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Quick Tips: Using a Journal to Keep Jobs and Equipment Running Smoothly

In this day and age, where it seems like we are living in front of a screen at all times, here is a tip that may seem almost antiquated: Keep a journal near your equipment to write down notes and help keep track of jobs and settings. Yes, a physical journal with paper pages. Really.

Quick Tips: Using a Journal to Keep Jobs and Equipment Running Smoothly

By Bryan O'Donnell

 

In this day and age, where it seems like we are living in front of a screen at all times, here is a tip that may seem almost antiquated: Keep a journal near your equipment to write down notes and help keep track of jobs and settings. Yes, a physical journal with paper pages. Really.

Dan Bencsik, president of Sellersville, PA-based Bux-Mont Awards and Engraving, recommends keeping a journal next to your laser.

“We keep a journal by the machine and write down our jobs and the settings in it,” Bencsik said. “I may turn it into a spreadsheet in the future, but the journaling of the settings helps to commit it to memory. It also keeps the testing we do in a central point of reference that is easily accessible. In my opinion this is invaluable for honing in the settings on our equipment—and setting ourselves up for success.”

Laser settings aren’t the only use for journals.

David Gross champions the journals for sublimation.

“Maintaining a detailed sublimation journal on all aspects of the business helps keep your experiences organized and comprehensible,” said Gross, who is the president of supplier Condé Systems in Mobile, AL. “From equipment settings to marketing objectives, writing in a journal helps to sift through the clutter of a busy day while also providing a record of your successes, failures, and questions. Most importantly, writing things down when they happen is the key to receiving good tech support. You would be surprised at how many problems can be quickly solved with good information. Often just documenting an issue helps you to determine, and often resolve, the problem at hand.

Gross also offers some tips on using journals for sublimation that can be applied to other processes in your shop:

  • Log each print job’s transfer details including software settings, equipment settings, and transfer techniques. This is the best way to ensure consistency, minimize production waste, and get to the bottom of future problems.
  • Use your smart phone to take photos of error messages on your equipment and problems with substrates.
  • Keep your transfer instructions up to date and when you master a product, document in your own words what works. Use that as the standard for training others.
  • Document marketing questions about pricing, target markets, and more. You're more likely to follow up on these topics if you write them down.

Want to go the extra mile? Check your suppliers’ sites for a sublimatible notebook for sublimation documentation and a laserable journal for your laser system. 

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