How do you guys keep track of orders/jobs currently in your shop?

Thyll

New Member
We have been working with a developer for a few years on our own custom system. It acts similarly to Trello or Monday.com but it integrates with our accounting software and is built for our exact needs.
Once a customer accepts an estimate (that was created in Quickbooks) with one click the system creates a folder tree on our server (for digital assets, working files and proofs) a job ticket and posts to our schedule board. From there the job works its way through the system and once complete it's one click to convert to an invoice and send to client for payment.
I cannot recommend some type of automated system enough. It helps with customer service, organization, efficiency, growth and allows you to spend less time working in the business and more time working on the business.
 
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kcollinsdesign

Old member
All the info for a job is in a manila folder placed in tickler file (filed by date the next action is needed). Every morning I sort the files (only takes a few minutes). All digital info is stored in an A – Z directory. Estimates are prepared in Quickbooks (a paper copy is printed and put in the respective manila).
When it becomes a job (customer approves it), the contents of the manila folder are placed in a colored "ticket holder" (see attached for a picture of the ticket holders I get from U-Line) along with a standard work order. They get placed in a metal file holder on a wall so they can be easily seen and arranged as needed. Production writes their time and anything else (items ordered, taken out of inventory, etc.) on the work order; receipts and notes are placed in the ticket holder.
When the job is completed, the Quickbooks estimate is converted to an invoice, a copy of the invoice is printed and placed in a manila folder with all the contents of the ticket holder and put into an accounts receivable file (the ticket holder gets placed in a stack to be used again). When the job is paid, it is recorded in Quickbooks and the manila folder is taken out of accounts receivable and filed in an A – Z file cabinet and permanently stored in a file cabinet.
This system is simple, visual, and tactile. It has worked fine for a couple $million in annual sales. Anything more, I suspect, would require a more elaborate system probably involving job tracking software and multiple data entry stations and advanced training (I shudder to think).
 

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Texas_Signmaker

Very Active Signmaker
I use an excel file that is sharable online. The fields (like artwork and site survey) link to the actual files for easy access.
 
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zspace

New Member
We changed from printed job tickets in color-coded job jackets to Corebridge in 2019. In regards to the question about managing workflow, Corebridge lets you view WIP reports for each department or piece of equipment real-time to identify bottlenecks early. I can see which printers are booked out, which jobs are stuck in art waiting for a customer response, and what's ready for shipping or installation. Shelf systems take a lot of time to set-up and require a lot of training but they can result a smooth work process.
 

brdesign

New Member
We use our website admin section. It not only keeps tracks of orders, but it auto notifies customer of status changes via email or sms. It also serves as our invice and billing, where as customer can log in and pay bills, view past orders and such. All notes are kept with each order online and can be set to either customer or private mode. As you can see in this screen shot, we also linked to wave accounting to handle auto import of new orders. We also implemented auto review reminders so clients can leave reviews on the job.

We also have a art proof section, you upload a pdf or image and the customer is notifed, once they approve the job status is auto changed to approved and a notification sent back to the shop.

All theses functions are customizable as needed.
What kind of website are you using that has all those features?
 

RJB Freethink

New Member
We use Shopworks. It can do a lot more than what we use it for, but it is also not terribly user friendly. Lots of tabs that don't necessarily take you to where you expect them to. We have a sign dept, screen print, embroidery, DTG/DTF, heat transfer vinyl, and sewing. It has a different icon for each department and multiple "find" lists can be made to only show certain orders that fit everything you're looking for.

The shop I worked at before this one was pretty much just screen print and embroidery and we used Impress to keep track of everything. I like it much better than Shopworks, but it is really expensive. Things seem to flow more logically in Impress than Shopworks.
 

DeadDoc

New Member
We use E-Print but we are a print/Design firm who also does large format and "signage" work. We work with a full fledged sign shop for the serious jobs.

My former printing job was hand written forms which were hand logged daily. Sales tracking was done via POS. I still favor this method! Edit: This was also a production hub for OfficeMax where LF was really not their gig but we did have a 44" wide printer. I dealt a lot with a sign shop across the street for signage until they started to snipe customers.
 
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isigninoz

New Member
We use our website admin section. It not only keeps tracks of orders, but it auto notifies customer of status changes via email or sms. It also serves as our invice and billing, where as customer can log in and pay bills, view past orders and such. All notes are kept with each order online and can be set to either customer or private mode. As you can see in this screen shot, we also linked to wave accounting to handle auto import of new orders. We also implemented auto review reminders so clients can leave reviews on the job.

We also have a art proof section, you upload a pdf or image and the customer is notifed, once they approve the job status is auto changed to approved and a notification sent back to the shop.

All theses functions are customizable as needed.
HI Cnysigns, Any chance you can share more info I use WordPress and would love to incorporate this into my shop Is it a plugin?, or have you had this designed for you? Thanks in advance
 

Notarealsignguy

Arial - it's almost helvetica
All the info for a job is in a manila folder placed in tickler file (filed by date the next action is needed). Every morning I sort the files (only takes a few minutes). All digital info is stored in an A – Z directory. Estimates are prepared in Quickbooks (a paper copy is printed and put in the respective manila).
When it becomes a job (customer approves it), the contents of the manila folder are placed in a colored "ticket holder" (see attached for a picture of the ticket holders I get from U-Line) along with a standard work order. They get placed in a metal file holder on a wall so they can be easily seen and arranged as needed. Production writes their time and anything else (items ordered, taken out of inventory, etc.) on the work order; receipts and notes are placed in the ticket holder.
When the job is completed, the Quickbooks estimate is converted to an invoice, a copy of the invoice is printed and placed in a manila folder with all the contents of the ticket holder and put into an accounts receivable file (the ticket holder gets placed in a stack to be used again). When the job is paid, it is recorded in Quickbooks and the manila folder is taken out of accounts receivable and filed in an A – Z file cabinet and permanently stored in a file cabinet.
This system is simple, visual, and tactile. It has worked fine for a couple $million in annual sales. Anything more, I suspect, would require a more elaborate system probably involving job tracking software and multiple data entry stations and advanced training (I shudder to think).
That sounds close to what we do. It is too easy to lose stuff in a computer.
 

Notarealsignguy

Arial - it's almost helvetica
We changed from printed job tickets in color-coded job jackets to Corebridge in 2019. In regards to the question about managing workflow, Corebridge lets you view WIP reports for each department or piece of equipment real-time to identify bottlenecks early. I can see which printers are booked out, which jobs are stuck in art waiting for a customer response, and what's ready for shipping or installation. Shelf systems take a lot of time to set-up and require a lot of training but they can result a smooth work process.
So how do you deal with a printer going down or a person not showing up for work? It seems like something so tight would require a bunch of input to get it back on track.
 

Michael-Nola

I print things. It is very exciting.
I have used and managed the backend of a bunch of popular systems. DocketManager, Pressario, PrintSmith, Avanti, PACE, PSI, ShopVox, Accurio, etc. Pros and Cons to every system.
Paper tickets have been the backbone for many years!
I have seen accounting packages like Xero and Quickbooks so well organized it could generate a proper quote and production ticket.
Trello is an amazing organizational tool due to its simplicity and delivery on many essential features.
Dedicated MIS's go one step further in delivering all that organization with a workflow and database connectivity tailored to our industry.

The best tool is the one you are most comfortable with!
As for my vote, I find MIS's invaluable. Not only for tracking, but for driving controlled profit, growth, and integration with W2P sales.
 

10sacer

New Member
This very well could have been covered in one or more posts but I am curious: when a customer places an official order, what's your guys' process for putting the order into production and keeping track of all the jobs currently in need of producing in your shop? I ask this because it's becoming a bit of an issue for me in my shop but also, a big screen printer I work with locally showed me how they do it: literally a big cork board with the most post-it's I've ever seen in my life. This shocked me as I see them as a pretty big-boy operation and assumed they had a more sophisticated method than that! just thought I'd get some feedback from you guys..
Trello
 

zspace

New Member
So how do you deal with a printer going down or a person not showing up for work? It seems like something so tight would require a bunch of input to get it back on track
It’s way easier. (for context, we averaged 45 jobs a day YTD) When a designer is out, we open their queue to view customer changes/approvals and see due dates versus having to dig through their email and a stack of job jackets. When a printer goes down we don’t have to read through tickets to find which jobs are hard due dates or rushes, we can sort jobs quickly and reprioritize on another printer. If a supervisor is out, we can open a job to see if materials were ordered and review the work queues in their area to see bottlenecks like work backed up on a router.

The system also creates an audit trail (time/people/equipment/materials/customer interaction/vendors/etc.) so we can identify training needs and process issues.
 

ColorCrest

New Member
Shelf systems take a lot of time to set-up and require a lot of training but they can result a smooth work process.
A key part of setup for a “full” solution is to use a strict naming convention of sign making components along with their actual costs. The naming convention will help organize the hundreds of items together into basic groups such as their material types, their brand, color, size, etc. It’s very likely that the shop will need to create a more logical name for the component other than the supplier or the manufacture provides. Line item pricing is primarily based in part from the amount of component cost required for the product.

As for training, some solutions offer better or simpler architectures than others with better or worse workflow diagrams than others. A simple graphic can make all the difference a user's adaptation of the process, not to mention if the actual process is easy or not.
 

ColorCrest

New Member
For those wrangling WIP lists in Trello, I recommend switching Trello to its table view. It's far easier on the eyes than their card style, can display much more data with better organization, can display all boards at once, is similar in appearance and possible to fashion (sort of) as every other conventional WIP list already offered by others.
 
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