Apparel Graphic Academy

Tips from Marshall Atkinson to manage an embroidery shop efficiently

June 2, 2017

Consulting from Marshall Atkinson from Atkinson Consulting. To reach Marshall, his number is 480-351-0740.

In this consulting we went over production. A quote he said was, “People run equipment.” There’s two book series that he suggest that we read. The first one is Get a Grip and the second one is called Traction.

First you want to jot down the traits of all your employees that your employees have. Used a people analyzer. Do they measure up to your traits?

Teamwork. Here’s a quote: “It’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.” When working with employees, there is no such thing as a stupid question. It’s okay to ask dumb questions. The production manager needs to have a coach mindset, they need to coach the employees. Never want to put down an employee. You always want to pump them up, explain what they’re doing like a player on a football team. Always work out the problem.


Training schedule. You should have a training schedule. For example, they’ll start training the employees every Thursday at three p.m. Make an appointment with the employee. Do simple production tasks first, and then once they catch along they can become a trainer. To continue the training, take the senior operator and break it down by step, step one, step two, step three, and put all these steps in a notebook. It’s critical to have a training manual. The reason the training manual is critical is so you aren’t answering the same question over and over again, you can refer the employee back to the training book. Remember, training is an ongoing process.

To begin training, think of the top one mistake that’s going on in the company. The number one mistake we have is quality control and scheduling. Go back and see why the order was messed up. If all the information was correct, did the sales rep put in the correct information? Was the approval correct? Was the work order correct? Go back and check everything.

To get the training going, you want to paint a picture. For example, you’re climbing Mount Rainier. You start at the bottom, you got to make it to the top. Employees are tied together with ropes and one misstep will happen, but we will correct the misstep that happens. Whenever you make a journey, journeys can change. When training you need to have some standards. You need standards so you can compare. If the employee doesn’t do it, you go back to the standard and ask him why.


Scheduling, you always need a drop dead date or in-hands date. Remember to use real dates.

A suggestion is text the customer if you have any questions.

Organizing work orders on the floor. Use the last digit of the work order and have a row for each number. So you’d have 10 rows using the last number on the work order to organize things.

The way to schedule orders, you can have them scheduled by rush, late, today, or tomorrow. Rush you will do first, second you do late, today, and then tomorrow. A tip on the purchase orders, in the purchase order field put a dollar sign and the dollar sign indicates rush. The key thing to production is use the production calendar in ShopWorks. Make sure you understand it and always look ahead to see what’s coming in.

To get this going, have a whiteboard and have a meeting and discuss the problems and you’re going to tackle it. Only take on one problem at a time.