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Shop Management 101: The Tactical Use of Time

(February/March 2018) posted on Tue Mar 13, 2018

What if your team had more hours in a day to concentrate on their roles in getting quality products out the door?

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By Marshall Atkinson

For example, let’s say you have noticed that your press crews spend a lot of time taping up pinholes in the screens. What’s causing that? To find out, you do what’s known as root cause analysis – a fancy term that means putting on your detective hat to systematically figure out what’s wrong. Your research eventually leads you to the screen reclaiming process, and you learn that a new team member there isn’t degreasing the screens properly, causing the production issues on the floor.

When you don’t interject that problem solving work into a situation like this, nothing gets fixed. Think about the time that is wasted every day. The lost output adds up, and too often, no one even notices. This is why having a continuous improvement program is vital to increasing your shop’s efficiency. There is only so much time in a day. Every moment that your staff isn’t adding value to an order is time that is wasted.

Solve Your Time Crunch
There are a number of ways you can improve time management throughout your company. Personally, I like to use a three-step process called “Identify, Discuss, Solve.”

Identify     Gather your team together and spend some time with a whiteboard or even a legal pad. Brainstorm the challenges they are facing and the issues that result. List every challenge. Some may be silly or appear trivial, but that’s OK. Get everything out in the open.

Discuss     Next, spend some time discussing the list. What stands out? Are there any similar issues you can
combine? Eliminate ones that can’t be worked on or are not relevant at the moment. Then, prioritize the list with
the team. Look for ones that, if solved, could improve other challenges on the list. Get buy-in on which are most urgent. Discuss and strategize each one, then number the top choices.

Solve     Look at the most urgent item and make it a priority to figure out how to address it. Do you have to buy something? Do people need any training? Develop an action plan to solve that problem so it never happens again. Use your team to implement and agree on this change. You’ll create more tactical uses for your staff’s time by getting better.

Read more from Screen Printing's February/March 2018 Garment Issue or check out more advice from The Marshall Plan.


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