Do you feel like your Embroidery Production Spoilage is getting out of hand? Are you having an unusual amount of rejects or mistakes being made during the production process? Do you have a lot of returns or customer complaints? Are you having to spend unneeded time redoing jobs because of misunderstanding?
In a small business these mistakes may be done by you as a business owner or one of your employees. In a large business, it is definitely being done by the person that is performing the task or doing the job. It does not matter who is responsible, but this is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately so that it does not get out of hand.
It is extremely frustrating when the customers start complaining about the quality or returning their items. Not only is this disheartening, it is very time consuming and hard on the bottom line. After working with many embroidery companies I have discovered this is becoming a growing problem among embroidery business both large and small.
Factors That Contribute To Embroidery Production Spoilage
There are several factors that can contribute to this but the top 3 factors are:
- Work Orders not written up correctly
- Missing information, lack of details or wrong information on the Work Orders
- Employees not trained properly
Other factors that can also contribute to embroidery production spoilage; especially in larger businesses:
- Lack of the right tools to work with
- Employees not paying attention to detail.
- Employees that do not take pride in their work
- Unpleasant working conditions
I want to talk about the first 3 factors and how to avoid them.
Work Orders not written up correctly, missing information and lack of detail sort of all rolls into one, but this is usually the number one reason that mistakes are made in the first place. Each work order should be gone over thoroughly to make sure that all of the information is correct along with all of the detail.
I have worked with embroidery companies that did not even have an image of the design on the work order. This was absolutely shocking to me! This is such a necessary item. If the operator does not have a picture of the correct design right in front of her or him, how can they be 100% sure that the right design is going to be embroidered on the correct products.
If the order taker mistypes the design number, this can cause a huge mistake. If a picture or an image of the design is in front of them, this can act as a double check to make sure the design is in fact the correct one. Also make sure that the color number and color names are written for each part of the design. If they are not, this too could be a problem.
You must be very explicit in the way that you give all of your information to the person that is going to be doing the job, and this means every part of the job. The more information they have, the better chance you have of getting the order right.
This is true for the single person business that is doing all of their own work. DO NOT depend that you are going to remember everything that the customer tells you and not have it written down. This just does not work! I have worked with a lot of people that say they do not need to write it all down; it is in their head and they will remember it. This may be true, but as you grow and add other people to your company, this does not work. YOU MUST make sure that all of your information about every part of the job is totally clear and that anyone could pick up that order and understand what needs to be done.
Employees not trained properly is a huge factor is mistakes being made and poor workmanship. You need to have a regular training program that you have either developed or purchased to start your employee training. Employees need to know what is expected, what a great product looks like, what a bad product looks like as well as each process that goes with their job description. They need to be fully trained in each one of the processes.
Too many times they are told once how to do something and then they are expected to go out and do what it is they were told to do. In one large company that I worked with they put their new operator on a single head for the first 2 weeks and started them right out doing orders right on the machine. There is no preparation beforehand, no training as to what backings to use for each type of fabric and anything. After a couple of weeks, they were put on a multi-head machine and they are basically expected to do any of the orders that came in and know what to use for the backings and other tools needed.
This is not enough training. I would never leave a new employee on a machine by themselves for at least 3 months. There are too many questions, too many variables and too many issues that can creep up. They need constant supervision for at least 3 months in order for them to build up the confidence that they need to do the job right.
Embroidery Industry Standard of Loss
There has been an industry standard for many years of a 2% loss. Many claim that a 2% spoilage rate is acceptable. You may have that in your contract, but many people will not do business with you if you have a spoilage rate that high. If you properly train your operators to be aware of all of the factors that can happen and how to avoid them, your spoilage rate will be greatly reduced.
Operators should be required to show the amount of garments that were lost or ruined. This should be part of the production form that they are required to fill out at the end of each completed job. You must also know why the loss occurred. Keeping tracking the causes and the operators can help to reduce the loss and avoid them in the future.
Keeping a chart on a weekly basis of these losses is very valuable. This information can be reviewed at the end of the week and used to help retrain the operators in the areas that they are apparently lacking information. When operators know that they are being tracked, they have a tendency to be more careful and pay closer attention to detail.
Many people say that this is part of your Production Cost! I do not agree with that at all. This is a cost that can be almost eliminated if the employees are trained to pay attention to all of the details. Yes, there is some spoilage when a person first starts to be trained, but they must be trained from the very beginning that this is not acceptable.
I created a simple Embroidery-Production-Spoilage-Report that you can download, print out and use to keep track of the embroidery production spoilage in your embroidery shop. Just click on the blue link and the .pdf file will open up for you. Even if you are a one person shop, this will help you keep track of the costs that you errors create. This is a huge eye opener to everyone!