Thursday, August 19, 2010

Your auto is on the way! Now what?

How exciting.  You have ordered your first auto.  You have arranged for the fork lift to take it off the truck and place it in your building.  You have scheduled the technician to assemble and calibrate the machine.  You have the electrician on call and prepared for the install.  You think you are ready.

But, you still have the jitters.  Why?  Because you have forgotten something.  You have to be prepared to print.  You have to be prepared to personally spend time with your machine and the tech uninterrupted.  You have to be involved.  HUH?

Be prepared, mechanically and physically.
The assembly and calibration of the machine will need a little manual labor.  That means you and your staff.  The technician will need a bit of help lifting heads into position and bolting them secure.  It would be a good idea for you to stick around and watch and ask questions of what your tech is doing.  Your machine will come out of calibration with use and you should learn to maintain the press after he leaves. Take a look at what tools he uses from his tool box.  If you do not have these, make them part of your next hardware store visit.  If he has a check list, make a copy for your future use.

Keep in mind that you spent a lot of money and you should spend some time as well.  You will need to be prepared to turn off your phone and have your employees available or self-directed while the tech is in your building.  He is only there for a short time and it will cost you more money to get him back, so stay put.  I know for some of you this sound like obvious advice.  Trust me, the staff involvement is essential and often skipped.

Be prepared to print.
Okay, you have stayed with your tech.  You are one-with-the-press in a zen like trance.  You are so excited that your palms sweat.  Maybe the sweat is from the manual labor.  What next?  Printing!

Please remember that you can set-up, print and tear down a 100 piece job in an hour.  You will need multiple jobs to get comfortable with the process and put the machine through its paces.  So....
  • Screens coated for the press.  (many for many jobs)
  • Ink
  • shirts (don't laugh, we have had to go buy them from Wal-mart when a customer wasn't prepared)
  • Artwork already on film or vellum.
We would suggest a minimum of 500 shirts total to print.  Multiple jobs of multiple colors.

What about the huge job that you bought the printer for?
That job is not the technician's responsibility.  No it is not the job he should print.  It should be the last job that you set up before he leaves.  Printing 5000 pieces is your job, not his.

Stay excited.
Be excited and be involved.  This is a great adventure and it was a good buy.  You will make more money and have more free time.  That was the point, wasn't it?