If you don't deliver on time, your customers get hurt. They might need their merch for a race, a big event, a concert or a holiday. Your customers fail if you don't get them what you promised exactly when you promised it. Your reputation and their success are on the line.
Mike Chong from Merch Monster shares his knowledge about managing the hectic schedules that screen printing shops encounter. Juggling multiple jobs at different stages of production requires constant vigilance and revision – and a great calendar.
One of the biggest complaints about screen printers is that they get overwhelmed and drop the ball on projects that are really important to the customer. Running a screen printing shop is organized chaos management. We might have 50 to 100 jobs in the queue at any given moment – with multiple competing priorities and needs! You must make sure that all of the jobs are moving forward at the same time. Proactively managing your calendar helps eliminate issues with missed due dates.
You'll learn how Mike uses Printavo's calendar to quickly gather high-level information about what he needs to do each and every day. He'll also explain his philosophy behind managing chaos and show you specific examples from his shop:
Why would you want to hear from me?
First, I run Merch Monster in Oakland, CA – so I'm in the trenches every single day and know exactly how chaotic scheduling jobs can become.
I can't do all 100 things required to complete every job that comes through my shop. The most valuable thing I can do for my team is to identify potential problems in our schedule before they stop us dead in our tracks.
The first step to successful production is creating and organizing a detailed calendar. Since the stickiest part of the process in my screen printing shop is art approval, I build my scheduling around it.
Here's how I use Printavo's calendar to help with scheduling & managing production.
Printavo's flexibility and rich customization features mean that you have a lot of room to develop your own system for scheduling & organizing jobs through each stage of your production process.
The goal here? Visually get a high-level perspective of where jobs are through a single glance at your calendar in Printavo.
I do two major things to help with organization:
When I have this info and understand my system's cues, it's trivial to see where a job is stuck in our process and anticipate problems over the next few production days.
The primary goal is to remove any blockages that could stop the job from being delivered to the customer on schedule.
I go through my calendar and prioritize from most immediate to least immediate, starting with the next three days of production.
I'm also looking for dependencies that can stop a job's production. In the video, I give the example of custom hats that need heat transfers I've contracted out to Transfer Express. The contracting timeline with Transfer Express is 2 days of production and 2 days of shipping. I need at least 4 days of leeway – and preferably more to allow for problems out of my control, like missed UPS deliveries or transfers that aren't as requested.
Here's the workflow I follow when I'm choosing which actions need to take place:
It's one thing to describe my action list. It's another for you to see how simple this system really is. Here is the list from the video:
•Race event: send ACH, exchange contact info
•9683: Cut vinyl
•Hand off embroidery jobs
•Send 9898 job to Art
•9005: make proofs
•DL job: sort out rose gold ink question
•10020: send proof for job
•9955: send proof today, due Monday
•10009: need to order garments
•10029: follow up re: arrival of goods
•DL job: order garments
•9695: transfers coming Wednesday
This lets me easily see everything I need to do immediately, as well as which job it's for and which area of production the problem is in.
We love organization. A lot. The Printavo calendar is the central hub for getting jobs organized so your shop can print with confidence.
If you've got a tip for organizing your print shop, let us know. In the meantime, here are three more ways Mike has improved productivity in his shop:
There's always more help with setting up & using Printavo – as well as marketing and business advice from seasoned professionals – on our YouTube channel.
Printavo is simple shop management software. Whether your shop works with screen printing, embroidery, signage, digital printing, or awards & engraving–we make your complex workflow simpler to manage and understand. Printavo keeps your shop organized by handling scheduling, estimates, quote approvals, workflow, payments, accounting and more. With Printavo, you’ll work smarter–not harder.Try Printavo