Learn how to avoid substandard artwork so that your customers stay satisfied and your reputation and profitability remain intact.
Luckily, you can solve this dilemma. The fix involves maintaining a clear understanding of your capabilities, developing a sensitivity to clients' costs, and investing time for education. But most importantly, it involves taking the time to establish an effective, open line of communication between your shop and its clients. Ignorance of the screen-printing process is at the root of your problems with customer-supplied art. By maintaining an open dialogue with customers and helping them understand the capabilities and limitations of the process, you not only remove stumbling blocks from production, you demonstrate a genuine concern for quality and customer satisfaction.
Where to start
Before you can clear up the situation with clients, you need to get your own house in order. By this, I mean you must know how your operation is doing. What jobs run great, good, so-so, lousy? What is the difference in profitability between two similar jobs that run great and lousy? Where did the art come from in each case? What made each run either succeed or fail? Are you tracking any of this information? Do you really know what makes things "click" in your own organization?
Keep details about every job that you produce during a period of one or two months. This exercise will be a pain, but it really is necessary in order to get to the source of your problems. Look for similarities between jobs that worked and ones that did not. You need to play detective here. The more information, associations, and characteristics you can identify, the better off you are. When you complete this exercise, you'll be able to predict success or trouble before a job goes to press.
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