Take Off Those Training Wheels

Take Off Those Training Wheels

AS OWNERS OF WIDE-FORMAT print shops, we’re constantly being challenged with the turnover of employees in the workforce. At Picture This Wraps and Graphics, we’ve found several tools that are very helpful when onboarding new employees and offering continued education to our existing staff. Our business operations are based on team culture. We believe it’s best for each employee to know as much as possible about their fellow team members’ duties.

Graphic designers and production personnel need to be familiar with, and sometimes be a part of, the installation process so they can get a better understanding of how and why certain wrap elements are difficult to install. Once a designer spends half a day competing a difficult and unnecessary installation due to a design flaw, they’re sure to help find a solution and correct it in the future before it becomes a consistent problem.

Training courses are an extremely helpful resource for our management team. We send them to various three-day professional vinyl wrap training courses offered by manufacturers like 3M and Avery or certified training businesses like Geek Wraps. This allows our managers to understand the fundamentals and observe how experienced instructors do their training. They now have a better understanding of what should be expected of our installers at various skill levels, how much time a job should take, what is acceptable, and more.

A personal favorite training session of mine is the United Application Standards Group (UASG) University online program. UASG has put together a vast number of videos that help not only our installers but the rest of the team understand all aspects of vinyl wraps. You can start with the basics, like learning the differences between media types that are available and how to hold a squeegee. Students watch a short, informative video clip and then answer multiple choice questions to help ensure the viewer properly understands the content of each video. This allows management personnel to see who is watching the videos and retaining the information. We’ve also started implementing video recordings of important training we provide such as operational procedures for printers, laminators, and cutters. These videos can be found on our local server any time and offer a reminder to a new hire or current employee who needs help.

Last, but not least, is Justin Pate’s The Wrap Institute. It’s a must-subscribe for any professional wrap shop. The quality and quantity of information you receive with their $150 annual fee is amazing. He has a database that allows you to search almost any topic you might be having challenges with, especially installation. Justin’s team also has sections dedicated to various helpful tools, equipment, and software for the wrap industry.

If any of our team members wish to learn more in any category of printing we’re eager to help. We’ve even created designated areas to resemble training stations at professional training courses. We have practice stations set up for many installation scenarios ranging from wet installs, a smooth interior with a top lip and 90-degree angles, exterior and brick walls, and trailer sides with imitation rivets. Our team members are also encouraged to keep up with the industry publications we keep around the office (like Big Picture magazine), take scrap material home to practice on, and join industry groups on social media.

The newest addition to our helpful tool list is the soon-to-be-released book Branded Not Blanded by Dan Antonelli, owner of KickCharge Creative. I find Dan to be the leader in the wrap industry for proper branding, wrap designs, and overall consumer psychology. I’ve completed an advanced order of his hardback and will be sharing it with the design and production team soon.

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