I am very proud of what we accomplished last week so this may be a little longer post than most. If it gets too long just skip to the video below and watch. Keep in mind, the movie is never as good as the book.
About two weeks ago we got a call about doing 250,000 shirts on both sides for a total of 500,000 prints over the next couple of weeks. We said "we are good, but we are not that good. We are going to have to pass on this one." Keep in mind, I am the yes man, if you need anything done that seems outrageous call me because we all know i'm going to say yes. Well this time it was just too much, we had to pass. It hurt my ego a little, but it is better to know your limits.
So we went about our business over the next week or so. On Wednesday April 6th, Chad gets a call from the same customer asking us if we could print 68,000 shirts, front and back 136,000 prints by Monday April 18th. Keep in mind we have no art, no shirts. This has the potential of being the biggest order we have ever done. In 2009 we did 40,000 shirts with three locations for 120,000 prints but we had over two months to get that job done. This timeline was only 12 days. The only way this would work is if we could print 24 hours a day on all three presses. It was looking like there was no way we could possibly get this all going so fast. When we ramp up for Fiesta Bowl every year, it takes us months of planning to make it work. How in the world would we ramp up to a 24 hour work schedule so quick?
What we needed was a commitment from our employees that they wanted the extra hours. We needed to know that they were OK working 12+ hours a day to make this happen. So, after talking to the staff and finding out they all wanted the work, we gave it the green light.
So, this was all on Wednesday the 6th. To make this work we had to have shirts and art at our shop ready to print that afternoon or the following morning. But, the end customer had not made up their minds yet. This was a joint venture between one major CA company and 2 east coast NBA teams. They were having a difficult time making a decision amongst the three of them. So for the next 24 hours Chad and our customer exchanged what seemed like 100's of calls and e-mails trying to dial in the details. Thursday afternoon had arrived and still no decision. Our customer called and confirmed with us that his clients could not come to a conclusion and the job was not going to happen, anymore. I have never been so happy to lose a job. This would have been 8 days of working ourselves to death. I would have been a nervous wreck all week. Do you know how much paperwork is involved with hiring 14 new people?!
Just then, Chad tracked me down and said the job was back on...FOR SURE this time! Holy Crap, I just felt good about losing the job, now I feel even better for getting the job.
10 minutes later, Chad tracks me down again and tells me they will only use the Gildan 64000 Soft Styles and no one in the country has enough to fill the order. So, now the job is off again. This is what we call "riding the roller coaster" at Info Screen Printing. One minute, things are great, the next minute, it all falls apart.
Another 10 minutes later, Chad now tells me they are going to use Gildan 5000, but guess what? McCreay's does not have enough stock to fill the order.
After figuring out a possible print schedule, we're going on the assumption that McCreary's has enough stock on hand to get us through the weekend and start printing. So we are back on... we think...
About an hour later we finally see the art for the first time. Friday morning, we start sampling the job and have a printed proof by noon. The job was approved by late Friday night. McCreary’s receives the order from our customer 1st thing Friday also. We need 15,000 shirts to be able to print over the entire weekend. Then, Chad hears about the "new wrinkle" in the job. He now explains that we are going to do fulfillment to 710 retail stores with 110 shirts going to each location. Each store will have a break down of 22 medium, 44 large and 44 xlarge. Normally, when we print a job this huge we will print all of one side, then the other. We will also print all the same size shirts at the same time. But these shirts needed to start shipping two days after we started printing, so we had to change our game plan of how we are going to print this job. We also need to coordinate with McCreary’s on what sizes we need each day. Not only did we need 15,000 shirts but we need exact size break downs each day. I speak very highly of McCreary’s because of these situations. Dave, without missing a beat says "no problem, just tell me what you need each day and when you need them and we will make it happen." And they did just that. If I said Friday I need 15,000 shirts by 2:30 they were there. Each and every day for the next 7 days they delivered precisely what we needed. Without their support and coordination there would have been no way this job would have gotten done on time. Thank you to everyone at McCreary’s that helped out.
Needless to say, we started printing on Saturday morning and did not stop until the following Saturday morning. For 7 straight days, 24 hours a day, we printed this job on at least one press all the time. Keep in mind, we still had all our other work to do in the middle of this monster. For those customers that were effected by this, we appreciate your understanding in needing to move things around a bit. We love ALL of our customers...not just the ones that bring us humongous jobs and then, throw us a huge pizza and chicken wing party afterwards as a "thank you for being so awesome" (hint hint)
Here are some stats of the job
7 days of printing
14 new hires
Some employees worked over 16 hours a day