Increasing Install Efficiency

Pre-staging graphics can lead to faster installs.

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As I have gotten older (and who hasn’t?), I have learned that I need to work smarter but not necessarily harder. My squeegee isn’t moving any faster, so how do I get my jobs completed quicker than I used to? It’s called being more efficient while I am installing my graphics. Being efficient in my eyes is being able to formulate a “plan of attack” for the project of the day and make it work with a minimal of wasted effort.

I find that if I take a few extra minutes to get all of my graphics, tools, prep materials, and layout together, it will save me time on the install. When it comes to tools, I make sure that I have everything I need in my tool pouch, including extra knives and squeegees, and up at my working level so I don’t have to get down unless I am ready to do so. Something else that I do on almost every install is to pre-stage my graphic panels. When I pre-stage my graphics, I will take them and roll them into individual panels and put them in the general area where they will be used. When I do this, I avoid wasting time running around the shop looking for the next panel to install. The best way I have to illustrate this is when I am working on a semitrailer.

I typically install a 48′ trailer by myself in one day. The way I go about the install is that I set up my ladders and expandable walk board at the rear of one side of the trailer so I can work going forward. I know that once I am up on my walk board, I can install three 48″-wide panels at a time before I have to move my ladders.

If you can figure out a way that works for you where you are not adding a bunch of running around time, or unneeded movements (i.e. extra trips up and down ladders), you will become more efficient with your installs too, and make more money in the long run. Here’s how I go about it.

* Click on the pictures below to see the How-To details.

** From the 2015 issue of WRAPS magazine.

Mike Zick

Mike Zick is the owner of Mike Zick Installations, Inc. in Arlington, Texas. 817-456-2840. He has been in the sign and graphics business since 1989 and had his own  installation company since 2001. He is a 3M Preferred Installer, Lowen Certified Installer, and a 3M Graphics Authorized Trainer.

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