Welcome To Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals

Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals is the LARGEST online community & discussion forum for professional sign-makers and graphic designers.


  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Shop Organization

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by dlndesign, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. dlndesign

    dlndesign Active Member

    Dec 10, 2007
    San Diego, Ca
    Here is the scoop we just hit 6 months and thats saying something being a new shop with absolutely no contacts and 1 person that actually knows what he is doing 1/2 the time (your truly). Anyway, Its time that we start getting better organized. Basically some just useful pointers on how to keep an order organized with-out useless information/repeat information involved. What types of tools do you use to keep a job board/production schedule moving? Also, do you hold monthly, bi-weekly, daily meetings with your staff to go over the jobs your currently working on? Thanks!
  2. dlndesign

    dlndesign Active Member

    Dec 10, 2007
    San Diego, Ca
  3. Biker Scout

    Biker Scout Very Active Member

    Jan 24, 2008
    Las Vegas
    We started implementing a "Clipboard" system. Work Order / Job Sheet with all pertinent info attached to the clipboard and they are in a wall rack. Set of 3 wall racks with color coded clipboards.


    Gives us a visual on where jobs are at, and what needs to be done or completed still. The designer takes clipboard from sales, and keeps it until he's done with it and passes it on to production. Production completes work and passes it off to installer or it's ready to be picked up. It's pretty efficient, and anyone from the managers, owners, workers can see what needs to be done. Meetings not required, because it's obvious who's doing what, or should be doing.
  4. Craig Sjoquist

    Craig Sjoquist Major Contributor

    Jun 18, 2004
    All my information is in one book lasts a month when busy
    sales..debts..work sold
    then it gets more detailed like projects in process..sales, drawings, steps, hours, materials, changes, etc.
    so I can go back to a period and know everything
    it's all hand written start to end
  5. weaselboogie

    weaselboogie Very Active Member

    Apr 23, 2006
    I have a wall of inboxes and each job jacket has it's place chronilogically in each folder... I haven't decided if it works that great yet, but so far so good.

    Bins are: Quote -green, waiting on quote approval -red waiting on design -red , design to do -green, waiting on approval -red, order material - green, waiting on material - red, production -green, billing - green.

    I think I might be missing a step or two, but the red and green indicate if I'm waiting on the customer or if it's something I can do now. Each day, I try to get all the job jackets into the next red bin or off the wall completely. Again, this is something that I have been trying and I'm not sure if it's working out completely, but it makes some sense to me.
  6. dlndesign

    dlndesign Active Member

    Dec 10, 2007
    San Diego, Ca
    Craig, do you run the place yourself? I definitely think Weasel's process is good as well as Biker. Anyone else's brains I can pick? Trying to see if maybe there is a process that I can just throw our staff right into. Thanks.
  7. omgsideburns

    omgsideburns Very Active Member

    Apr 15, 2008
    Columbus, OH
    we use job bags.. the bag gets handed off at each step and anything pertinent is added to the bag.
  8. iceracer

    iceracer Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    we used these as well, was good for keeping things like colour chips or odd sample pcs. from being misplaced. clip board system work as well also.

    Whatever system you use is only as good as those that use it in that making notes and documenting other pertinent info goes with and stays with the docket, everyone has to take ownership.
  9. Doyle

    Doyle Very Active Member

    Dec 4, 2006
    For the past few months I have been using Microsoft OneNote on a tablet pc to organize everything. It works great. You can have as many "notebooks" as you need, with separate sections (leads, quotes, jobs, etc.) and each job gets it's own page (or group of pages). As each job changes stages, I move it to the next section. I always know at a glance what I need to quote, what job is waiting for artwork approval, etc.

    Attached Files:

  10. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    We have a large dry-erase board, divided into 8 sections: monday thru friday, long term (jobs not due in that immediate week), quotes and a general notes section that everyone checks and adds too (things to buy, important events, etc..). Each day of the week is divided into three sections: proofs due, jobs due and installations due. Each proof due that day is writted into the proof section, the jobs due that day are written in the jobs section, and the installations for the day are writted in that section, including their time. Next to the board, there are six wall hanging baskets, each basket for each day has a folder labeled proofs, jobs and installs, to correspond with that day's jobs on the board.

    When a job comes in, it is writted up on a work order, placed in a clear plastic job jacket, and put in my in box (we all have in boxes on the wall too, all mail, notes, etc., go here). My job is to control the board, so all jobs go to me, I write them on the board. If a job requires a proof, the proof is written on the day that proof is due. The actual job is also written on the correct day the job is due. Same for installation. So a job can be on the board in three places, this is so nothing can sneak up on anyone, and at a glance we can see what's on the horizon. Once the job is on the board, the job jacket is placed in the correct folder in the correct day. When that day rolls around and action is required, I pull the job and assign it to design or prepress. If a proof is due, it goes to design. When the proof is sent to the customer, that job is held in a folder on the designer's desk labeled "waiting on approval". It stays there until the job is approved, at which point the designer preps the job for production and releases it to production by placing it in the appropriate "job due" folder for the day the job is due. If the job did not require a proof, it's immediately released to prepress, where the art is prepped for production; once done, again it's placed in the job due folder for the appropriate day. An "OK" is written on the board next to that job to let the production people know the job has been approved and the art is prepped and it is ready to be produced. They then pull the job from that folder and do what is necessary to produce it. If an installation is required, it goes back into the correct install folder. If not, the job is delivered to the customer and the job jacket goes to billing and is erased from the board.

    It sounds complicated, but it's actually very smooth and easy to use, and it has an absolute minimum number of steps. It's a self-controlling board so to speak, it doesn't require someone constantly updating or watching it. Everybody knows what to do, and when you put the whole system into motion, it requires little user intervention aside from updating new jobs and removing old jobs. When you combine it with a very thorough work order form there's no reason for anybody to stop what they're doing to ask for clarification from someone else, very few mistakes are made and if people are paying attention no deadlines are missed.

    If you're interested I can post up a .pdf file of the job board and our work orders, if you think they'd work you're welcome to use them. This is about our tenth job board in 3-4 years, we've been using it for a little over a year now and it works great, at this point we wouldn't change a thing.
  11. animenick65

    animenick65 Very Active Member

    May 18, 2005
    Boston, MA
    Doyle, that actually looks pretty useful for mocking up jobs to be designed while retaining flexibility and not kicking the environment in the pants. We use plastic job bags as well. I couldn't imagine working without them now.
  12. Typestries

    Typestries Very Active Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    NJ | VT
    I dont care what system you use, for any to succeed you need to add and maintain info and make a commitment to do so. Its all to easy to say "we'll just knock this out and not enter it." I'm the first to blame, and then everyone else is at a loss.

    We have been through everything in 15 years, from a custom filemaker database, to MYOB accounting, to a combo of MYOB and daylight CMS, to clipboards and a magnetic whitebord, to our current system shopworks (shopworx.com), it costs a lot to set up, but is worth it. It's not the best accounting software, but it's great shop/job management software. Any comp in the shop can access it, and i can get on from home or when traveling. We have even had a remote sales office hooked up. It shows jobs and their relevant status in the shop (quote, art to do partial or approved, etc) and tracks shipping, drop ships, split ships, and has a bunch of reports that really give you a clear picture of whats happening.

    May i repeat, I dont care what software or system you use, first you MUST make a commitment to do a system, and stick with it, thats the hardest part!
  13. BobM

    BobM Very Active Member

    May 31, 2008
    Cape Cod