November '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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20 1 4 N ov e m b e r Printwear | 95 R ecently, we worked with a cus- tomer in such a bind that she asked us to ship her order over- night. For $73, we put $60 worth of product in a big brown truck and sent it to her store. As we processed the pay- ment, I couldn't help but wonder what hap- pened. How could someone whose liveli- hood is T-shirt printing not have enough of this product to print 25 shirts by tomorrow evening? But, unfortunately, this isn't an anomaly. There is an inventory management crisis out there. Managing inventory is a problem that isn't discussed often, but if addressed, it can improve the dai- ly operations of your business. Determine bare minimums If your ink supplier provides free next-day shipping, why bother keeping your own in- ventory of ink? The answer is simple: Your business depends on it. You aren't the supplier's only customer, and there could be times it can't handle your last-minute issue. That's just the nature of business. Some days you can produce 200 shirts for a customer by tomorrow afternoon. On other days, that isn't feasible. The same goes for your supplier. Ultimately, decorators should account for two types of inventory: con- sumables and blank goods. Consumables include everything needed to run equip- ment and embellish garments, such as inks, screens, thread, needles, rhinestones, and vinyl, while blank goods are your substrates. Your first and easiest task is to determine the required consumables for most orders. An embroidery machine always needs bob- bins, a direct-to-garment printer always needs CMYK ink, and a rhinestone ma- chine always requires transfer paper. Never run out of these. If you order your necessary consumables in bulk, you'll likely save mon- ey in the long run and won't have to stop production because of shortages. Don't set yourself up for disaster by failing to keep a strong stock of your bare minimums. In Stock Manage your inventory for business success b y M a r c V i l a Marc Vila is a national account manager for Pantograms Manufacturing Company. He for- merly owned an online apparel decorating company, for which he built an e-com- merce/shopping cart website in addition to managing apparel design and sales. He can be contacted at 800-872-1555 ext. 218 or Above: For consumables, order them in bulk. This ulti- mately saves money and keeps you from facing product shortages.

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