Are You Dealing with Employee Mistakes the Right Way?

At Printed Threads in Keller, TX, the laid-back El Capitan, Brett Bowden does a lot of measuring. “We track the amount of work everyone gets done each day,” he says. “We track all errors.” Why? “Mistakes happen, and we try to coach through them. Since we track the different types of errors, we see if there’s a pattern.”

For example, if there’s a misprint or mistake on a job, a Printed Thread QC (Quality control) staffer fills out a slip and turns it over to the rep managing that account. The rep then uses Google Sheets to record the job name, type of error, cost of the mistake and the person responsible.

“We keep a running tally and make sure that misprint errors don’t exceed 1% of our monthly sales”

– Brett Bowden, Printed Threads

Madeira USA, out of Gilford, NH, has a similar approach to monitoring mistakes, where process operations are metrics-driven, depending on the role. “We hold employees accountable to success metrics like customer satisfaction ratings or order fulfillment rates,” says Sam Young, vice president of marketing and sales. “We track performance so we can deliver the highest-quality service for our customers.”

And if Bowden notices that a particular press keeps logging errors because there’s not enough glue on the pallet, he knows the operator needs more training. “But look, inevitably there will be someone who isn’t good at their job,” he says. “That leads to a conversation of, ‘Maybe it’s time for you to find another company or position to make you happier.’”

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“Lessons Learned from ‘Here For Good’ Campaigns” – SUCCESS STORIES Podcast: Ep. 3 (feat. Jarrod Hennis of Rockford Art Deli)

During and after the coronavirus pandemic, many screen-printing shops found success by developing a local “Here for Good” campaign to help surrounding businesses in their community stay afloat during these difficult times.

In Rockford, Illinois, Jarrod Hennis developed a “Here for Good” campaign and assisted businesses in his area to raise money by selling t-shirts.  Each shirt sold helped that local business, but also kept Jarrod’s shop, the Rockford Art Deli in business as well.

On this edition of Success Stories, we’re going to discuss the Rockford Art Deli’s “Here for Good” campaign and learn how it worked, what Jarrod learned, and how this idea is laying a solid foundation for a successful future in his community of Rockford, Illinois.

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“The Clinic Your Website Can’t Live Without” – SUCCESS STORIES Podcast: Ep. 2 (feat. Shelby Craig of Rocket Shirts)

COVID-19 has shifted a lot more business online recently and with great uncertainty ahead, you’ll need to make sure people can find you online.  In this episode of Success Stories, we’ll help you get ahead of the competition and make sure you’re set up to drive new business to your website.

Shelby Craig with Rocket Shirts will be sharing his knowledge of what you’ll need to get optimized, and how it’s helped his business.  We’ll be touching on web design, search engine optimization, and tools that you can use to bring out your best results.

Shelby is a serial entrepreneur, marketing junkie, home chef, coffee connoisseur, and girl dad times three.  He’s also a t-shirt snob and is the founder of Rocket Shirts in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Join us on this podcast as we explore ways to make your website work for you and drive more sales to your door.

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8 Ways Decorators Are Keeping Their Shops Safe During COVID-19

Across the country, businesses small and large have had to figure out how to operate, while keeping employees and customers safe. Like many shops, during the pandemic’s early days, AZ-based decorator, Print & Stitch, closed for several weeks. When it reopened, the management team introduced a lot of new safety procedures for staffers and customers. “Now our employees work staggered shifts,” says project manager, Hilary Gardner. “Plus, our techs clean their equipment and work areas at the beginning and end of every shift.”

In this new normal, Print & Stitch also requires every employee to take their temperature before clocking into work. “And, it’s mandatory to wear a mask at all times in the building,” Gardner says.

Making customers feel at ease is also important, which is why back in March, Howard Potter, CEO of Master Your Image in Utica, NY, took to social media to let his customers know how he prioritized their safety. “They had choices when placing or picking up an order,” he says. “They could order online, and then opt for in-person delivery, shipping or curbside pickup.”

Some people have even found that they’ve benefitted from these changes, in ways they wouldn’t have thought of before. In Ann Arbor, Jeanne Fitzsimons, owner of FitzStitch Embroidery & Monogramming, heavily steered her customers toward online ordering, which made client interactions and collecting payments much easier. “That’s been a bonus, since I never wonder when I’ll receive a payment,” she says. “I also do Zoom videos with customers. It’s been more productive and time-efficient.”

How’s your shop keeping employees and customers safe? Here are eight ways smart decorators have adjusted their operations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their shops.

1. Be open about COVID-19 with your staff.

At A&P Master Images, Potter was ready to answer his employees’ most pressing questions: Will there be work? How do we handle customer interactions? Do we need to wear masks?

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4 Ways to Increase Your Order Sizes During COVID-19

Does it feel like, while decorated-apparel orders are still coming in (or are starting to pick back up), the order sizes have decreased? You’re not alone. Here’s a look at the range of experiences we’ve been hearing about from across the country:

  • Kris Howard, Urbandale, IA-based, KSH Design Studio: “Our volume has greatly decreased during the last three months, since our gym customers were closed. We also lost orders from canceled run/walk and car club events.”
  • Tammy LeMieux, Lake Stevens, WA-based, Ink It Your Way: “With our primary business of spring and summer youth sports coming to an abrupt halt, we started offering sublimated face covers and apparel to essential businesses. We also branched out to signage for reopening businesses. We actually flourished and hopefully will retain some great new customers.”
  • Alexa Cary, Frenchtown, NJ-based, In-House Prints: “Fortunately our business is booming! We have a lot of emergency service clients, so they’ve been keeping us busy. We also work with YouTubers who continue to push products online.”
  • Jennie Livezey, Shelbyville, IN-based, Z Shirts Custom Printing: “We came to a screeching halt with schools closing and spring sports being canceled. We’ve picked back up but aren’t back to full-time production yet.”

In order to help them avoid succumbing to the ups and downs of the market, some distributors have started  upselling, cross-selling, bundling products and providing solutions vs. being just an order-taker. Using these strategies has helped them increase their order sizes and given their business new life, so let’s take a closer look at each.

Upselling Quality and Solutions

Upselling has been a sales mainstay of merchants for decades, but with the downturn in the economy, it’s more important than ever. For example, you might regularly sell employee work shirts to your customers. It makes sense to present three options:  a $5 “good” shirt, a better-quality shirt for $10, and a “best” item for $15. When the customer calls in, they may want to order 100 shirts at the lowest possible price. This would be a $500 order for you. But, if you upsell correctly, even just to the “better” garment, you’ve doubled your order total.

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