Final quality control — simple but critical.

Let’s say that you’ve taken care of the three critical elements commonly considered essential for beautiful, lasting, all-round impressive prints to wow your customer:

  1. Artwork: You made sure that the artwork was top notch. No cheap, poorly-rendered, crappy artwork risking come-back prints from the get-go.
  2. Screens: You made sure that the screens had the right mesh count for the job, were properly tensioned, properly coated, and properly exposed. No below-par screens to mess up the top-notch artwork.
  3. Inks: You made sure that you only used a consistently good-quality ink because, as you know, cheaper ink is cheaper for a reason. Any comebacks because of a cheap ink and what might have been a “saving” of a few dollars in ink price becomes a more-than-a-few-dollars cost in re-doing the job and managing the customer’s anger.

So, quality assured? Well, not so fast!

Quality failure at the end can offset all the quality control at the beginning.

There’s also the less-obvious 4th critical element in ensuring that the customer is wowed by your beautiful, lasting, all-round impressive print that will enhance your reputation and bring more business. There’s the final quality control between the Tee emerging at the end of the drier and going into the box. It’s the activity of folding and packing, but it needs to be more than that — it has to be the final step in quality control. Why? Because in spite of having ensured great artwork, screens, and inks, things can go wrong on the press and in the dryer and not be noticed, particularly in high-pressure situations.

If the Tee is not perfectly positioned on the press, the print will not be perfectly positioned. If the dryer malfunctions, prints may not be cured properly. And the way to catch these things is to ensure that the “folding and packing” activity is the “final quality check, folding, and packing” activity. And the way to encourage it to work properly is to pay a reward for every quality failure caught at this final stage. A few bucks spent to prevent quality failures from reaching the customer, could save many bucks later from comebacks.