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Shop Organizer/production Programs

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by Signature Sign Guys, Mar 18, 2020.

  1. Signature Sign Guys

    Signature Sign Guys Member

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    Hey All,

    I am wondering what people use to help streamline production. We have just started using ClickUp as a free starter tool which seems to be pretty good at the moment, but I find it lacks in somethings.

    I have worked with some other software that is an all in one shop program that does task management and invoicing all in the one program. It was a custom built program so I am just wondering if there is something out there that is out of the box ready to go.

    Any information would be great

    Cheers
     
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  2. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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  3. WhiskeyDreamer

    WhiskeyDreamer Professional Snow Ninja

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    I'm old school. I use a written planner. I also have a wall where all of our clipboards go and are "scheduled" under days. Trying to use a piece of software to schedule my week, seems like overkill to me. BUT, I am the CSR, Sales Rep, Designer, Production Manager and Production team. So I really only need my planner. One side is the week's schedule the other side is where I mark down what I need to purchase from particular vendors.
     
  4. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    I'm a Gen Xer and I was also old school, to my own detriment. Currently, I'm a one-man show but I have plans to eventually include children and grandchildren as I press forward. My old methods were fine for just me, but as we continue to grow, my "love affair" with that type of operation just isn't going to work for the next generation.

    In the past year, I have eliminated my old manual job board that required a lot of duplicate (manual) paperwork. I have also learned to trust technology, so long as it is backed up and I am able to quickly create paper copies in case of a potential problem.

    It was a huge step for me, but it's also been very liberating. I really appreciate the ability to instantly access my business information, customer documents, invoices, etc...via my phone when I'm on the road.


    JB
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2020
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  5. myront

    myront CorelDRAW is best

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    We've been using a Dry Erase Production Board for years. It's mounted to a pulley and weight apparatus so it can be moved up and down to allow access to shelving behind it. We can put 10-15 jobs a days on it. All color coded to represent different production needs and progress tracking. Blue for proofs, Green for HP Prints, red for installs, purple for site work, etc.

    Mass 90 for Invoicing and such. Currently trying to transition to Cyrious. We're shooting to implement this on the quarter yr mark. Probably not going to make the start of April so we'll try July.
    upload_2020-3-18_14-16-50.png
     
  6. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    One further note here....

    I spent a good number of years working for family businesses. I observed that the greatest source of friction often arose when "old school" wisdom and tradition tried to mix with "new school" ideals and technology. They often mixed like oil and water.

    From afar, I have also observed similar family businesses that pulled off the seemingly impossible and made the process work. So, why does it work for some, and not for others?

    Well, here's some interesting insight.

    Years ago, I used to keep honeybees and I didn't like the way the industry was headed with the constant use of medications to treat bee diseases. I learned that one effective method of treatment involved the use of natural essential oils to combat the parasitic mites that decimated bee colonies. My first problem came when I tried to mix the oils with the water-based sugar syrup required to deliver the treatment: oil and water don't blend, no matter how you try to mix it.

    I soon learned about a substance called Lecithin, a fatty substance that occurs in both plants and animals that has a strong attraction to water. It allows oils to emulsify (blend) in water. Essentially, it causes oil to disperse into micro globules that suspend themselves throughout water AND it also "helps" the water tolerate the presence of the oils. The treatment I gave my bees contained a homogeneous blend that was neither too strong or too weak....it was just perfect and never separated.

    The same goes for business. We need a healthy blend of "emulsifying thinking" to blend old school with new school....so much so, that it's hard to tell which is which, and the benefits of both produce healthy businesses.


    JB
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2020
  7. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    I had the same, and I converted it over to magnetic note card holders since priorities seemed to change on an hourly basis and often required a lot of erasing and re-writing. But even at that, it got to be too much of a challenge.

    I'm not knocking the idea...if it works, then keep doing what you're doing.

    In our case it just wasn't going to be feasible as the next generation comes on board, and possibly operates from another location (and needing to operate from the same data).


    JB
     
  8. myront

    myront CorelDRAW is best

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    I wanted to go to a projector that projected a desktop production status and staff could update it from a workstation thus projecting a continuously updated board for all to see. The sales staff wouldn't have to get up and leave the showroom to pencil in the workorders and such. There wouldn't be any need to write on it just watch it as updates happen. Our Network Admin thought it would be a nightmare to setup and "too insecure" so it got shot down. Cheaper than an 80 tv. lol
     
  9. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Speaking as a Xennial/Cusper/Oregon Trail Generation (my personal favorite, of course the video gamer and now hobby dev'er in me would say that), or someone that has had a good combination of analog and digital childhood, to me, know when to use what is the key. Like with anything, there is a time when "Old School" works and then there is a time to use "Neu School".

    I used "Old School" methods for the longest time, now I have everything scripted (some I've converted to full fledged programs, some still require an interpreter(these are py and js files) to run on a computer) and I'm still a one man shop. To me, scalability was the determining factor as to when to do the switch (but I'm just not a fan of something that is depending on a solid internet connection all the time (JB, you wondered what happened when everyone is doing online learning/working and how that would effect internet connectivity, imagine all those running programs that require 100% uptime as well?)).
     
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  10. WhiskeyDreamer

    WhiskeyDreamer Professional Snow Ninja

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    We run QuickBooks Online, so client data, estimates and invoices are available anywhere. It would be kinda hard if it weren't that way, since the owner is also the service guy out working on signs. :)
     
  11. WhiskeyDreamer

    WhiskeyDreamer Professional Snow Ninja

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    I did this when we had an additional employee here. He loved it because he could walk in and see what his jobs were for the day.
     
  12. JJM7288

    JJM7288 Member

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    We use Cyrious Control, wouldn't want to be without it.
     
  13. myront

    myront CorelDRAW is best

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    Update. We have moved from using the whiteboard (see image above) to trello (free). I happen to love trello for tracking the sign production steps but it does nothing for the sales order/invoicing side. We're still looking strongly at going to Cyrious but can't seem to find the right answers to push us into pulling the trigger. We have 11 employees, one of those being the owner.
     
  14. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    Care to share a question that Cyrious doesn't seem to offer an answer?
     
  15. Stacey K

    Stacey K I like making signs

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    I started using a magnet board, works pretty good. On my desktop I have "Fences" basically boxes that have columns for my files with proof, order, on order, in production, invoice, file. Keeps my working files organized on my desktop.
     
  16. myront

    myront CorelDRAW is best

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    I began to watch the Cyrious youtube video "New Employee Orientation Session 1 Navigation, Exploring and User Options"
    Looks very overwhelming from a designer standpoint like way too much information. I like the flow and visual aspects of trello. We just hired a person who is very familiar with Cyrious and swears by it. Although not hired as a designer, she does come from that background. I realize that the Dashboard can be customized for each employee but I worry to what extent. All the designer needs to see is what new jobs are in for a proof, which need revisions and which are approved. The designer would then assign themselves to that job, produce a layout/proof then throw it back to the sales staff to email.

    Seems our bottleneck is the sales staff not being able to input jobs quickly and efficiently. I can usually have the proof ready just by listening to the phone conversation with the customer. So for the simple "no proof needed" signage we can have it printing within minutes but the trail gets lost in production because the job hasn't been input yet. Customer name, contact info, sales order, etc.

    We've been using Mass90 for years and the general consensus is that it's a pia. The upside to that is that it's not subscription based nor Cloud based. We have system backup upon backup and the idea of that going away is quite frightening. Saved tons of $$ over the years. Cyrious and others is really expensive which makes it even tougher to swallow.

    Ultimately I have no real decision in the matter only light input.
     
  17. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    The part of "input jobs quickly" is key here.

    Typical software usually requires the user to create a sign from components of materials, required machines, and certain labors. This takes time for a sales person, their assistant, or some knowledgeable person to perform properly. The shortcut to this process step is for one to choose from a list, pre-populated sign products which already have their components accounted for (and priced.)

    Can you answer how Sales is currently pricing each sign at this time using Mass90 or otherwise?
     
  18. myront

    myront CorelDRAW is best

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    90% of our jobs are customized. 1 color, full color, logo/no logo etc. Single/sided or double, grommets, stakes, hardware, file provided or not, etc We have a price book as a guide but it's still a pia to quote from. And if we need to adjust those prices....well that'll take some time.
    The interface would need to be fully customizable whereas to make it just simple clicks as opposed to typing all the specs for a sign.
    Currently I've turned our printed workorders into a fillable pdf but even it has it's limitations. Yes, we can upload the pdf to trello but you cannot edit it on the fly. You have to refer back to your saved fillable pdf, update it and replace the one in trello.
     
  19. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    I've looked at Mass90. I also know Cyrious. I'm sure your new hire can make good use of Cyrious but I'm afraid she may not be fully aware of what it would require for your shop to make the switch, especially with the accounting aspect. I'm guessing you're using a price guide book because Mass90 has not been made to handle sign products and ownership and / or bookkeeping relies on Mass90 to mainly handle financials and maybe inventory as well. Cyrious, setting costs aside, would be a good step up because it's made for the sign industry but would not necessarily be faster. Cyrious would entail an intense learning curve for most. Again setting cost aside, your shop would ideally have started with Cyrious to begin with but that's not the case.

    The large hurdle is accounting but that's not your hurdle. Yours is job tracking.
    (More later.)
     
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