I recently found this story by Bill Hood from a few years ago in my files. Who’s Bill Hood? Read the story and I’ll tell you at the end.

“Yesterday, I was in a very large, high-production shop and found the owner of the shop, wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and a bandana on his head, sweating profusely while loading the automatic. His production manager was unloading and meanwhile no one was working on managing the production or running the business.

The owner had called earlier with a problem. He had accepted a job that was supposed to be on burgundy nylon running shorts, only to find out when the goods arrived that they were actually 100-percent polyester. Even though they put a white polyester ink on the press, it was turning a nice shade of pink after only one pass through the dryer, which had been turned down and the belt speed turned up. The ink was barely drying, but the dye from the polyester was migrating into the ink rapidly.

It didn’t help that the temperature in the shop was over 120F, or that they were being forced to print/flash/print because the screens were coated too thin. And, the substrates were printed in three locations, which meant three trips through the dryer.

We had a conference call set up . . . We made some suggestions, which were quickly put aside as the shop didn’t have time to remake the screens with a better Emulsion Over Mesh (EOM) ratio. He didn’t want to block the migration as it would mean adding another screen, more ink, and more time. Time was what he didn’t have as the job was on a deadline.

The owner was up against the wall, having accepted the job with a short delivery time. He wanted a quick fix and he needed it now. We were able to deliver some ink and additives that made the job print much better. While this was a partial solution, it certainly should not be the end to the story. The shop has a management problem, actually many problems in that they are:

    • Working with too tight of a deadline to deal with issues
    • Accepting jobs that are problematic
    • A staff that is untrained in handling problems
    • A lack of a standard operating system to eliminate problems
    • An owner working IN the business in lieu of working ON the business
    • A production manager who runs the press

And, there are so many more that it would take pages to list. This is so familiar that it is beyond comprehending. How many screen printing shops, or for that matter, businesses in general that have opened their doors ill-prepared to deal with the problems that will arise. Few, and I mean less than 5-percent, have any sort of training other than on the job. This means that they know what they know and have learned this from working in only one or two (perhaps a few) shops. They learn to coat screens the way they did it at Shop 1 and take that information to Shop 2, with no regard as to the “best” method. Far too many are working in what they think is “printing-on-demand” and accepting whatever comes in the door with no game plan whatsoever.”

Bill Hood consults to the textile screen printing industry. He offers various packages that can be found on his website by clicking here.