Size: 14,000 square feet
This shop is set up for robust production now and future growth over the next few years. We’ve extended the typical medium-sized shop (usually 10,000 square feet and under) to accommodate high-end equipment and additional support personnel as the company ramps up its e-commerce footprint.
Medium-Sized Shop: (See the digital infographic here) http://www.wearables-digital.com/publication/?i=273487&p=40
1-Most companies can get away with one loading dock, since incoming and outgoing shipments come in and out at different times of day. But two loading docks is a luxury that helps even more with workflow.
2-DZ: “A logical set-up starts with this: you don’t have clean blanks anywhere near ink until they’re on the press.”
3-MA: “For people who do the work like shipping and receiving, use a stand-up desk with no chairs. When they’re standing up and using bar code scanners and technology to bring the interface to the work, it is so much better.”
4-This shop’s workflow is simple: starting on the left, through production in the middle and then exiting on the right. Another option is to arrange production in a big circle, so goods end where they started – back at a single loading dock.
5-DZ: “To me, choosing between a manual and an automatic is a really simple, simple question. People will say ‘Well, automatic presses cost five times as much.’ Absolutely it does. And it’s 10 times as productive."
6-CT: “I would say 80% of the companies have too much space between their press and their dryer. Ideally, if you’re going to be efficient, you twist to put a shirt on the dryer but your feet don’t move. Usually I like to have 18” from the takeoff to the dryer.”
7-Heat presses can be used to cure DTG shirts, but conveyor dryers are still the best option, particularly with industrial printers.
8-High ceilings are easier to keep a shop cool and eliminate claustrophobia. But consider your local climate: shops in cold regions will be much harder to heat during the winter.
9-Staging is essential to having a productive shop. With space not at a premium, there is plenty of room to stage the day’s (and the next day’s) orders.
10-DZ: “To me, choosing between a manual and an automatic is a really simple, simple question. People will say ‘Well, automatic presses cost five times as much.’ Absolutely it does. And it’s 10 times as productive."
11-MA: “With the Kornit Paradigm II, you can have the full CMYK range of a direct-to-garment print with a lower underbase cost, but you can also add really cool applications to make it more retail friendly.”
12-CT: “Once you go to an automatic, you definitely want a gas-fired dryer. The ability to control the heat is that much greater. The cost of gas is considerably less than electricity. I think one of the big mistakes that people make is they buy big electric dryers. The cost of your electricity is going to kill you.”
13-This shop’s modern touches: A paperless system with job tracking through PCs or even tablets. LED lights with motion sensors. And at least three-phase electricity with panels that can be easily added to.
14-CT: “I find it difficult to tell clients to buy less than an eight-color or a 10-color automatic, even on their first one. I know the cost of going to more heads is higher, but if you’re going to make the jump anyway, you’ve added a huge amount of flexibility to your shop.”
15-As a general rule, longer dryer heat chambers enable quicker production. But to determine the correct length, companies like M&R crunch the numbers for you.
16-MA: “What you want is as much natural light as possible so you don’t have to use as much indoor lighting. Just put a bank of windows at the top of a wall. It’s not that difficult to do, yet most shops these days are windowless pre-fab metal buildings.”
17-CT: “The reason I love to put a production office on a second floor is that they can see workflow, and they can see where things are jamming up and work out how to get around those things.”
18-MA: “The questions people don’t think about – we’re adding salespeople, where do they sit? We’re adding artists, where do they sit?”
19-MA: “What you want is as much natural light as possible so you don’t have to use as much indoor lighting. Just put a bank of windows at the top of a wall. It’s not that difficult to do, yet most shops these days are windowless pre-fab metal buildings.”
20-Take the guesswork out of mixing inks with an automated ink dispenser, like PolyOne’s Wilflex DM4. Better yet, you can reduce your ink inventory by half.