Rick wrote an article recently about cleanliness. Cleanliness is something that is often overlooked in print shops, because print shops can get dirty so easily. Printing thousands of shirts a day creates a lot of lint and when you are moving too fast, you don’t stop to clean up the ink that spilled on the floor. When someone steps on the ink on the floor, they track it through the shop and at that point, who cares about cleanliness anymore?
Creating good habits is really important for cleanliness. Slow down, wipe up the floor, pick up trash before you trip over it 10 trying to avoid it. If you can create good habits, your shop will start getting cleaner. One of those habits is staying organized.
Some people are good at organization, some people are not, but as we probably all know, if we are organized we can move quicker with less chaos. Before I started screen printing, I was a cable guy. The company I worked for paid by the job, not by the hour. So I knew that the quicker I worked, the more money I would make. I also knew that if I cut corners they would back charge me for the job. I didn’t want that so I figured out how to work efficiently and be prepared.
Every morning I would organize my truck and my tool belt to make sure I had everything I needed for the day. I wanted to avoid going back to the depot in the middle of the day, because that wasted time and time is money. Then when I walked into a customers house, I made sure my toolbelt had everything I needed so that I would not have to go back out to my truck for anything, because even though the truck was close by, walking out the door wasted time. I installed cable in a 30,000 square foot house once, believe me, even finding the front door took forever.
I have sat in our production area at the print shop and watched people run out of things throughout the day, stop their jobs, walk across our shop, talk to 7 different people on the way, and then grab the can of glue just to walk back talking to 5 more people. This is very expensive for a business owner. In 15 minutes at least 100 shirts could have been printed, but no… had to get a can of glue instead. What I have tried to do is create an organized space for our press operators with all of the supplies that they need for the day. If you or a supervisor can make sure that every morning their supplies are full, the press operators will be well equipped to make it through the day without wasting to much time. Organize, label, set expectations. Once you set expectations you should also inspect what you expect. That doesn’t mean be “Big Brother” just hold people accountable for their actions.
Not only did I label where things should go, so that you can easily see if things are missing, I took a picture of the way the supplies should look and taped it next to the supply area. This way at a glance we know if products need to be refilled.