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Help me get organized!

Discussion in 'Business Management' started by montrealsigns, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. montrealsigns

    montrealsigns New Member

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    Feb 22, 2018
    Montreal, Quebec, canada
    Hello all,
    I really need help getting my shop organized, we are five and I’m having great difficulties organizing time and knowing status on projects always running out of time, not makin any follow ups. How do you guys organize your shops? Any books, websites or personal experiences you can reference me too? I really need some consultation.
    Thank you
     
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  2. IDB Signs

    IDB Signs Member

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    Trello. Just discovered it on here a few weeks ago and it is wonderful. Free, easy to sign up. Each person can make their own account and you can have different boards for different depts, etc. Super intuitive and easy to use. No commitment, really, so if you don't like it, no worries. But it's easy and definitely worth looking into.
     
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  3. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    I use https://www.workflowmax.com The 30-day free trial requires no credit card.

    In reality, NO SYSTEM will be effective if you don't hold a tight line on discipline...namely PLANNING. My best "planning sessions" occur when I'm out on my zero-turn mower for three hours at a time.


    JB
     
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  4. myront

    myront CorelDRAW is best

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    In addition to the in-house designed workorder with "job jacket" (zip lock) We use a large 4ft x 8ft dry erase board to track production and due dates and such. It's set up like a calendar with a 2 week block. Write in the date, customer name and a brief description. Add whether promised or tentative. Also write in a few days later when the job is due to be completed/P or T. We use different color markers for proof, materials, install etc. We also use a series of wall baskets to drop the workorder into as the production process takes place. Weeding, finishing , laminating, to apply, printing, install etc.

    p.s. if that's what you mean by organizing
     
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  5. Karen Saros

    Karen Saros New Member

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    Mar 1, 2018
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Printmatics!! by far check it out !
     
  6. WhiskeyDreamer

    WhiskeyDreamer Professional Snow Ninja

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    I manage our office and production. I use a three week dry erase board to schedule in all work (from proof to production to install). One of our walls is just 10mil coro with screws in it so we can hang clipboards on it. I have that wall broken down to day (so when I get in in the morning, I can pull that days clipboards off the wall and start work), and then have an area for screen printing, embroidery and outsourced. The screen printing and embroidery sections do not play into our regular schedule as they're handled separately.

    I also use a Moleskine. Each week I turn the page and start fresh. One page is for my tasks, one page is for my vendors and what needs to be ordered. There's a place where I write down all the estimate I have to do, and then as soon as they're completed, I add them to the following week's follow up area. In order to keep on task with estimates, I have a timer on my phone. From 1pm-2pm every day, I work on estimates and follow ups. Doing this has really helped our turn over rate on estimates.
     
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  7. montrealsigns

    montrealsigns New Member

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    Feb 22, 2018
    Montreal, Quebec, canada
     
  8. montrealsigns

    montrealsigns New Member

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    Feb 22, 2018
    Montreal, Quebec, canada
    Thanks
     
  9. montrealsigns

    montrealsigns New Member

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    Feb 22, 2018
    Montreal, Quebec, canada
    Thank you for all the advices. Well appreciated
     
  10. IDB Signs

    IDB Signs Member

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    Aug 29, 2018
    Portland, TN
    • Like Like x 1
  11. rossmosh

    rossmosh Active Member

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    Well run shops have a clear manager/leader who spend a good portion of their day just following up on projects and making sure everything is going smoothly. These shops get their work out on time and on budget for the most part. So while software and systems are important, making sure you have someone willing to take on the role is more important.

    I've found that a lot of small shops the owner is not truly willing to take on that role because they either prefer to spend too much time in the shop or not enough time out of it. This is why it's a good idea to have someone have the role of "production manager". The other thing to mention is, you need to back your manager as long as they're being reasonable and fair. If they're setting clear goals and working within achievable time lines and some employee that is used to doing whatever they want starts causing problems, you have to set the employee straight and potentially fire them. You also have to make sure your manager is doing the right thing. If their job schedules are all backwards and out of order, then you need to get them in line really quickly.
     
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  12. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    When I was working for a larger shop we used to use the white-board method too, but the drawbacks were everyone would have to come into that room to change it and I found it wasn't always updated...

    Instead I switched to using a Google Docs document that resembled and was setup just like the whiteboard. That document was open on my (designer's) computer, the production area computer, the back of the shop's computer all day long, and could be accessed by the computers in the install trucks and phone mobile phones. Changes made on one would update on all computers in real-time. You could also check it from you phone to give customers instant updates on their job. The document being constantly and instantly updated as things were happening made it much more valuable and reliable. It was a little clunky at first but I couldn't imagine going back to the old whiteboard after we switched.

    I'm sure there is software that does this kind of order tracking but we just did this because it was free and easy to setup. As a one man band, I now just use the tasks list on my phone :)
     
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  13. IDB Signs

    IDB Signs Member

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    Texas_SignmakerTexas_Signmaker this is pretty much how I use Trello. It allows you to have boards, then within that several Lists, then each List can have a card that would be a project. The cards can have checklists for stages, you can attach files, add comments, descriptions, etc. And it all updates in real time, they have an app that's nice to use. Probably accomplishes much of the same just in a nice pretty interface, haha.
     
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  14. DerbyCitySignGuy

    DerbyCitySignGuy Very Active Member

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    A good production manager is an amazing asset. A bad one can sour an owner/president/CEO (whatever) on the position forever.

    Always look for employees that are good at organizing their own work flow, get things done in a timely and efficient manner, and have a good relationship with other employees. You might actually have a promising production manager on your hands already. You can teach people to be a production manager (there are even certifications).
     
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  15. HandsomeBob

    HandsomeBob Member

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    TRELLO - Questions for those who use it.

    I too have used it but deciding on what categories to have has been difficult. What categories do you have/use?
    What information do you keep on the cards?
    Are there particular add-ins you found effective and have put on your Trello? What about ineffective add-ins?
     
  16. IDB Signs

    IDB Signs Member

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    HandsomeBobHandsomeBob I only found and started using it maybe a month ago now? We're pretty small, its just me, so YMMV, but I think it could be easily scale-able. But the way I have it setup right now is one main 'Signage' board, (since we also have our furniture dept.). Then I have my Urgent/To-do list first, since it helps me to keep a more frequent eye on it. The next list is my 'Work In Progress', which uses a card for each current project I have in the hopper. For the job's card, I usually write a brief description, attach an order form (PDF, excel files) if applicable, any art or renderings, etc. You can also add comments. I then use the checklist to make an item for each stage of the process, design, cutting/printing, assembly, etc. If you have more than one person who may need to check on the status of things, they can easily go in and see, 'Ok, this is printed, waiting to be laminated..', or share art files, update renderings or order forms, etc. Or, you can have employees go in and mark each stage as complete at various work stations, or from the app even.

    For larger projects, for example a 2-300 unit custom ADA interior package for a hospital, which we do frequently, I make an item card for that project under the 'WIP' list, but I also give the project its own list. This lets me to give each sign 'type/style/size' its own card, then we can use the checklist to track the progress. Granted this is likely unique to our workflow, but it helps to track progress more accurately and you can play with it and find something that suits your needs.

    I then have a few other various list, one for Social Media to-do (which I am slacking horribly on), one for items I need to order that week, etc. We have a production coordinator and another manager who both deal with both signage and our furniture dept. I created a separate board for them to access that is more simplified, but is close to my WIP list on my board. Once a project is complete and ships or is picked up, then I move it over to the 'Completed WhateverMonth 2018' list, and that keeps track of all of our units built for that month. You can keep them for however long on the board, or archive them, and they will still be there forever. The second board helps me have my own little organized chaos on my board, but still allows those who may need to see the progress of things to do so.

    As far as add-ons, I haven't tried any just yet. Hopefully this helps!
     
  17. bannertime

    bannertime "You guys do banners, right?"

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    HandsomeBobHandsomeBob

    I have these as my categories: (they are not set in stone either)
    • Web Upload
    • Pending/Hold
    • New Orders
    • Design/Quote
    • Order Approval
    • Pending Changes
    • Pre-Press
    • In Production
    • Complete: Pick Up
    • Complete: Shipping
    • Complete: Install
    • Finished
    It's a lot, but it keeps me hyper organized. We use Zapier to automatically add order queries from our website into the first list. Then we use custom form fields to insert customer email. During the order process we use Zapier to pull the cards locations and once they hit certain list it shoots the customer an email with a simple html template. i.e: "your order is pending approval," "your order is complete," etc.

    We also comment on the cards as things happen on the orders. Specially missed contacts, order changes, call notes, etc.

    We use the mobile app to add/update orders on site. Like add a picture of the finished job.

    All this is currently under the free versions. We'll soon have to upgrade Zapier, but Trello allows one free "Power-Up" and we used the custom fields for that.

    We've got a lot more planned for it. Specifically adding a large touch screen move cards as if it was a white board. Adding shipment tracking and the actual proof approval feature. Just not totally sure how we're going to implement it yet.
     
  18. IDB Signs

    IDB Signs Member

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    bannertimebannertime Interesting to see another set-up. How many other employees do you have that use it?
     
  19. bannertime

    bannertime "You guys do banners, right?"

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    Three of us. By I'm by far the biggest user. I take time at the start and end of the day to make sure everything is updated. The others just make simple updates throughout the day.

    I setup it up, mostly for my own sanity, but because we were having issues where one of us didn't know what was going on with another person's customer, or we'd lose track of a long pending orders. It's not common for us, but occasionally we have orders pending for up to a year. Leaving that stuff on a dry erase board just wasn't working.
     
  20. IDB Signs

    IDB Signs Member

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    Same here. We're small, so it's not like I have dozens or hundreds of orders at once, but it definitely helped me to collect me thoughts. I also wanted to set it up so that my manager and our production coordinator (both of whom aren't exclusive to signage) could just look quickly and see where we stand on something.

    I also really like how you're able to copy checklists and info from a previous card. We have a few items that are monthly, for example our corporate office orders new interior name plates for their new employees once a month. The only things that change are the person's name and dept, and the total quantity. Then I can make a new card for this months project and copy everything from last month's card and changing the relevant info without re-doing the card each month.
     
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