Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Everyday conversations with our customers

We are a bit old school.   When you call Brown Manufacturing Group you get people.   No voice mail.  No phone extensions.  No "press 1" commands.  It isn't because we are living in 1970, but because we prefer human interaction.  Customer connection is a priority for us.  We are a family business and we want to know our customers, not just take an order and move on.

This direct contact comes with both positives and negatives. One negative is that, sometimes, we are a bit overloaded.  Our apology if you have been on hold or caught us juggling a few conversations at the same time.

It is those conversations that are the positive.  

AP-67J ElectraPrint Junior

As an example, today, a customer called to order a sleeve platen for his manual Masterprinter.  I had the opportunity to chat with him about the job he was printing and learned that he needed to print 200 shirts in 3 locations by Friday.  Well, as a sales person, this was an opportunity for me.  But is was also a learning conversation for him.  He had not looked at our ElectraPrint machines and did not know their capabilities or how reasonably priced they could be.  Though he ordered his sleeve attachment and will be printing 600 prints by hand, he is now armed with information on how to improve his business and that he can afford the upgrade.  No online order system can do that for a customer.

Additionally, if he had taken the time to peruse our web site, this kind of machinery can be confusing to configure to your shop.  A little bit of casual conversation and we determined the right number of heads and features that fit his shop and his production needs.  And it was in his price range.

As a sales professional, I can always wish for a sale.  But most sales people know that business is build upon relationships and need fulfillment.  Did I expect a sale?  Only for the original sleeve platen.  Do I look forward to future conversations with this customer about expanding his business?  Absolutely.

We prefer you call us and ask questions.  Send us an email, if you prefer.  Our family likes to meet yours.  We believe it is better service.  And, for the record, that sleeve platen will ship today.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Think small to earn big

As manufacturers of high volume equipment, we talk with many high volume producers of printed garments.  These companies employ hundreds to thousands of people so they can ship big volume very day.  However, we also talk with small to mid-size printers who are self employed or only have a small staff but they run profitable businesses and are often thinking of additional ways to expand their sales base.  The large companies often talk of prototype or sampling departments that would require small production units for multi-color screen printed goods.  This is the same type of machinery that small to mid-sized businesses look at for expansion.

What are the options?

CX-424R ClassicXprs

Small and mobile but still productive.  Those are the requirements we hear often.  The PonyXprs and the ClassicXprs answer all those needs.

The CX-424 offers a 4 color printer on a conveyor curing system that produces 36-48 pieces per hour.  It is on heavy duty casters and requires only 110V, 15A of power.  This is a small unit with great profit potential.  It has a minimal investment requirement and produces enough volume to quickly turn that into a daily profit.

PX-646 PonyXprs



The PX-646 is a 6-color, 4-station printer on a conveyor that produces 60 to 100 pieces per hour.  This unit requires 120V, 15A power times 2 for a total of 30 amps.  Easily obtained using household outlets.  The PonyXprs is volume  production for a single operator.  Again, this has a low investment requirement and a quick turn around to profits.

What do these offer for a large shop?

If a shop needs printed approval from their customer, they go through all the steps needed to take the job into production.  They create screens from separated art.  They custom mix ink colors.  They order a few of the exact shirt.  But is it cost effective to interrupt the production of the standard machines on the production floor to print 3 pieces for approval?  Many would prefer to print the samples on their direct to garment machines, but these are not accurate because they are not a screen print.  The accuracy and quick set-up of the Xprs systems make sampling quicker and more accurate.

What are the uses in a small shop?

The quick answer is EVERYTHING.  And in some cases that is true.  There are many of our customers who have these set up at their home business.  There are also many who use these as secondary stations in their shops.  This is where they send all the small stuff or the specialty items.  Any job that would require a change of platen would be printed on this system so that the standard production machines are not affected.  

Another option for the small to mid-sized shop is to take these machines on location.  Many companies service events that would profit from a quick, portable unit that can excite a crowd, limit inventory expenses and produce volume shirts on minimal power.  This is a quick cash business that expands the customer base of many community printers.

So why you?

In our daily rush to get orders in and out, we can often get wrapped up in the hurry and not take time to consider new options.  Running a high volume production floor, samples are a problem not a route to more profits.  However, they are what makes future sales and profits.  In a small shop, when you are chasing your existing customer base, the idea of collecting new contacts with on-site selling sounds exhausting.  However, if growth and profits are the goal, then new venues for selling are essential.

Check out the complete Xprs line of machinery and contact one of the Brown team members for more information.



Monday, January 8, 2018

2018 Event schedule

The 2018 trade show circuit jumps to a quick start with back to back shows on the west coast.  The PPAI show is in Las Vegas on January 16-18.  The Imprinted Sportswear show is in Long Beach on January 18-20.  Both of these events are historically, exciting due to new products launches and innovations.  The added bonus that it should be above freezing in both locations makes them fun venues to spend time.

However, for those who are on different coast lines or whose schedule does not permit, we are action packed for 2018.  We are sure to be at an event near you soon.  For a complete list of our upcoming events check out this calendar.

Why should you attend?

Many reasons are listed for not attending trade shows.  Though they are legitimate reasons to pick your events carefully, it is a wise choice to attend one event a year.  Let's see if we can balance the pros and cons.

Reasons for not attending.


  1. We are not planning to upgrade our equipment.
  2. We are too busy with orders to get away.
  3. Our place needs management to run the facility each day.
  4. There is never anything new that would change our company.
  5. We can't afford anything new.
  6. It's so expensive to go.
  7. We train our own employees.
  8. Etcetera.

Seriously these are the reasons we hear.

So let's go through these and see if there is another viewpoint.
  1. Nope, you probably are not planning on an upgrade.  However, looking for ways to optimize performance of what you have is always worthwhile.  With updated maintenance information and tools, machinery will last longer.  This is a major cost savings for any business.
  2. Too busy FOR THE WHOLE YEAR?  There are events all over the country every month.  Small regional shows have information that is worth knowing just as much as big shows. 
  3. This is an excuse screaming for show attendance.  There are seminars on production management just so that the production floor can run seamlessly without upper management intervention.  If "I'm essential for every day" is the reason, then take a seminar and lighten your load.
  4. Sometimes there aren't new things.  True.  However, we could all use a refresher course.  As you are driving in the mall parking lot and thinking that all these people need a driving course, remember your shop.  Everyone could use a quick study in everything they do from time to time.
  5. Your budget is tight has some validity.  So don't buy anything!  Just learn.  Sit with other business people and ask questions.  Not about your favorite sports, but about how their business handles day to day activities.  
  6. The shows typically have free passes to enter.  Pick one you can drive to.  Talk to people.  Free info.  Sounds reasonably priced to me.  Seminars cost money, true.  Talking to people on the floor is free.
  7. So, you are up to date on all new technology, right?  So how you train your people is top-notch?  Um huh.  Think again.  Quality people learn fast.  They can learn new things that will help your business grow and be more profitable.
  8. Should we keep going or do you get the idea?

So what do you do if you are looking for something new.

Attend all events with an open mind.  We see many people who go to a show thinking that they know exactly what they are there for.  That is good.  They have probably done their research and are comfortable with what they are planning.  However, look around.  There are rows and rows of interesting products that might shed new light on old problems or change your mind on what you think you need.

If you are looking for one thing, talk to everybody who know something about that issue.  Different manufacturers can give insights on solutions from different perspectives.  Be open minded.  You are there to learn something and, though you may have years of experience, new technology changes the game.

One final note.  Have some fun.  Walking a show is tiring.  It is physically and mentally challenging.  But there are new things to see and new people to meet.  Wear comfy shoes and a smile.  It is a long day that should lead to improvements and new insights.