Proper Supply Chain Management
There are many ways a screen printing shop can increase productivity and eliminate waste. However, before a shop can become more efficient and productive it must eliminate waste and set rules/standards that are strictly followed. A rule that every print shop should follow is to never run out of the most commonly used supplies. When a shop does not have all of the chemicals, inks, and other supplies that are needed to print, the entire production process can come to a halt. A business’s labor is typically its largest expense, and thus it is extremely important to have what they need and not slow them down. All it takes is to run out of one chemical for an entire shop to be thrown off. It’s a good idea to take weekly inventory of supplies and replenish them before they run out, not after. Supply chain management is not terribly difficult as long as the business has the funds to purchase what it needs.
Outside of running out of supplies, it’s also important to have enough screens with different mesh counts. A shop with more screens has more flexibility when it comes to storing and reclaiming screens. It’s also important to remember that more screens is not always the answer, unless they have the right tension. Screens with too little tension can slow down production as they are harder to work with on the press when it comes to ink sticking to the product and artwork registration. Another way to be more efficient is to clean, coat, and expose screens in batches. By doing the majority of dark and washroom tasks with at least 10 screens at a time makes the per unit time much quicker compared to doing the same task, but not in a batch mode.
Control The Bottleneck
The bottleneck in a production process is where everything slows down and delays the next step in the process. A bottleneck can and should be moved to the most strategic place in a production process so it doesn’t delay any other steps. For example, if an automatic printing press can print 600 shirts an hour, but the conveyor dryer that cures the shirts can only handle 400, then the dryer is the bottleneck as its slowing down the press. It’s typically a good idea to move the bottleneck to the very beginning or very end of a process.
Employee Chemistry & Communication
Every business requires quality employees to be successful. Because screen printing is very much so a trade skill the quality/capability of employees within a shop can vary greatly. The more skilled/experienced an employee is the more money they will demand because they are faster at what they do and capable of doing more in general than a less skilled employee. Screen printing shops greatly in size and the shops that are larger should hire employees with a mix of experience/capabilities. While every business would love to only hire the best possible talent, it often isn’t affordable. That is why it is important to have at least one person with a lot of experience for every 3-4 employees who have less.
Chemistry between employees is very important as a shop is a team effort. Screen printing shops are often broken into two sections/departments: floor production and office administration (including the art department). It is important that both individuals who work on the production floor and the graphic art department have a strong line of communication and take the time to understand how the other department works. The more screen printers on the production floor understand about digital artwork the better they can communicate how to prepare it for easier printing to the art department. This requires that the art department take the time to learn the basics of screen printing and just a few hours of learning can save a lot of future time for both departments.
Use Production & Order Management Software, DecoNetwork
Every business wants to improve their bottom line and increase productivity and one of the most common ways to do so is to use technology / software. Technology / software can make a screen printing shop run much more efficiently, reduce mistakes, and eliminate a lot of tedious time consuming tasks. DecoNetwork is the leading industry software for custom decoration businesses who offer screen printing and/or embroidery. The software allows a screen printing shop to manage their entire business remotely through an online website application. This allows the software to be accessed on any device and used throughout the entire production process by multiple employees. Visit DecoNetwork.com to learn more about the amazing game-changing software that can take your screen print shop to the next level.