In part 2 of this series on Organizing Your Business I am going to start talking specifically about the individual work areas or work stations within your embroidery shop. In this article I am going to start with the first area in your business after the order has taken. That area is Receiving.

In part 1 of this Organizing Your Business series, I showed you a floor plan that is below on this page. This is a small shop with 2 embroidery machines and the square footage for this shop is about 1,000 square feet. I drewEmbroidery Shop Floor Plan, Embroidery Business Floor Plan up this basic plan, but it is not drawn perfectly to scale. This plan was to show how you can lay out your shop for a good workflow and not specifically for an exact floor plan.

This is a basic floor plan that I had when I had a 6-head machine and 2 single-head machines. The single-head machines were sitting next to each other and in the floor plan, it is listed as one machine. At the time I had 5 employees, 2 machine operators, 1 hooper, 1 person finishing, and 1 person doing shipping & receiving.

It does not matter how large or how small your shop is, what matters is how you have it laid out and how many steps you are saving going from one area to another. Each one of your areas or workstations needs to be laid out in such a manner that it is physically easy for the person working in that area and efficient for the workflow.

One of the main concerns for employees is the table height that they are working at. It must be the right height for the person so that they do not have back aches and are not wasting time with the movements that are required for them to take as they are performing their tasks.

Received Orders Ready for Processing


Whether you have a large shop or a 1 person at home embroidery business, you must follow the same type of system in order to be efficient in your workflow. The first process that occurs after the order is taken is the Receiving of the order.

Your Receiving area needs to consist of a large table preferably with a back (like a short wall) built on it so that you have a place to hang your orders that are not complete in one form or another. The tools that you need for this area are a Copier or Computer and Printer and Plastic Job Folders for your orders. If you do not have a wall that you can hang the orders on, you can file them in a file box under your table.

As soon as the Order Processing is completed you are ready to Log in the Order. This is the first step in Receiving. You can Log the order in on the computer and then print out a copy daily and place it in a 3-ring binder. This binder will be stored on the Receiving desk. If you do not choose to Log in on the computer, you can create your Log in Form, print out the blank forms, and fill them in as the orders come in. If you are an embroidery shop where you have someone that receives the orders specifically, you can have them fill in the form as they receive the orders and at the end of the day, it can be input into the computer. This is the process for many small to medium-sized shops. The Login form should include the following information:

  • Date (the order came in)
  • Job Number
  • Customers Name
  • Job Name
  • Item Description
  • Quantity of Pieces in Order
  • Process (embroidery, screen printing, twill, heat press)
  • Date Due
  • Date Goods Arrived from Distributor
  • Date Shipped

The work order may come in from the customer by phone or email without the garments. If you are working with a Retail customer, you will be the one that is ordering the goods. The garments are shipped in separately from a distributor or manufacturer. Log the order in, assign it a job number and attach a copy of the order to a clipboard marked “Waiting for Goods”. When the Goods come in from the distributor or manufacturer, you pull out the Work Order and match it to the packing slip from the distributor. The order must match exactly.

  • PO Number
  • Quantity
  • Item Number of the garments
  • Color
  • Sizes

You need to physically count all of the items and check to make sure that the color and sizes are correct and that there are no damaged goods. Notify the customer that the garments have been received and that there is a complete match or that there is a problem with the order and it is up to the customer to make whatever corrections there are to be made with the distributor or manufacturer. If it is for a Retail customer, you are the one that has to solve the problem with the distributor or manufacturer.

Design Work Can Begin As Soon As Job Is Logged In

After the goods have been successfully Logged In and even before the Goods are received the process for the design can begin. The design and sew-out can be done and approved by the customer while you are waiting for the Goods to arrive. Many times the entire job can be ready for production as soon as the goods arrive from the distributor. I will talk more about the design process in another article.

Once you have all of the information together and you have all of the correct items, place all of the information along with the order inside of a clear plastic Job Folder and tape it to the front of the box that has the goods inside of it. If there is more than one box label each box with the Order No., Job Name, and Box 1 of however many boxes in the order. It is now time to place the order in the Staging area of Received Orders Ready for Processing. At that point, the order can be picked up by the next person that is going to process that order. In the case of the Embroidery area, the next stop is Hooping. In our next article, I will talk a lot about the Hooping area. This is a big subject with lots of variables!