Do you find that meeting your customer deadlines can be a real issue for you and your business?  This seems to be a universal problem, especially with the small embroidery shops.  I have many Clients that come to me because they want to learn how to run their embroidery business smoothly and be able to get the jobs completed on time or ahead of schedule.

They are missing their deadlines and their customers are very unhappy with them. But they don’t want to have to work 7 days a week to make it happen. Even though they have a scheduling system in place, they still are not getting the work done on time and they are losing customers as a result. And they tell me it makes them very frustrated and fear that they will lose more customers.

And if that sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone.  How can you not feel frustrated and scared when you do everything that you know how to stay organized and keep the work on schedule and you still can’t seem to get the work out on time.

Here’s what I tell people…If you are not able to meet your customer deadlines and you are losing customers…the one thing that works is to stop and re-evaluate exactly how you are scheduling your work.

  • Are you sure you have the right system that is going to help you schedule your work correctly?
  • Are you spending too much time on each process?
  • Do you have your processes timed out so that you know exactly how much time it is going to take you to do each process? Without this, it is very hard to schedule properly.

If you are using a scheduling system that does not take all of this into consideration, then you are using the wrong type of system.  I have found that there are many management systems with scheduling systems build in that are being used in the decorating apparel industry today that tell you your job will take x amount of time, based on your stitch count and your machine speed.

This is sort of true, but does it take into consideration, your thread breaks, thread color changes, trims and even the time that it takes to load and unload the machine?  If this is not part of it, then you definitely have the wrong type of scheduling system.

It reminds me of how I used to work so hard and struggle with trying to get my work out on time and I worked night and day trying to get it all done.

After feeling very frustrated and ready to quit, I finally got help from my accountant.  He helped me get organized and create a great scheduling system that truly worked.  Between my new organization, my new scheduling system and a great pricing system that he helped me create, I was able to start running my business more easily and creating a profit. My business grew and prospered as a result. I was for the first time, meeting my customer deadlines or was ahead of schedule almost all of the time and my customers were very happy.

Here’s the deal… Meeting your customer deadlines is a must in this business and if you want to make it easier to get your jobs out on time, schedule your jobs, not necessarily by due dates alone, but by like kinds, thread colors, and garment types.  Maybe you even need to give a little more lead time.  Are you trying to give an unrealistic turnaround time like next day or 2 to 3 days?

I know that many companies today are trying to give a next day turnaround time thinking that they are going to be able to grab a segment of the market that needs it in a hurry, and this will be their niche.  This can be true, but realistically, you are just training your customers to wait until the last minute to place their orders.  Not a good technique!

To start creating a system for scheduling correctly, you need to follow these steps.

  1. Start by timing all of your processes – From the time you talk to a customer to the total completion of the order.
  2. Taking the order
  3. Ordering the product from the distributor
  4. Receiving the goods from the distributor- Checking to make sure the Packing Slip matches the Order Form
  5. Planning out how the job will be done – Which hoops-Thread-Backings, etc
  6. Loading the design into the machine – How many color changes, how many trim, how many stitches
  7. Hooping the garments – hoop several different types and come up with an average time that you can plan on
  8. Loading the garments into the machine
  9. Running the Design
  10. Unloading and unhooping the garments
  11. Removing the backing, trimming the threads, steaming the garments, folding them
  12. Packing for shipping or pickup
  13. Creating an invoice

I did not include design creation or the time to get the design ready to go to the digitizer, that is another whole process.  That is not part of the production process to be timed.  That is part of Design Creation process that also needs to be timed.

Another item to take into consideration is to schedule Left chest sized designs, thread colors and knit shirts all on the same day.  You will save time if you do not have to change hooping systems or thread colors between jobs.

Another great tip that will save you time, is to put ball point needles on the first half of the machine and sharp needles on the remainder of the needle bars on the last half of the machine. You always have the right needles in the machine no matter what type of fabrics you are going to embroider.  Remember, ballpoint needles for knits and sharp needles for woven fabrics and caps. If you have a 15 needle machine and you also embroider tiny letters in corporate logos, then you will need one needle dedicated to using a 65/9 needle and 60 weight thread.  This is another huge time saver in scheduling.

If you want to know more about how to save time and create the right systems to help you get organized, meet your customer’s deadline and run your business with less frustration, go to… Fill out the form and I will send you my Production Timing Checklist.  Becoming a professionally trained embroiderer is going to help you create the right systems to grow your business efficiently!

Get this simple Production Timing Checklist today that will help you get started scheduling your work so that you can be meeting your customer deadlines and make those customers very happy!