We virtually sat down with ROQ.US's Automation Solution Expert, Rob Welch, to answer a few of our most-commonly-asked questions from those currently working from a manual-operated shop and from those new to the screen printing field.
This topic is all about the automatic differences you'll experience after switching/going to an automatic press. While there are many more to mention, we kept the questions lean to illicit lean responses, so feel free to contact us with any questions you may still have.
ROQ.US: What are the top 3 of the biggest differences businesses recognize when they make the transition from manual to an automated setup? Automation Solution Expert Rob Welch: Labor Costs. Setting up jobs on an auto is incredibly faster. This brings your setup and labor down, which in-turn, allows you to lower your prices for your customers. With the increase in production speed from let's say, 200-300 shirts a day manually, to 500-800+ an hour on an auto, you are dramatically cutting down your per-unit labor cost and you are able to pass that savings onto your customers, in-turn, increasing total sales.
Bigger and better work! With a manual, you might need to sub out high-color work because you either can’t take on that job because the set ups are too expensive for your customer or that your manual is simply not capable of doing the job. With an auto, you can get in the business of saying "yes" to your clients no matter how big the job is because your turn around time is fast and your set ups are even faster.
Quality of Life: When you are pulling a squeegee all day, everyday, for weeks, months, and even years on end, that takes a toll on your body. With an auto, it’s just loading and unloading shirts, which is far less damaging to your body than pushing white plastisol through a screen manually.
With increased productivity, that means that you don’t have to work 8,10,12 hour days to get the jobs done. You get to spend more time either with friends and family or working on growing your business instead of being chained to it. ROQ.US: What are the top 3 obstacles that shops experience that hold them back from switching to an automatic press and how can they overcome these perceived roadblocks?
Automation Solution Expert Rob Welch: A lot of the time, it is space concerns. There are so many people printing in their garage or living rooms and they think they can’t fit an auto in there. We actually thought of that, and is why we released the ROQ Fit this year, which is an auto press a little over 11’ in diameter, and the base of which can fit through a standard-sized door. This allows anyone to have an auto in their garage or home and start ROQ’n!
Sometimes it’s deciding if there is enough work coming in to justify taking the next step. Once you stop pulling a squeegee 40+ hours a week, then you free up a ton of time to work on marketing your company and finding new clients. A lot of the time, the work will find you once you have the ability to take it on and turn it around quickly. The word gets out!
There can be financial concerns. “An auto is too expensive for me.” It’s true that automatics cost more than manuals. We have found that time and time again this is a knee-jerk reaction but an understandable one. When we help our partners break down the return on investment and help them to see how much their labor costs go down and their profit goes up, it becomes crystal-clear that taking the step to automation makes total sense.
ROQ.US: Why is now the best time for shops to make the upgrade to automation?
Automation Solution Expert Rob Welch: Automation helps you do more with fewer people. It allows for shops, that had to downsize their labor force due to COVID-19, maintain their revenue stream, if not increase it. Also, knowing that when all the events that were rescheduled and bands that postponed their tours are all going to be coming back in full swing, now is the time to take advantage of discounted equipment and buying when the economy is lower, knowing that you are getting an amazing deal, and will be ready when the wave of work hits you. We invite you to tune in to our next episode of the #ROQShopTalk Podcast on the ROQ Eco & the Power of Automation for Screen Printers, featuring Danny Gruninger of Denver Print House & ROQ.US’s own Sales & Consulting Expert Thomas Shaw, coming out tomorrow! For more information on how automation can exponentially increase your operation or to ask additional questions, please email Rob at email@example.com or call 87-ROQITNOW (1-877-674-8669).