A big part of keeping your customers happy is filling their orders in a timely fashion - here are some tips for doing just that.
One of the best ways to keep your screen printing customers happy and returning with additional business is to produce their orders as quickly as you can without sacrificing quality. Reducing your turnaround time is a good way to separate your business from your competition, since many screen printing orders are highly time sensitive.
When a customer needs shirts in a hurry for an upcoming event, the quicker you can get the job done, the more likely that customer is to choose your shop over another. However, you have to be careful not to cut corners, which can cause mistakes, upset your customers and hurt your shop’s reputation. Here are some tips for getting orders out quicker while maintaining high quality prints.
1. Create accurate work orders
When you prepare a work order for a screen printing job, you have to make sure the information is both correct and complete before you can begin production. Double check each work order to make sure it contains all the details you need to complete the job. Having to go back and fill in missing information or correct wrong information wastes valuable time that could be spent printing shirts.
2. Build a library of past orders
Keeping detailed records of your past jobs and the machine parameters, supplies and techniques you used to complete them will give you a library of experience to draw from. When a repeat order or a similar order comes in, you won’t be struggling to remember how you successfully completed it the first time, you’ll have a helpful written guide to use.
3. Arrange your equipment efficiently
Your screen printing shop layout should be set up to eliminate wasted movement. When workers have to retrace their steps or cross paths multiple times throughout the production process, there’s probably some room to improve your layout to save time and energy. Sketching out the path your workers take over the course of a print run can help you spot ways to make your floor plan as efficient as possible.
For more ideas, read Tips for Planning the Perfect Screen Printing Shop Layout
4. Be realistic about your capabilities
While it can be tempting to try to take on even the tightest rush orders, be honest with yourself and your customers about your capabilities. Don’t make promises to your customers that you know you can’t keep. Keeping a record of how long it took to complete past jobs will help you accurately gauge how quickly you can turn orders around. By analyzing your past performance, you can give your customers realistic estimates of turnaround time, and it can also help you identify areas where you can speed up.
5. Prioritize your jobs
In today’s fast-paced business world, it’s not enough to simply produce jobs in the order they’re received. You must carefully prioritize them so you can make the most of your time to get each order filled as quickly as possible (while keeping careful watch to make sure your print quality isn’t suffering as a result). Some questions you might ask yourself to help prioritize jobs include:
- Are some customers’ deadlines more flexible than others? You can tackle orders with hard-and-fast deadlines first, so you don’t have to turn away more urgent clients.
- Do you have the required supplies on hand to fill the order, or will you have to wait while they’re special ordered? If you’ve got everything you need in inventory (without cannibalizing supplies required for other orders), you can move that order up in priority.
- How big is the order and how many workers will it take to produce it? If you’re shorthanded, big orders can set you back, so plan accordingly.
- What machine will you use to produce the order? If you’ve got a manual and an automatic screen printing press available, you shouldn’t tie up the auto with small orders that can be handled easily on the manual machine while bigger orders are in the queue.
6. Carefully document your processes
While there’s no shortage of variables that go into screen printing, having established written processes can help you every step of the way. When you document the most effective ways to produce orders, you’ll have a guide to follow that can save you time. A solid process is also scalable, giving you a workable plan for how to handle orders of any size.
7. Consider shop management software
There are a few different shop management software options on the market for screen printers, and they can all help you stay organized and keep from wasting time. Having all your orders in one place, laid out in a calendar with key information like job statuses, work orders and customer details right at your fingertips will help you stay on schedule and avoid confusion.
In a busy screen printing shop, it can be difficult to stay on top of your orders and get them filled in a timely fashion. However, by applying some of these ideas, you can streamline your workflow and reduce your turnaround time without cutting corners or sacrificing quality.
Want some more information about how to keep your screen printing orders organized? Check out these blogs:screen printing business, screen printing equipment setup, screen printing methods