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5 Steps to Take Control of Your Printroom

(December/January 2016) posted on Tue Jan 24, 2017

In a high-volume garment printing plant, everything from clutter on the floor to staff attitudes can eat up valuable production time.

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By Marshall Atkinson

In The Automation Issue, we present a collection of expert essays on an important topic in the industry today. Here, Marshall Atkinson discusses printroom efficiency and automation.

In the back of any shop owner or production manager’s mind is usually one nagging thought: “How can we get more produced today?” Shop production efficiency is a dragon that every company must slay in order to retain customers, drive down costs, and allow for growth.

Most companies face five common obstacles to making their printrooms efficient. These challenges tend to linger in many shops, but they can be overcome using the following strategies. After all, if you can unglue the bottleneck that is causing the disruption, you can accomplish (and produce) more every day.

1. Maximize Capacity
Capacity is an often-used word in production, but to me, it refers to two distinctly different things. The first is the capacity of your staff; the second is the capacity of your equipment. You need to understand both.

Let’s start with your employees. You can have all the latest technology and gizmos on the floor, but if your team only understands a fraction of what to do, or hasn’t been properly trained, then your production output will suffer. If the sales staff books a four-color process job or silicone ink print order on a polyester Dri-Fit shirt, but you haven’t taken the time to master those print techniques, then your capacity to print that type of job will be very low. Sure, you might blindly strike gold the first time, but that’s not a good way to operate.

Staff capacity can be broken down into three questions about any type of job you might consider taking:

• Does your team know how to do the work?
Do they have the proper training, equipment, skill, or experience with what’s on the sales order? If nobody has mastered the ability to print with a discharge underbase, there might be a colossal slowdown when that job comes up on the schedule. This will definitely affect your day’s productivity.


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