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10 Key Points to Remember About Die Cutting Processes and Tools

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article | 10 Key Points to Remember About Die Cutting Processes and ToolsBroadly speaking, die cutting is a machine process that allows you the opportunity to create something that has exactly the same shape and dimension every time, although that description doesn’t really do justice to how versatile the process can be.

When it comes to the die cutting tools needed for the job in hand you might want to see products from SBL, for instance, in order to get an idea of what is available and what is possible from a production point of view.

Here are some salient points to note about the die cutting process and the tools you are likely to be using.

Die cutting machines explained

Die cutting machines come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and that is appropriate when you consider that they are being tasked with creating all sorts of bespoke specifications themselves.

The digital age has seen the die cutting machine evolve and a distinct advantage offered by this sort of machinery is that it offers the ability to use a software program in order to browse previous templates and switch easily between them depending on what you want to create.

The die cutting process involves a multitude of cutting options –

Through Cutting

You might see through cutting also referred to as metal-to-metal die or through cutting and what it does is provide the ability to cut through every part of the product in one go.

The need for perforation

Another popular feature you will find on a modern die cutting machine is the option to perforate.

Perforating involves creating a number of punched-in holes that allow you to secure the die cut design in the right place on the chosen stock material.

A key feature is that although the design does not become completely separated from the relevant stock material it can still be detached with ease using the perforated lines.

Working with adhesive lined materials

Another specialist option that is possible with a die cutting machine is to use an option known as kiss cutting.

Kiss cutting allows the operator to cut a custom design through the face and adhesive layer but stopping short of cutting through the backing material layer. The end result is that the die cut design can then be easily removed from the backing layer, which remains intact.

When you need a fold line

It can often be the case that a design you are working on calls for a crease or fold to be applied and the creasing option on your machine should enable you to achieve this aim.

This is different from scoring in that you end up with material that has been reshaped to produce a bending bulge that faces inward between the two parallel stress points you have created.

The creasing process is helpful because it minimizes stress levels on the material when it is subsequently folded.

Leaving a good impression

When you need more than a fold line the answer will be to use a scoring feature.

You may not wish to make a cut that runs all the way through the material you are working on and scoring offers a solution to that requirement. It works by leaving a die impression, or alternatively, an indent or partial cut that is applied at one single chosen stress point.

Different types of die cutting options-

Flatbed for thicker materials

As you would expect from machinery that is designed to be as versatile as possible and offer a solution to many different manufacturing challenges there are several types of die cutting services that you can call upon.

Although commonly referred to as flatbed die cutting you might also see this service referred to as steel rule die cutting, and it is a process that involves using a flatbed die cutting press combined with a customized steel rule so that you can convert a material into the custom shape and design that you want.

You will find that a flatbed die cutting process will often be suggested when you are working with thicker materials.

Converting materials without dies

A digital die cutter offers the distinct advantage of faster production times and low manufacturing costs without compromising on precision or quality.

Using lasers that are guided and controlled by software on your computer the process can deploy blades and various tool bits so that all the necessary creases, cuts, and scores are applied as quickly and efficiently as possible.

When accuracy and precision is a key requisite

There will probably be tasks that you want to complete where a high degree of accuracy and precision is vital to the success of the production process.

Rotary die cutting provides that solution and the fabrication process involves using a cylindrical die that is mounted onto a rotary press to convert a material that could be flexible and delicate.

If you are looking for a die cutting service that delivers a high degree of accuracy that is combined with fine precision, a rotary die will help you achieve that aim and still perform well when tasked with high-volume production runs.

Working with many different materials

The world of manufacturing involves many unique and diverse production challenges and it also requires an ability to be able to work with a great variety of different materials.

The good news is that the die cutting process is perfectly capable of letting you work with all sorts of different materials such as plastic, paper, foam, various fabrics, wood and others besides.

As you would expect, the type of material that you need to work with will be key to the type of die cutting process that you follow in order to achieve the right outcome.

Versatility and customized capabilities aptly describe the die cutting machinery and tools that are at your disposal and it is highly likely that you will be able to find a manufacturing solution to the challenge you have been presented with once your design takes shape.

Many manufacturers would struggle to produce their products with being able to call upon their die cutter.

5 Tips for Successful Project Management

StrategyDriven Project Management Article | 5 Tips for Successful Project ManagementProject management in business can be challenging and so hiring someone who knows what they’re doing and having the right tools in place can make a big difference between your project being a success or a flop. Managing a budget, resources, and the team takes some serious organizational skills so if you want your business project to be a success, here are 5 tips to help you along the way.

Making a Solid Plan

Before you can manage a project, there needs to be a set plan in place that identifies the role of every team member and the goals for the project. It should be both clear and short. Having a solid plan for your project provides you with something to measure your success from or to change tactics if what you’re currently doing isn’t working against your plan. Planning ensures clarity for all team members and can help bring you back to the main goals of a project during the busiest times.

Hire a Project Manager

If you don’t already have a project manager in your team, now is the time to get one. A project manager is trained to know how to run projects in the most efficient way. A project manager knows how to choose a team, explore their strengths and weaknesses and use these to deliver a task to each team member. They can work alongside the team to reach the goals of the project and your business. There are countless benefits of hiring a project manager for your business.

Communicate

Within any project, communication is key to avoiding mistakes and to achieve clarity throughout the team, as well as with any clients. Effective communication must take place often between your business and clients, so they are always up-to-date. The project manager should keep in contact with all team members, regularly checking in to ensure they understand their role and are working well towards their deadline. One of the biggest failures within a project is poor communication.

Use a Project Management Software

Project management software is used by companies worldwide and is there to make your project that much easier. Rather than saving file after file and using several communication platforms to speak to team members, project management software allows for everything in one place. The Digital Project Manager has compiled an expert review on the top 10 project management software that is available for your business. Within this, you can check features, price, and usability of each software.

Evaluate

This is one that many businesses forget yet evaluating can make a big difference in how you run your project next time. We cannot improve if we do not evaluate. Use your project as a learning tool. Review what went well and what didn’t and how these mistakes could have been avoided or fixed quickly. Ask team members for their opinions too, as this allows for a total evaluation.

Successful project management is all about clarity and communicating well together. Hiring a project manager will ensure that all your projects are a success.

How To Create A Good Relationship With Your Suppliers

Suppliers provide the crucial goods and services that you require to successfully run a business. This is why it is important to create a good relationship with them. Often businesses can fail because they haven’t worked on establishing a good working relationship with their suppliers. It’s best to think about what each supplier offers rather than the cost. Of course, you need to think about managing costs overall however building a good relationship and having an excellent level of understanding between you and your supplier is just as important.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article | How To Create A Good Relationship With Your Suppliers

Suppliers can provide quality materials and help you acquire what you need. If you have great communication levels between you they will often have a quick turn around. Meaning that Gasket Seal that you need pronto to complete a job is more likely to arrive promptly. In order to meet deadlines and targets, you will find that you sometimes have to ask them to go the extra mile and having a relationship with a supplier can go a long way into making this possible. Just like when creating a client base, you need to create a solid record of professional and timely behavior combined with the added personal touch.

Have a look below at some of the ways you can help to create a good relationship with your suppliers:

Pay On Time

You have to remember that your supplier is also a business, and this means that they want to earn money and get paid just like you do. If you know that you might have problems meeting your obligations, make sure this is worked into the contract you have between you before signing. It’s always best to be upfront when experiencing problems with payment. So, give your supplier a call as soon as you know of a problem and reach out to them in order to arrange a payment date. This is a much better working practice than leaving it and waiting for them to chase you for payment of overdue accounts.

Make An Effort To Know Them

It’s far to easy to keep things online and via email nowadays however phone calls and face-to-face go a long way in business and should be considered as important. Although everything can be done with emails it’s best to get to know your suppliers and catch up once in a while. Try visiting their office or inviting them to any company functions. Coffee or lunch is a great none pressured way to network with existing and potential suppliers, it enables you to build a personal rapport.

Make It Easy For Them

You should aim to give your suppliers adequate lead time and always communicate your needs. Crises can’t always be avoided, however, your suppliers won’t appreciate your custom if your their client that always rings last minute for supplies. Your suppliers aren’t going to be able to anticipate your needs although on occasions they may be able to supply at last minute.  What you order may need time to prepare, and sometimes they need to order in parts themselves. Work with suppliers closely and make sure they understand what your future needs may be. The more they know the better.

These are just three ways that you can help to create a good relationship with your suppliers, do have any others that you can share in the comments section below?

Logistics For Your Business

It can become somewhat of a conundrum. Working out how to get your products from the manufacturers, to the storage, and then from that warehouse to the customer. All of the logistics need to be worked out and in play pretty early on in your business planning. Setting up your website, working on getting finances sorted, they are all part and parcel of a startup too. If you are selling a physical product then you’re going to need your logistical situation setup or at least well thought out and ready to go.

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Before we take a look at the different points that go into logistics it is important to know how it will impact your business and what it actually is.

Many people get logistics confused with supply-chain. It is a part of it, but the two terms aren’t interchangeable. Logistics is the movement of goods and supply chain is that movement – however, it is also sourcing, cost of goods, relationship management and everything else.

“Leaders win through logistics. Vision, sure. Strategy, yes. But when you go to war, you need to have both toilet paper and bullets at the right place at the right time. In other words, you must win through superior logistics.”
 
Tom Peters – Rule #3: Leadership Is Confusing As Hell
Fast Company, March 2001

Priorities

It is something that most of the tie you don’t even think about. Because we are so used to having our deliveries the next working day, or same day. And when we go into a shop, we expect the products to be on the shelves. But behind the scenes, there are a lot of logistics in play. It has to be a well-oiled machine. When you are a customer, you get irritated when things aren’t available when you think they should be. When you are the owner – you need to make sure everything is where it should be.

Speed and cost will influence each other, and your customers too – what matters more? Speed or cost?

Planning

The whole process relies heavily on your ability to plan production and demand. You will know that you need 6 weeks for X product to arrive from China, and 3 weeks from mainland EU – so you can opt for a lower price for a longer shipping time. And you will then have a longer lead-in time for the product launch and release.

Process

You are going to want to try out a few different types of freight methods. If you have planned correctly, you can choose to have a more extended travel time, slower, but ultimately cheaper way or you have time to find the right contract logistics company for you. Your internal logistics matters here too. How fast can you process orders? Working on the basis that your initial planning has gotten products from manufacturers to your warehouse in good time, you’re ready to ship to customers.

If you are promising a specific shipping date, then you should make sure that you are 100% sure that is what you will be doing. Managing your customer’s expectations is always the aim. The whole logistics process is what will keep your business running smoothly and your customers happy.

3 Reasons Why Your Kitchen Staff Are Underperforming

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article | 3 Reasons Why Your Kitchen Staff Are UnderperformingCustomer wait time is one of the most important metrics in the restaurant industry. You could have everything right, but if the service times are too long, this will eventually play against your establishment. How good your kitchen staff are will have an effect on that, but you could also be making mistakes that are hindering workflow and making things more difficult for them. Here are some of the possible reasons why your staff aren’t performing as well as they should.

Your Kitchen Doesn’t Reflect Your Current Needs

If you’ve bought an old establishment and kept some of the equipment as part of the deal, then it might not fit the current demand. For instance, if your cold room is too small for your current needs, not only will it make things difficult when staff are trying to find things, or go in and out, you could end up facing some health violations because you ran out of space and had to cut corners.

If that is the case, we strongly suggest you invest in a bespoke cold room. This will allow you to build one that will take minimal space in the kitchen while still being efficient. You’ll be able to organise the storage in a way that fits your needs the most. Companies like fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk can build all types of cold rooms and walk-in freezers according to your exact specifications. Look for a provider that can build one that will fit the best within your kitchen’s floor plan.

You’re Using Time Wasting Processes

In many cases, you could get things done much faster if you reconsider some of your processes. For instance, if you only have a few burners available, but have a huge convection oven, you could use the convection oven to cook rice by using rice, water, and foil covered metal containers instead. You shouldn’t be afraid of the freezer either. There will be little difference between a frozen soup base or tomato sauce and a fresh one, so consider cooking more in batches and use the freezer when you can without sacrificing quality.

The Floor is Unsafe

If people don’t feel safe in the kitchen, they will not perform as well. They will constantly be afraid of causing an accident or seriously injuring themselves. This is why your kitchen’s layout has to be organised with safety in mind first and foremost.

With an ergonomic design, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of movement your employees have to make. Proper lighting and ventilation are essential as well. No one wants to work in a smelly, smoke filled kitchen. Your employees have to be able to see what they’re doing as well to avoid accidents.

Improving your kitchen’s productivity comes down to a few simple principles. Make sure that you take a look at how your kitchen is designed and look for possible pain points. And don’t be afraid to ask your staff for recommendations either.