Preventing issues in embroidery production runs is huge in the planning out of your production. Trying to get the best production possible out of every single day is a must if you want a profitable embroidery business!
In today’s economy where so many embroidery business owners are doing all that they can to keep expenses down with less employees, this is extremely important.
You always sew out all of your embroidery designs before you start any new jobs. Right!! Paying close attention to every detail is very important in preventing errors or finding any type of issue within your embroidery design before you start your long production run! You want to thoroughly examine your design as you are sewing it out to see if there are any type of issues as it is running.
You must watch the machine as it is sewing out your design in order to be able to pinpoint any of the small issues! You cannot start the machine and walk away and expect that you are going to be able to find the issues, it just does not work. YOU MUST watch it as it sews out! As it is sewing out ask yourself these questions:
- Is there something that you can do to shorten your run time?
- Are there any thread breaks? If so, find out why. Maybe your density is too heavy-change your needle, bad thread, tension too tight.
- Is it locking as it starts and stops? If it does not lock at the beginning the thread can come out of the needle. This can cause a real production nightmare! No lock at the end, it can unravel.
- Is it trimming where it is supposed to?
- Do I see any threads between my letters? If you do, they are not close enough.
- If I change my running order of my text will it run faster? First line left to right, second line right to left, third line left to right.
- Are all of the colors correct and are my colors running in the correct order?
- Does it look to thick or too thin? Your letters may be pushing because your density is too heavy or your pull comp is too heavy. If too thin, your pull comp needs to be increased.
Check your sew out and have it verified before the job is started. Make sure that you watch each stitch as you sew out the design to see if there are any mistakes or problems that can be prevented. You can slow down the machine and watch it stitch by stitch to pinpoint some issues.
- Do you have any jump stitches that are too long? This can cause the thread to get caught and your needle to break.
- Are all of your starts and stops in the correct location? If not, your machine has to move too far to start the next sequence causing wasted production time.
- Is your sew sequence in the right order? You do not want any travel stitches showing. A wrong sew sequence can create too many trims that could have been prevented if the sew sequence was changed.
- Can any of your color changes be combined? This will depend on how your design was created and what it is going to be sewn on. Sometimes they can be combined if your design is going to be sewn onto a flat garment but not onto a cap. This can cause registration problems. Before you take this step make sure that you can combine the colors and not have any registration issues.
It does not matter if you digitized your embroidery design or had the best digitizer out there doing your work, make sure that you sew out every design before you start the job and watch it sew out stitch by stitch. Not only will you prevent issues, you can learn from watching your designs sew out. This is also true if you have set up a design or lettering in your software. Every design is a new design digitized or not and needs to have the same close attention to detail.
Create a checklist of all of the items to look out for as you are doing your sew outs and go right down that checklist to make sure that you have covered every item. This is going to help you save a lot of time and frustration as you are going through your long production runs.
There is nothing any more frustrating than having constant thread breaks or knowing that something could have been changed in your design to make the entire job get done in a lot less time! Time is precious and time is money! You cannot get it back once you have lost it!
It seems like a waste of your time watching it sew out but it never is. I have been digitizing for many years and planning out production for many more years and I will never send out a design to be run unless I have sewn it out 3 times to make sure that it has no issues, and yes, I watch it! Preventing issues in embroidery production is part of the planning of all of your embroidery production runs. This is going to help you create more profit in your bottom line! You can pick up this checklist by filling our this form. We will sent it to you to help you as your are sewing out each design.
I want to share with you how to create a system for embroidering team names on jackets or shirts. This time-saving system that I came up with for embroidering team names on jackets or shirts is very simple and as indicated, it is a huge time saver! I take my list of names that I received from my customer and arrange my items in the same order as the names on the sheet.
I take the list of names and put it on my copier and increase them in size by 200%. After that, I will cut all the names apart on my sheet and then tape them to each item according to the size.
After that, I hoop all the items and then stack them in order according to how they’ll be embroidered and how the names are on my sheet because I don’t want any mistakes. That is in the exact same order that the customer gave them to me and that’s how I will be sending them back.
When I set up the names in my Pulse software, I set them up in a Name Stack. By that I mean I set up each name, put a color change between each one and then literally stack one name on top of another name in the software. This way they all start in the center and in the exact same place.
With the color change command between each name, I set the machine so that it automatically stops when it sees a color change command. When I put the first item into the machine and get it all set in place for the first name, it will embroider the first name and then stop.
This allows me the time to take out that first item and put in the next item on the list. I continue this until I am finished with the entire list of names. As the next one is embroidering, I remove the hoop, trim and stack the last one. I can embroider about 40 items in an hour on a single head machine using this method.
If you have a multi-head machine, you load the entire machine, again in the right order that the names will be embroidered, turn all of the heads off except head no. 1. Start the process with head no. 1 and when the first name is completed, turn off head no. 1 and turn on head no. 2 and continue this process until each one is completed.
You can create this system for embroidering names on jackets in any embroidery design software. It will work, trust me on that! No matter what I am charging, wholesale or retail this is a huge moneymaker! Try it, you will like it, I promise.
You can see how to go through the embroidery process inside of the Embroidery Business Academy in Skill Set No. 1. You will find it in Embroidery Production, inside of Embroidery Basics.
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Do you have high-quality standards set in your embroidery business or are you focused on just getting the job done? Quality is extremely important if you want to build a business that is going to last no matter what state the economy is in.
Many customers are unaware of what good quality is in embroidery but when you educate them and show them the difference, they get it and are happy that you are willing to provide them with the best!
I have certain standards that we have always gone by and if they are not met, the person responsible has to either be retrained so that they can produce the quality that I want or they will no longer have a job. If there has been a mistake on a job or if the job does not meet my standards of quality, I will not charge the customer for the job.
Case in point! We finished a set of 49 football jerseys that I was not happy with. An operator embroidered the school name on the back of half of the jerseys instead of the front below the V where it belongs. I was out training a new student and I truly do not know how he ever made such a mistake, but it happened! They were $70.00 jerseys, that the customer supplied before the numbers and embroidery were applied. This was a very expensive job but I could not charge the customer for this. The mistake was rectified with the customer’s help but I could not in my own conscious charge him for this job.
When I called him and told him about the problem, he was very grateful and happy that I was so honest about it. When I told him that I would not be charging him for the job, he was thrilled, said that they would live with the issue and that he would be sending me a lot more work!
If a mistake is made, do not try to pass it off onto the customer without the customer being totally aware of it. Mistakes do happen to all of us, but you must own up to it, keep the customer informed, correct it and in most cases let him make the decision on how to handle the job. It does not matter how large or how small the job is.
If you do not have high-quality standards set in your embroidery business, you will not stay in business for the long haul. This is very important.
Do you ever make mistakes when you are embroidering your garments? Have you been faced with an item that a customer brought in and it was not replaceable? Unfortunately, everyone makes a mistake now and then, but you need to know how to save those expensive garments when mistakes do occur! Sometimes you have garments that cannot be replaced! It is very important to have the skills to be able to fix these mistakes just in case you have items that customers have brought in to you and you do not have any way of replacing these items!
If it is an item that can be replaced, you need to weigh in the cost of replacing the item, your time spent on repairing it and of course the time that it takes to wait for the item to be shipped to you. Would it be more cost-effective to purchase a new item instead of going through the process to fix it?
Sometimes it makes no sense to spend the time to do it. This is something that you need to determine. You need to keep track of how long it takes you to do a repair or fix a mistake. You must know what your actual cost is for each type of mistake.
I have a 10-Step process to show you how to match up a design that has been taken out of the hoop before it was finished. This is a very common mistake especially if you are running a multi-head machine and you ran out of bobbin thread but the machine did not stop. In your haste to unhoop your items, you discover after it is done that it had not finished.
The mistake that I am going to show you is one that I hit the hoop with my arm and I just pulled the garment right out of the hoop. Now it needs to be rehooped and matched up perfectly so that the customer will not ever know that this happened. This is a very simple method that I learned many years ago and it works beautifully!
Step 1- Print out a copy of your worksheet from your design software. Make sure that you print out crosshairs or lines on your worksheet to make it easy to match it up in your hoop.
Step 2 – Cut out the design from the worksheet all around the edge of the design so that it matches the same size as your finished design. You now have a paper pattern of your design. Look at it closely to get some good defining lines so that you can line it up perfectly.
Step 3 –Cut out the first letter of this word and the last letter that was finished so that I can lay the paper but out pattern down over top of the design on the shirt and line it up perfectly.
Place a piece of tape down to hold it in place.
Lift the edges of the paper pattern up it to make sure that the letters are in the exact same location.
Step 4- Place the bottom part of your hoop underneath your garment and position it to be in the center of your design. Do not forget to place new backing on your hoop. Taping the backing around the hoop will help to hold it in place if you are not using a hooping device.
I have a template with grids on it that I cut out from an extra one of my design placement templates. I lay it down on the horizontal and vertical lines of my design and line it up. With my grid, I can line up my design perfectly. If you do not have a grid that you can use inside of your hoop, you can mark vertical and horizontal lines from the edge of your paper pattern to the outer edges of where the design will line up with your vertical and horizontal lines in your hoop. I use a sharp edge of a piece of soap for marking my garments. Hotel soaps are great for this.
Step 5- Place the top part of your hooping frame on, line it up and press it down with the center lines of the grid matching the center lines on the hoop both vertically and horizontally. If you are using marks that you made on your garment, they must line up perfectly in order for this to work, but it is not hard to do.
Step 6- Remove the template. The start/stop position of your paper design will be at the correct location in the center of the hoop.
Step 7- In your software, you will need to mark the start/stop position so that it stays in the center of your design
Delete all the parts of the original design that has been embroidered and is correct. Make sure to leave all of the part of the design that needs to be completed. This is now your new design.
Save it with a new name so that you do not override your original design. Make sure that the new design is going to start in the same location as the original design.
Step 8- Place the garment into the machine and lined it up both vertically and horizontally. Remove the thread from the needle to start with because you want to make sure everything is perfect and that it lines up with the last letter that finished.
You have to hold the thread tight if you do not have a button to turn off the head because you don’t want it to register a thread break. Start the machine at a very slow speed or walk it holding the start button. This will help you make sure it’s lined up correctly.
Step 9- Stop, rethread the needle and remove the paper template and start the machine.
Step 10 – After the design is finished, you can pull it out of the hoop to see the finished product. If you follow this
method, everything matches and no one will ever know that you had made the mistake in the first place.
I use this same method to repair many types of mistakes, such as when you must remove stitches and replace them. It works great for many different types of situations. It has saved me many times and keeps my customers happy! They never know a mistake was made in the first place!
For information on how to build a successful embroidery business, visit Embroidery Business Academy
Be Creative during the slow periods in your embroidery business is a great way to add new materials and do some extra planning that will bring in more sales. These slow periods are good times to develop new sales materials and samples. This is a time to be creative designing your new sales materials to use in marketing your embroidery business.
I embroidered new designs on white felt, cut out the design samples with pinking shears, and glued them onto card stock. I put these samples into 3 ring binders to distribute to my dealer customers during these slow times. I also embroidered all of the lettering styles that we offered onto the white felt using the standard thread colors that we had in stock. I labeled each lettering style the font name and the thread color. The dealers were always very impressed and thrilled to get their new sales materials from us. This was a way to showcase our work to our dealers and it gave them a way to show their customers the quality of work that they were offering.
I also embroidered coasters to give away as samples. I created a design with my logo, added my contact information and embroidered these on white felt. This is an excellent way to showcase your embroidery and a great leave behind when you are visiting a customer. This can be done for wholesale and retail customers alike.
You can also create new samples to give your showroom a fresh new look.
If you do not have any slow periods in your embroidery business, you need to block out some spare time to accomplish these little profitable, sales creating tasks.
The Embroidery Coach
People work with businesses and professionals they trust. Building customer trust and loyalty in your embroidery business is an ongoing process. Here are 9 tips for building customer trust and loyalty with both old and new customers.
- Keep your agreements with your customers
If you promise delivery on a particular day, make sure to deliver when it was promised. Even something as small as the time you have scheduled an appointment is an agreement. Each time you break a promise to a customer, you break the trust.
- Create realistic customer expectations
Make sure the customer understands exactly what you will do for him or her and what is included in your service and what is not. What will create extra charges? How and when will you be billing the customer? Living up to the expectations you create helps to build trust with your customers.
- Help customers to understand the process and strategy for their order
If your customer understands how you and your business works and what the process of their order is, the customer can then know what to expect and when to expect it. Trust comes when the customer feels confident and comfortable with the plan and the strategy.
- Never over promise
It is tempting to promise whatever the customer wants to hear without looking at your schedule or asking if it is doable. When you do not deliver on your promise this causes broken agreements and broken trust.
- Carefully explain the customer’s role
When a customer is clear on what his or her role is then he or she gets clear on what progress can be made without their involvement. Getting really clear on what the customer needs to do to move his or her order forward, helps you work as a team and builds trust.
- Discuss potential problems that can happen
Nothing disturbs the trust of a customer more than when something unexpected happens. Guard against something negative happening as a surprise by discussing the potential pitfalls with the customer.
- Review the work order in detail
Any decisions that the customer is going to have to make should be discussed in detail. Relationships and trust are built over a long period of time but it can be broken easily. An unexpected issue that is a surprise to the customer that he or she was not expecting can break that trust quickly.
- Avoid making the customer feel stupid
No one likes to feel stupid. If customers feel that you think they are stupid they will no longer entrust you with their ideas or work. Customers who don’t feel valued by you may stop trusting you. No one sets out to make a customer feel stupid, but it could be an attitude, an inadvertent comment, or a look that gives the customer that impression. Be aware of your inner thoughts. They show up without your noticing. Be very careful with your language.
- Don’t allow interruptions when you are meeting with a customer.
It gives them the feeling that they are not important to you and you really do not want their business. Everyone needs to feel special no matter how large or small their order is. This can ruin the good will and trust that you had with them.
Building relationships and customer trust with both your customers and prospects helps you to build loyalty. Loyalty is something that is very uncommon in the embroidery business anymore but it is not impossible to get. When your customers feel that they are valued and you give them excellent customer service, they will become loyal!