One of our local Seattle / Tacoma area embroidery and screen printing competitors shut its doors this past week. While we feel sorry for the staff affected by that event, it obviously creates an opportunity for our firm. We have already had clients calling us to ask if we can take over handling their logo wear.
The first client with whom we met starting off asking us about our production capacity. Their former vendor had advised them to make sure they found a vendor with at least X number of machine heads, which translates into how many garments one can stitch simultaneously. What the now-shuttered vendor did not advise their client to contemplate was the condition of the vendor’s equipment. This Puyallup-based competitor was openly for sale for many months. When we considered purchasing their business last year, we learned that their equipment was antiquated and falling apart. The owner was not investing sufficiently in the maintenance of their screen printing equipment. It literally broke down into a heap of scrap metal the following week!
When you go to rent a car on a business trip or family vacation, what goes through your mind when you find that the car you rented is dented, rusting, and/or dirty? Are you not comforted when you find the car you rented seems at least clean and well maintained, and preferably relatively new? Wouldn’t you want the same from a logo wear vendor in which you have trusted a key element of your corporate branding?
When choosing your embroidery and screen printing vendor, how much capacity the vendor has only answers part of what you really need to know. What you also want to know is what is the downtime of their equipment. Just losing a film printer’s toner controller chip — a $5 part (!) — can knock a screen printer down for days while they await delivery of a replacement part. On the embroidery side of the house, cheap production equipment is made with a lot of plastic parts that will crumble and break inside the machine eventually, leading to the vendor having production downtime. Recently, one of our local Seattle area competitors even had to ship equipment back to a service center on the east coast! What if that had happened just before you rolled out your new product?
Our service technician visited us 15 months ago and listed the parts of our equipment that the manufacturer considered “disposable.” When we scheduled his return visit last year, we told him to replace all of those “disposable” parts, whether or not it was immediately necessary. We do not believe that downtime is in our customers’ best interests; therefore, it is not in ours.
Top quality embroiderers and screen printers have built their businesses from the ground up with the idea of minimizing downtime in order to always ensure smooth, reliable production for their clients. Work with a vendor that feels invested in the future of your business, and invests to ensure your mutual success!