This last summer, our shop was hired to do a huge job for a certain union.
We had to fill an order of several hundred t-shirts, and we had to make it snappy.
Unfortunately, because we did not mark the boxes prior to stuffing them with shirts, much time was wasted trying to determine just how many shirts were in each box. This small detail threw the entire job into chaos.
Not cutting corners while on the job can save everyone involved a lot of grief. Whether you’re working with an Excel sheet or stacks of paper sheets, this principle applies to every occupation.
Paying attention to the details of your work can save you a lot of trouble, defraying the risk of wasted time and resources.
The shirt job we did last summer was a perfect example of inattentiveness nearly leading to disaster. We had to make hundreds of shirts using a very monotonous process that could easily lead to careless mistakes being made.
But the job itself didn’t produce nearly as many headaches as our lack of a plan leading up to it. This was our first major order involving t-shirts. They’re not quite the same as paper, being harder to stuff into boxes and scale count.
We also had to take into account different shirt sizes, so as to avoid getting different types of shirts mixed up.
But being a tad overzealous in our desire to get the job done quickly, we almost completely ignored the job ticket and start churning out t-shirts willy-nilly. By the time we realized what we had done, it was too late.
We had made too many of one size of shirt, gotten other sizes of shirts mixed in together, and had failed to keep track of just how many shirts in were this or that box.
In retrospect, the smart thing to do would have been to figure out how many of the total order we wanted in each box. Then we could have printed out labels that clearly marked the boxes, indicating how many shirts of what size belonged in each.
As my boss always says, “Set yourself up for success.” By this, he means that when undertaking a long, repetitious task such as the t-shirt job, establish a fool-proof process that’s easy to follow and hard to deviate from.
To any printers in the audience who have done collating, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
Big jobs and small jobs alike should be approached with the same degree of care. This commitment to craftsmanship will distinguish your product from that of your competitors, thus leading to success.
Such a commitment to creating a quality product by getting all your ducks in a row and not taking shortcuts will help you no matter what your business or trade is.
Marketing Director at the Renton Printery. Providing advice on print-buying and business, along with notes on the state of the shop.