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Attention Garment Screen Printers, Are you making profit or just surviving?

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I am writing this blog to educate all garment screen printers with regard to the factors which influences costing. And after going through these points one can correct themselves to avoid further loss in business.

It’s difficult to educate or inform everyone, on one to one. So I thought the best way is to write this blog so that everyone can read, understand and implement these points before quoting for your customers job.

As garment screen printers you should never forget that you are helping your customers to sell their printed garments and because of your quality and services they are able to sell their garments in the market effectively.

Majority of garment screen printers, mainly into job work, only consider ink cost and add ‘margins’ with an understanding that the so called ‘margin’ covers their direct and indirect costs. It’s surely a blind faith!

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I have been conducting workshop and seminars in my institute DMI since 2006. In this 10 successful year I have been teaching advance screen printing process on latest machine and equipments using high quality materials and consumables.

During my 3-day workshops, screen printers sincerely write down all the methods and processes that are explained in my theory and practical sessions, and they even take photographs, probably to implement in toto what I teach. But back in their print shop, they seem to be hesitating to use the same method, products or similar quality materials like inks, emulsions, screen mesh, squeegee rubber etc, just because they find it ‘expensive’ compare to what they currently use. And, the end result: they fail to emulate the kind of quality that we have demonstrated in the workshop.

Frankly, the materials are not that expensive but printers are compelled to use lower standard materials and consumables because of their wrong costing and pricing structure prevalent in the market.

Most of the screen printers in textile and garment sector, especially engaged in job work only considers INK as their major cost while making their price-list per colour basis but they totally forget so many important factors during their calculations before sending quotations to customers.

To begin with, for the time being keep the cost of ink, emulsion, screen mesh out from your mind for a while because if you are not taking into account the following things while quoting your customer than I am seriously concerned whether you are making profit or just surviving in your business?

  1. Designing
  2. Positives
  3. Screen making
  4. Rejections
  5. Ink wastage
  6. Squeegee rubber & its maintenance
  7. Electricity charges per piece
  8. Labour
  9. Overtime
  10. Plant & Machinery
  11. Machine maintenance / AM
  12. Spare parts for plant and machinery
  13. Administration & office expenses
  14. Sampling
  15. Other overheads etc…

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DESIGNING:

Even if you have your own art department and artists to do designing, that doesn’t mean it’s not costing you money. Whether the lot size is bigger or smaller, design charges should be added in the costing. Be cautious that if designing charges are not taken from customers as a matter of regular practice, then you as screen printers end up struggling to purchase high quality designs or hire professional designers. But if you start charging for designs, you will not hesitate to purchase high quality designs from professionals or other online paid source, and hire experienced / professional designers for your pre-press activities.

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POSITIVE:

Majority of screen printers in garment/textile sector use tracing paper (generally knowns as ‘butter’ paper) and output their positives on desktop laser printer. It’s because customers don’t pay so printers try to save on designing and positive making and finally struggle for getting good quality printing. Even I have noticed that inkjet films are also considered ‘costly’. Hence image setter positives are out of question.

So always charge to customer for designing as well as positive making especially for smaller lot size.

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SCREEN MAKING:

Screen is the heart of screen printing. I always mention in my workshops ‘Good Screens = Good Quality Prints’. Believe me screens plays the major role in the quality of printing and many screen printers don’t have any idea what should be the right quality of screens. Textile screen printers main focus is alway ‘automatic machine’. But I would like to remind printers once again that to achieve 100% QUALITY in garment screen printing,

Designing & Positives (Pre-press) has 40% role
Screen Making – 40%
Automatic Machine – 10%
Inks & Consumables – 10% Provided if you are using high quality materials and consumables from renowned companies

The reason why screen printers end up making poor quality screens is because they don’t charge their customers for screen making nor they add it in their pricing based on the lot size. Hence they are compelled to use substandard positives, screen mesh, emulsions, chemicals and unprofessional way to develop screens.

Screens are not FREE it cost you lot of money and also does not last longer so it should be charged to customers separately.

The life of screens for printing photographic images with water base inks using fine halftone dots last only upto 500 to 700 impression. If you are lucky or if you have not cleaned the screens in between production due to ink choking or during any intervals etc. than it can deliver upto or over 1000 impression.

POOR INK & EMULSION QUALITY reduces your screen life so use the best mesh, emulsions, chemicals and inks. The life of the screen especially in halftone printing majorly depends on ink so use high quality inks which reduces ink choking issues thus eliminates screen cleaning during production thus avoids stencil wear & tear.

The life of screen can sometimes double or even more with PVC free-phthalate free plastisol inks compare to conventional water based because these plastisol inks does not choke up in screens and does not require cleaning in intervals. But nowadays many companies makes very high quality low-choking water base inks which can also eliminate screen cleaning during production thus increases the life of the screens.

The screen making charges also depend on the number of colours and type of screen required for printing. E.g. the cost of high density screen should be charged higher compare to conventional screen making because it take more time with special attention and care plus the cost of thick film is also higher compare to conventional emulsions.

And don’t forget that screens do have limited life, sometimes it tears due to poor handling or during printing due to dust particles in ink. So in a month some amount of new screen mesh has to be considered in your costing.

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MACHINE SETUP:

Most of the job workers (garment printers) complain that their lot size has now shrunk between 300 and 500 pieces per lot.

So, in this case it would be the biggest blunder or loss making, if you are not charging or considering the cost of machine setup. Everyone knows ‘job changeover’ time is the biggest nightmare in garment printing.

According to me, on an average, the time taken by screen printers practically to change from one job to another is around 1 to 2 hours, or sometimes even more depending on number of colours and accuracy of the job.

If a company runs 8-hour shift (which never happens practically you know!) they end up with average 6.5 or 7 hours a shift. In that case average only 3.5 lots can be finished per shift, considering a min. order of 300 or max. 500 piece per hour considering 1 hour spent for job changeover and setup in between.

So, if you do not charge/consider ‘job changeover’ time and ‘machine setup’ time for smaller lots, then even survival would be difficult, forget about making profit. Because most of your ‘profits’ are being leaked out incognito due to time lost in job change over and machine set up.

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REJECTION:

Many printers are least bothered about the kind of wastage and rejections. Of course, not all pieces are perfect in any production process. Their bound to be rejections which have to be taken into account.

If customer sends job for printing and if they deduct any amount from your invoice due to rejection then you should inform your customer to send you extra pieces needed to cover up the tests, trials, wastage and rejections. You should inform them in advance that there would be certain amount of rejections in each lot and they should accept this fact and should not deduct any amount from your bill.

These days companies are spending millions in process standardisation and process control to minimise rejections. But many average screen printer do not even have weighing scale to weigh ink for repeat accuracy or any meter to make special colour match inks in-house etc. so they all go by an ‘approximate’ measurement done by naked eye and judgment. So, compelling screen printers to have a rejection percentage in ‘points’ in current situation is not practical.

According to the current circumstances & situation 15% to 20% rejection should be considered acceptable for an average screen printer who does have modern setup or right kind of skilled people with proper knowledge and process standardisation.

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INK WASTAGE:

If anyone claims that they do not incur any wastage of ink, it’s totally wrong. Whether you print 100 or 1000 pieces, there will be some amount of ink wastage, especially when printing with water based inks.

The wastage is higher in water based inks compare to PVC free – phthalate free plastisol inks. The advantage of PVC free – phthalate free plastisol inks is that after each job, you can recover every drop of ink back using sharp spatula (except some ink residues left on screens) and secondly the ink does not dry in the screens and there is no evaporation like water based inks.

So, if you are printing with water base inks 15% to 20% wastage of inks should be considered in your costing. This wastage includes the ink you leave on sides of screen and which gets thicker/harder after some time due to water evaporation. In some extreme conditions wastage cannot be reused.

The major factor of water based ink wastage is due to higher temperature in some countries and places plus mainly due to poor plant conditions.

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SQUEEGEE RUBBER & MAINTAINENCE:

The last priority item for every screen printer is ‘SQUEEGEE RUBBER’.

Printers never pay attention to squeegee which is the most crucial tool in the management of quality in printing.

Most screen printers may expect that the squeegee supplied with the machine, should last for years and years! Even the maintenance of the squeegees are so bad and they are never sharpened.

I have seen printing companies where they use squeegee for years unsharpened! Printers should understand that squeegee life is limited and its hardness starts diminishing from the original count (strength). At DMI we change squeegee after its hardness is diminished or if the length reduces more than 5 mm after frequent sharpening.

Even good quality sharpened squeegees can reduce your ink consumption by 5% to 10% in some extreme cases.

Please be aware that the squeegee has a limited life, and hence it should be replaced based on certain ‘weakening’ criteria. So, printers using automatic machines should consider the cost of squeegee while working on costing.

ELECTRICITY CHARGES / LABOUR CHARGES / OVERTIME CHARGES:

Many printers do consider electrical & labour cost but just for a rough estimate.

But the cost is not added on ‘per piece’ basis, because the electrical & labour charges will completely depend on the lot size. E.g. the cost of electricity & labour to print 100 or 10,000 piece will remain the same, but it will change drastically based on the lot size due to change over time, downtime, wastage of materials, and time wasted by labours during job change over. In this case the price cannot be the same per colour for 100, 300 and 1000 or more…

So, electricity, labour cost and overtime charges very much depends on the lot size, setup time and change over time.

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PLANT & MACHINERY / MAINTAINENCE CHARGES / SPARE PARTS:

Your plant and machinery requires regular maintenance. So if you cannot generate enough profit you will have to compromise on the maintenance of your plant and machinery which indirectly reduces the life of your machines and thus it will affect production and quality.

Better to deposit some amount every month in a separate account for safety and for maintenance of your plant and machinery like machines, generator, vehicles etc.

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ADMINISTRATION COST:

Your office administration cost in general should also be considered based on your monthly production.

E.g. If 10 people are working in your office for admin work with an average salary e.g. Rs. 15,000 per month, and let say your monthly production is around 100,000/per month and you have already added Rs. 1.50 in your costing. Now if your quantity shrinks down due to change over time or ink matching time or for any other reason, then it will directly affect your profit margin. But if you increase your production and productivity with same people, your profit will increase drastically.

FINALLY, FREE SAMPLING:

I know there is a trend all over to provide free samples to customers.

But I do not want to explain in details because by now you must have understood why one should not make free samples to customers. Because it cost you a lot of money for making screens, positives, setup time and other overheads.

While making samples for customer, you have to make special match colours. If the design works, you consume those inks; but if the design fails, your matched ink has to be used in other jobs or it remains in stock and has to thrown after some time.

That’s the reason why DMI has introduced a new system where in you only have to keep stocks of basic 14 Pantone colours, and all your designs will be printed using those limited colours. This will help you to minimise unwanted stock of inks and time to match special colour. Quite often, while matching special colours, there is possibility of wastage due to error in colour matching.

So, it’s not only the ink cost that you need to consider to add to your profit, but all the above factors should also be considered while working on your costing because today the major cost is labour, electricity, land, machinery and overheads.

Don’t struggle in production by using substandard, low quality inks, materials and consumables.

According to me don’t consider INK or EMULSION cost into your mind, if you increase your productivity, reduce machine setup time, reduce job change over time, minimise colour by doing proper separation of each designs believe me INK or EMULSION cost will be no where in account.

Most screen printers works so hard, spend so much time and energy to source cheaper substandard inks but fails to understand that the ink, emulsion cost even does not come into account if you increase productivity, reduce rejection & downtime, reduce setup & job changeover time. Don’t forget day by day overhead, labour cost land, electricity etc. will become very expensive compare to INKS & EMULSIONS.

Based on my experience and observation, I urge all the garment screen printers…

“Do not consider the costs that you feel to be considered and do consider the costs that you feel should not be considered”

So avoid further loss and start charging your customers for designing, screen making, positives, sampling and development charges on regular basis.

Because its better to maintain healthy competitions for long term business and don’t let your customers take the advantage of your ignorance & innocence.

To be more productive, reduce machine setup time, reduce job change over time, minimise colour & screens using high end colour separation software and to understand costing in details register to my workshop on advanced screen printing on textile.

For more information log on to: www.graficaindia.com

Be profitable and remain healthy in business.

Have a profitable week…

Bhargav Mistry

 

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Register your seat/s in Technical Seminar at Screen Print India 2016 Expo

 

Dear Screen Printers,

I am glad to announce that during Screen Print India Expo between 6 to 8 May 2016 there are various seminars on interesting topics by renowned international experts.

 

Print Finishing with UV Special Effects Inks & Varnish

Vale Addition on Packaging & Offset Printing

PASJONATA – Innovative software for managing printing business and customers communication

By Jacek Stencel of Pasja, Poland

 

 

 

 

High-Performance / Industrial Electronic & Medical Applications

High-Tech Screen Printing 101 for senior & mid-management

Overview of Printed Circuit, Touchscreen and Conductive Prtg

By Mike Young of Imagetex Consulting International, USA

 

 

 

 

 

Simulated Process Dark Garments

Process Colour on Garment

By Charlie Taublieb, Taublieb Consulting, USA

 

 

 

 

 

 

To make your visit at the show productive the organisers of Screen Print India have specially called these experts from USA & Poland to conduct various seminars on interesting topics for screen printers who wants to grow in their business and wants to be productive.

So all who wants to improve their skills and wants to learn from these experts and see new samples and products then kindly register your seats for free.

Never stop learning new ideas & techniques if this does not cost you any money.

HURRY UP… LIMITED SEATS…

 

Download technical seminar brochure in PDF to know detailed topics with descriptions.

See you soon at Screen Print India 2016 expo from 6 to 8 May 2016 at Bombay Exhibition Centre, Goregaon, Mumbai.

Don’t forget to see our 3 new innovative products of this year during the show.

Also meet all our overseas distributors who are coming all the way from various countries to celebrate DMI’s 10th anniversary and get a chance to network with all our past DMI students and workshop participants.

Have a great weekend.

Bhargav Mistry

Invitation to all Garment Printers in Ludhiana for Technical Seminar & Workshop by Bhargav Mistry, DMI

February 10, 2016 Leave a comment

GMMSA-Expo

Screen Print India Vikas Yatra (Educational Tour to Promote Screen Printing)

April 25, 2014 3 comments

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to announce that my company Grafica Flextronica who is one of the Knowledge Partners in Screen Print India 2014 Vikas Yatra organised by Aditya Exposition, owners of Screen Print India Exhibition.

Vikas mean progress and progress cannot be possible without Education. So to me this Vikas Yatra in a way can also be called as an Educational Tour.

Along with us there are several reputed companies like EPSON, SERICOL, SKYSCREEN & COLORs. Each of these companies including Grafica will demonstrate unique, high quality award winning screen printed samples which are produced by renowned printers across the globe.

In this Educational Tours visitor will get chance to speak to all these companies technical staff and learn new products and techniques.

Earlier Grafica on its own strength, single handedly conducted more than 25 educational seminars, events and road shows across India to promote screen printing and thereafter through my institute DMI since 1996. Till today more than 1250 professionals have taken training from my institute DMI and more than 3000 printers so far have visited Grafica’s various educational events and road shows in 25 cities across India.

This time we are participating with other industry colleagues which in a way will be beneficial to all visitors because all these companies shall also carry their printed samples which are produced using their products.

The purpose of this Vikas Yatra which I will refer as Educational Tour is:

  • To create awareness about the latest trends in screen printing technology.
  • To promote screen printing industry and technology.
  • To demonstrate new techniques and ideas in screen printing.
  • To update technology and knowledge in screen printing & special effects.

In all these road shows Grafica will carry 100’s of highly creative screen printed samples produced in our in-house and highly professional screen printing institute DMI (Dhirubhai Mistry Institute For Print Education Research & Training).

All those who have missed our DMI workshop can get a chance to see our recent developments and latest trends in screen printing.

Apart from Grafica and DMI’s sample you will also get a chance to see “LIVE DEMO” of DIRECT TO GARMENT DIGITAL PRINTER to print high quality t-shirts & LARGE FORMAT DIGITAL PRINTER also used for PROOFING & POSITIVE OUTPUT using high end RIP SOFTWARE from EPSON.

This tour is open for all professional printers, so don’t miss this opportunity.

Printers from nearby places should also plan to visit this Educational Road Show which will never happen again this year.

I will also be present in all three cities starting today 25th April from Aurangabad, 26th April – Nashik, 28th April – Pune and finally on 29th April – Mumbai.

So lets meet and exchange ideas.

See you soon…

Good Bye and have a knowledgeful weekend ahead…

Bhargav Mistry

Printing Technology Institutes in India should now learn a lesson from Clemson University, USA!

January 14, 2014 1 comment

Clemson University, USA

I strongly feel that the printing technology institutes in India should now learn a great lesson from Clemson University, USA, who are using two Grafica’s nano-print plus to teach advanced screen printing process to graphics students.

I salute Patrick Rose, Senior Lecturer of Clemson University, who has taken a commendable initiative to promote advanced screen printing and keep this versatile printing process alive.

The Printing Institutes in India show somewhat step motherly attitude towards ‘screen printing’ process. The syllabus makers and institutes seem to have totally neglected screen printing as if it is an out-dated printing process.

Much against the tremendous advancement taking place in screen printing, I often hear from printing students that the institutes still teach screen printing using out-dated methods. That is exactly why, as a manufacturer of screen printing machines, Grafica has taken the responsibility of imparting education and training to printers and printing technology students through our DMI Institute.

The Department of Graphic Communications, Clemson University, USA, has recently installed 2nd Grafica’s nano-print plus, a semi-automatic screen printing machine which does not require compressor or have any pneumatics inside.

Clemson University, USA Installs 2 Nano-Print plus

As his summer teaching session came to an end, Patrick Rose, Senior Lecturer, Department of Graphic Communications, Clemson University, USA, shares why they invested in two nano-print plus.

What was the objective of installing one more screen printing machine? (While many other institutes still have just small manual screen printing table to teach screen printing):
Both Nano-Print Plus machines replaced two older (1987) machines. We wanted two alike machines for more efficient and consistent teaching.

Why such aggressive educational initiative is needed by investing in technology to teach students?
We have a hands-on intensive program. Although we do not expect students to operate presses later, we want them to have the experience so they can better be managers of people who do operate presses. About 50 students so far since December have used the Nano Plus machine for a 4 colour print.

As an academician what did you like, feature wise, in this machine? Your experience with nano-print plus?
Great experience! I like how quiet they are and the precise nature of their operation. We were looking for a similar size to the machines was replaced. We also wanted a machine that did not require compressed air to operate. We also liked the fact that the screen never tilts, causing the ink to run to one end. The Nano Plus is a unique hybrid of a clamshell and a 2 post pillar type press.

What are your teaching contents?
4 colour process. It is the first printed process colour product our student do- and it is screen printed!

Your views about screen printing … its potential, future and scenario in the US: There will still be screen printing in the future! In the USA screen printed posters and letterpress cards and stationery are becoming quite popular! People want the feel of the texture of screen ink and letterpress impressions. There are also special applications of screen printing for “”functional”” materials used in electrical circuits as well as electroluminescent (EL) displays.

Few tips to bring change in the screen printing industry

February 6, 2013 1 comment

Here are some ‘New Year Resolutions’. I am sure the industry will see “A BIG CHANGE” if these ‘Resolutions’ are followed.

Here we go…
1. Adopt automation to improve productivity.
2. Pay attention towards value addition whether its graphics or garments because that’s where the profit lies.
3. Screen is the heart of printing, so do not compromise on screen making equipment, emulsions, mesh & chemicals.
4. Use only polyurethane squeegee rubbers and sharpen the edge regularly to decrease ink consumption.
5. Maximise the use of UV Inks where ever possible (for graphics, industrial and commercial screen printers).
6. Maximise the use of Water Based Inks, PVC FREE – Phthalate Free Plastisol Inks (for garment screen printers)
7. Use only Yellow Polyester Mesh of high quality.
8. For halftone screen printing use dual-cure photopolymers emulsions and for better sharpness and quick exposure use SBQ photopolymer emulsions.
9. STOP wooden frames and use only aluminium frames
10. Work towards standardisation.
11. Pay attention to avoid. rejections and reduce wastage
12. Spend money for education and training.
13. Visit all printing related exhibitions to keep pace with the latest trends & technology.
14. Have concern for environment, safety, energy savings and other cost saving measures.

My message to screen printers who are into job work:
* Pay more attention towards quality and productivity and do not buy cheaper and substandard raw materials, because today labour, electricity and overheads are more expensive than those cheaper raw materials. Purchase raw materials and develop vendors/supplier who can provide better service and knowledge.

My message to all garment manufacturers who are having in-house printing unit:
* Use only high quality inks and forget ink cost, because the ratio of ink cost is very negligible considering the entire production cost of garment, even if you buy the most expensive ink. Because print sells…

Remember, to bring change in the industry, we need to change.

Bhargav

Last chance to register for Print Summit 2012 – DO NOT MISS

February 16, 2012 1 comment

Hi Everyone,

Progress in business cannot be achieved overnight and it also cannot be achieved only by investing in new technology, visiting exhibitions, attending technical seminars etc.

To progress in business its equally important to learn from India’s most successful entrepreneurs of printing industry, how they built their multi million empire from scratch.

Here is rare chance to meet and listen to many such successful printers.

Also get a chance to meet large print buyers from corporate sectors who will explain what are the current trends and requirements in Printing & Packaging to meet the global challenges.

Even its important to know from them what they expect from you as a print supplier.

YOU CANNOT MISS THIS PRINT SUMMIT 2012 which is a rare opportunity no matter how big or small printer you are.

Bhargav

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