December '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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58 | PRINTWEAR D EC E M B E R 20 1 4 When Disaster Strikes Avoid problems with proper communication and technical execution B Y E R I C H C A M P B E L L access, and manage customer and job data makes a difference in the consistency of your execution. If you sincerely don't want or can't afford such a solution, at least create a standardized information form to give the production staff. Whether you electronically enter data or fill out a form, always review job infor- mation carefully before sending it to pro- duction. Make your information clear, concise, and complete. If your art and production staffers can't easily envision your intentions, neither you nor your customer will get the expected result. The last hope for preventing miscom- munication disasters is a staged approv- al process. Start by sending a simulated embroidery preview to the customer. In this stage, you'll catch any errors, such as misspellings, improperly assigned col- ors, and incorrect sizing. Following initial E very decorator eventually has to stare down a disaster, which of- ten happens because of mixed wires in communication rath- er than star-crossed fate. Don't blame bad luck. You make our own luck by avoiding miscommunication and dealing with these disasters in technical execution. Whether you're forced to save the garments at hand or run replacements, there's a clear path for- ward based on the foundation of good information, tried techniques, and a focus on quality and customer service. With careful customer relations and strategies for both error avoidance and embroidery repair, you'll be ready for whatever may come. IMPROVE COMMUNICATION Most disasters don't stem from carelessness or malfunctions so much as poor communication. Let's say a job makes its way to production, even though the colors aren't clearly indicated, wrong typefaces are listed, and locations are incorrectly explained. Those errors can be solved by paying more attention when taking the order. For a smooth, simple process, provide sales forms indicating all necessary information. By systematically and completely filling out a detailed form, all key information is established. On ours, location, size, colors, fabric types, garment type, and substrate precede a set of garment drawings that allow sales staff to precisely indicate the de- sign location and orientation. A little structure and solid references make the process nearly foolproof. A shop of any considerable size should consider implementing an electronic system for managing information. Any number of industry-specific options are available from cloud- based solutions to on-site server installations. Any system that allows employees to store, Erich Campbell is an award-winning commercial embroidery digitizer of 13 years and long-time e-commerce manager, currently digitizing and creating online properties for Albuquerque, N.M.-based Black Duck. A current industry blogger and once Medieval- ist-in-training turned tech-obsessed embroidery designer, Campbell brings his varied experience and interests to bear on numerous industry publications and projects. Reach him at Above: Even on re- turn orders, filling out a comprehensive or- der form simplifies the interview process and expedites a flawless production. A quick sketch or mark in the right area of a garment mockup can remove ambiguity about place- ment. (Image courtesy Celeste Schwartz) Your When Disaster Strikes l Beginner n Intermediate

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