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Gandy Ink: Head of the Class In School Apparel

(February 2007) posted on Thu Feb 01, 2007

Learn how the company grew from a small job shop to a prospering specialty decorator serving elementary, junior high, and high schools.

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By Lori Leaman

Quality checks begin in Gandy's stock room, which houses up to 150,000 garments, including long-sleeved shirts, short-sleeved shirts, sweats, and hoodies. For each print job, a QA employee completes the first count of garments before they are sent to the printing press. Once the garments reach the press, another QA employee checks the artwork and verifies that all noted changes were made in the art department. At every printing press is an employee responsible for loading garments, an employee who unloads printed garments, and another who folds the garments. They also constantly monitor the printing process and the quality of the apparel, ensuring that printed pieces are crisp, clear, and smudge-free, and that the final count is correct. The printed garments are then packed in a box and sent to the shipping department, where another QA employee verifies the work order, count, and shipping address.

Embroidery accounts for 15% of Gandy Ink's work. The company now uses embroidery machines manufactured by ZSK and is equipped with six units ranging in size from six to eight heads (Figure 6). Two-head machines come in handy for producing samples. Two in-house digitizers, equipped with Wilcom software, round out the embroidery department. The embroidery department also follows the company's QA program.

Whatever it takes

It should be no surprise to learn that the staff at Gandy Ink will do whatever it takes to get a job done correctly and on time. The company's development of specialized job-tracking software and the implementation of a QA program demonstrate that quality is key. Some printing operations accept a 1% or 2% error rate. Phil Gandy doesn't accept errors.

"We take every order to heart, and if we do make a mistake, we'll make it right no matter what it takes, and we'll make it right as fast as possible," he says. "I feel like if you say you're going to accept a 2% or 3% error rate, you'll end up accepting more than that."


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