pantone colors the client wants to save hours of needless communication between the press operator, salesperson and client.

Artwork: Vector or raster art is always preferred. And if the client wants you to blow up her small logo? Be sure to charge for your time.

Approval Process: Something as simple as inadvertantly flipping the back and front logos on a shirt can be avoided. Empower your staff to catch errors in each step of the production process.

“These are essential parts of your business, and the sooner you get them ‘perfect,’ the sooner you will boost your productivity.”

These are essential parts of your business, and the sooner you get them “perfect,” the sooner you will boost your productivity and revenue.

Sometimes, though, we can’t have it perfect. Sometimes there are forces out of our control (in the form of major industry shifts) that affect how you do business.Those surprises are preventable, and it’s our goal at the magazine to inform you about these macro trends.

That certainly applies to PVC ink, the subject of a feature story in our Screen-Printing Success section. The biggest apparel brands in the world like Nike and Zara have told their screen printers not to use plastisol ink (in the name of product safety and environmental concerns). Ink and equipment companies in our industry are heavily exploring non-PVC alternatives – waterbase inks and others like silicone and “Acrysol.”

It’s very possible that PVC becomes persona non grata, just like phthalates were a few years ago, and that you may be forced to print with something other than plastisol ink. Find out now why the shift is occurring, what your ink alternatives are and how long it would take you to move on from plastisol. (Hint : It’s more than a day.)

Let’s end on a perfect note: Wearables recently won a Jesse H. Neal award for our October cover story on wearable technology, “The T-shirt That Thinks.” The Neals have very high standards, and we are grateful to be recognized for this award.

Thanks for reading,

What’s In My Closet?

Each issue, we ask our readers a simple question: What is your favorite branded apparel item in your closet? Send in a photo of you and your favorite garment, and tell us in a paragraph why you love it. We run one submission each issue, and that lucky winner receives a $25 Visa Gift Card.

This issue, our submission comes from Tim Holliday, co-owner of Children’s World Uniform Supply (asi/161711): “I love this shirt! Why? Maybe it’s from living in Florida and not having many days to wear it. Or maybe it’s because it’s a throwback to times gone by from the ’70s or ’80s (it even has “Throwback Winter” printed on the lower left). Or, maybe it’s because I got the shirt years ago when I was a youth minister and was taking Florida kids who had never seen snow up to West Virginia for a ski trip retreat. I don’t know for sure which (or all) of those things do it for me, but as soon as the weather cools in Florida (for the few days a year that it does), I always pull this shirt out of the closet first. It’s comfy and fun. And almost every time I wear it, I get a comment about the cool guy on the front. It’s a throwback for sure, and, probably too cool for me, but I love it anyway!”