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Without Systems You Don’t Own a Business, You Are the Business

“Just remember: products make money, but a system will make a fortune.”

When I began my screen printing journey roughly 10 years ago, one of the most obvious set backs was the lack of standardized systems utilized in this industry. Every shop does essentially the same tasks but usually in drastically different ways. After spending time in several production facilities ranging from small, 1 manual garage operations, to 30+ automatic factories, tt was quite apparent the most efficient operations had systems built for each department. I found the companies without systems in place would typically run longer hours, struggle to turn jobs in a timely manner, and most staff members had a sense of uncertainty as to what their daily tasks should be. I’ll never forget observing one company in which I watched for a complete 8 hour shift, a total of 7 employees did not contribute to one single task the entire 8 hours I was there. This company had very few systems in place and it clearly showed by observing their production work flow. Remember, without systems you don’t own a business, you are the business.

Flowcharts Work
If you want to triple your revenue then you need to triple the amount of hours you work. This will certainly limit how fast as well as how big you can grow. Systemizing, delegating, and automating are three essential variables that can leverage your screen printing company to a whole new level. Even if you are a brand new start up business, having the action plan to implement systems can be the difference in scalable growth or your business spiraling out of control. The ideal situation is to start with a list of systems, use them, and refine as you go. Building a flowchart for each area of your business, then studying each chart to determine a way to improve the flow is a great way to get started.

The Impact
One of the first items to look at is your order taking process and how you can streamline that process for not only your company but your client as well. Try creating a cloud based portal that clients can submit new purchase orders to, or maybe an email chain that clearly organizes where the client should send their orders, artwork, shipping instructions, etc. This can be a highly impactful way of simplifying the process. Once you have streamlined your order taking methods, the next most impactful item is to build a flowchart for purchasing and scheduling. Having shop management software or utilizing google worksheets will help keep the flow of each order moving in the right direction, as capturing this data for the next department is very important. Once the order process has began, purchasing comes next, followed by receiving, followed by screen making/ink prep, and finally putting all of those systems together in order to put out a finished product. Having a flow chart for each stage of this process is key to refining the systems for maximum efficiency within each separate department of your production. Once you have established a flow chart and system for each process in your company the next step is to use them and eventually work the kinks out. You will find that any system is better than no system, but all systems need modification until the process is dialed. Refining these items as you grow is what will allow you to scale to the next level. Just remember: products make money, but a system will make a fortune.

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