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The Ins and Outs of High-Volume Embroidery

(April 2007) posted on Mon Apr 02, 2007

This article discusses the equipment and accessories involved in the process and describes the floor plans that will help you optimize the embroidery workflow.

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By Sherry Higgins

You should have four check-points throughout the sewing process. First, the receiving department should count the items for the job, confirm they are the correct products and sizes, and verify that there are no defects or stains. Next, the hooper repeats the process. After that, when the job has been completed, the operator counts the items, verifies that they were sewn correctly and that there are no defects or stains, then puts the items into the rolling cart to go to the finishing table. Finally, the finisher does the steaming and folding, counts and inspects the items, writes the verification on the instruction sheet, and puts the items back into the rolling cart with the original design disk and instructions. These four checkpoints help to eliminate or reduce errors and returns, thereby improving profitability.

Most large shops find that keeping a huge inventory of garments is not cost-effective. Keeping large quantities of many sizes and countless types of garments in anticipation of future orders is very risky, and at best just a guess. Instead, find manufacturers or distributors that can supply you within a day or two. You may even find someone in your immediate area who will give you same-day delivery.

Another thing to consider is how many shifts to run. Approximately 30% of all large shops run two shifts: 7 a.m.-4 p.m. (first shift) and 4 p.m.-12 a.m. (second shift). Third shifts are typically counterproductive because the workers tend to have day jobs that leave them exhausted by night. A better solution to achieve increased production is to add more embroidery machines. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you're a licensed sports retailer and the Super Bowl teams were just announced, you'd have to add a third shift in order to meet the deadlines.

Tips for efficient job setup

Before you purchase any equipment, invest in some grid paper and chart the flow of your shop. This will also help you determine exactly what equipment you'll want when you start. Your top goal is to avoid machine downtime. Downtime costs you money. With that in mind, consider the following tips for efficient job setup:

1. Have the next job ready to be loaded on to the embroidery machine. Complete the changeover as quickly as possible.


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