Staging is the key to proper production planning for garment screen printers. This primer will help you start staging your garment jobs effectively.
Each department must respond to production planning according to its capability and the production requirements. What happens when a department can’t keep up with other departments or the printing press? If you’re staging at the press, it is immediately apparent which component is missing. In essence, you now have a capacity shortfall—a bottleneck—where you don’t want one. You must address this shortfall immediately; otherwise, the remaining materials in staging will have no value.
Checking for process control
As soon as an order is entered into the system, each department should be aware of the order and what is involved in filling it. Each should also know when its component products are expected at the staging location. Here’s a list of some of the necessary information for each job that specific departments need to know.
• Garment inventory: the kind of garment, fabric content, number of pieces, and size ranges
• Art/film: the size of the design, number of colors, any special placement of the design on the garment, and, possibly, size-range patterns
• Ink: the color-matching information, run length, specialty inks that may be involved, and sample fabric for testing
• Screenmaking: the number of colors, size of the design, run length, substrate (for mesh count and frame size), and projected dates for art completion and print production
• Printing: all the information that the other departments require so that a press, squeegees, platens, etc., may be selected for the print run.
Once the order is written, a copy needs to go to each department simultaneously with the pertinent information for each. Each department is then responsible for producing its component product is a specific time frame. Each department should have its own staging procedures, designed specifically for that department’s process, as well as quality-control checks.
Plan rather than react
You can’t separate staging from planning. The production plan is crucial to production staging, and staging enables the success of the plan. To keep the presses running, the various departments must produce the art, films, screens, and inks, and supply the garments and press accessories to support each run for which the printing presses are scheduled. For this to work well, each department must know the sequence of planned production runs (order), production requirements of each run (units), estimated length of each run (duration), and the planned start of each run (date and time).
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