When managing a screen printing shop, you must continuously monitor several different aspects of your business at once. There is the production side, including inventory, production schedules, and shipping. Then, there is the customer-facing side, including customer invoices, artwork approval, marketing, and your sales team. You likely have what seems like a neverending list of items to organize. As an owner or manager, knowing where everything is and where orders are in the production cycle can be vitally important. To be a successful screen printing business, you must keep track of all of this. If not, you could find yourself and your business in a tight spot.
Many beginner, and even experienced, screen printers start with a DIY system of post-it notes and an Excel spreadsheet. If this is your approach, you have probably had a mini heart attack if someone forgot to update the chart or there was a question as to when a customer approved the artwork. Hoping everything works out is not a good long-term plan. Luckily, business management software can help.
There are a variety of business management software tools available. First, there are "generic” software products that can handle common tasks such as invoicing and quotes. You can use these options a la carte, allowing you to piece together software that you need while keeping parts of your old system in place. You might save money, but the savings could be overshadowed by having to keep track of items across multiple platforms.
Alternatively, you could explore the various screen print-focused business management software systems. Luckily for today’s screen printers, there are many different software options on the market. These tend to be all-in-one systems that combine everything you need to manage your shop in one platform efficiently. They propose to increase your productivity and lower costs, primarily achieving this by combining multiple data points from across your entire shop’s business into one visually-appealing management tool.
Combining all your information into a central location helps you and all of your employees. For instance, a centrally-located pricing structure is helpful for your sales team. This allows them access to the most up-to-date pricing, enabling them to send out quotes to customers quickly. On the production side, management software organizes what can be a chaotic and haphazard process. By improving job scheduling, providing real-time updates across departments, and being able to identify bottlenecks visually, you’ll be able to address issues before they become a problem.
All of the leading shop management software companies offer a free trial. Taking up that offer is worthwhile. However, when you sign up, be prepared to put some time into setting up the program how you would realistically use it. This means you might have to input comprehensive data, in order to get the true workflow experience. Send yourself some fake invoices, and ask your friend to approve artwork. Go through the process on a couple of different systems to see what works the best. If you are going to invest the money, invest your time too.