7 best practices to manage printed graphics installations efficiently
Jul 2, 2021
Managing signage and graphic installations can be a hell of a task. Installation project managers have to juggle countless tasks at the same time. They are in charge of finding a new contractor if the installer cancels the job, communicating all customer changes, checking the quality of work, and ensuring the customer is happy. Coping with all of these challenges while switching between multiple docs, calling dozens of people per day, and scratching your head about how to squeeze into tight deadlines can really drain your time and energy!
But don’t despair. Installation management software can save nerves, time, and resources for both installation project managers and graphic installation contractors. Let’s find out the main reasons why installation project management is so hard to execute, and most importantly, find ways to optimise the whole signage installation process with a single installation management software tool.
Why managing signage installations is such a hassle
To be honest, every process that includes remote team management, design of a unique product, and logistics across a city, a country, or even the globe could turn into a disaster without appropriate planning and sharp execution. And the most challenging part is to manage everything manually when automation tools are not available.
Managing the installation project, many installation managers rely on software tools for designers’ collaboration like Zeppelin or standard project management apps like Trello. Nevertheless, the installation process entails many specific factors that make traditional design and team management tools a poor choice. Let’s look at the most crucial of those factors.
Last-minute project changes
Creative work can be hard to finalise. Even when everyone had their say, there is always a chance of last-minute changes. Signage and graphics artwork seems never to be perfect, so changes may come at the very last minute. Even if you get the ready-made designs, the clients can change requirements for signage size, materials, or specific installation conditions making the workflow much more complicated.
Another struggle to handle is the cancellation of signage and graphics installations even after both sides, the client and the contractor, shook their hands. When dealing with many projects, you may often work with freelancers who may cancel previously agreed installation jobs, being unavailable to complete them on time due to bad estimation of their capacity.
Graphic installations depend heavily on logistics. You have to deal with multiple moving parts, not standard cargo sizes, and strict schedules. Picking up all materials and delivering them to an installation point, managing different kinds of material deliveries for each spot – this process can become a stumbling block to a successful campaign.
Working with multiple subcontractors
Successful Installation project management requires a lot of people working to the same goal. Every task on the list requires a specific colleague, contractor or team of installers to do their part of the job. Managing all the parties at the same time requires a lot of effort and can be overwhelming.
Often installers have to roll out signage across a country, a continent, or even globally, wherever the client has stores. Different time zones across countries or even parts of the world where you need to install the signage require strict alignment of time and accurate execution.
Seven main steps to resolve issues related to signage installations management
Considering all the challenges that arise due to complicated team management and multi-layer installation project management, printing companies and signage installation providers are constantly searching for a solution that can keep everyone aligned. This $multi-billion industry cannot skip any opportunity to improve legacy processes with modern and technological solutions. Here’s advice for where to start reinventing graphic installations to manage everything more efficiently.
1. Analyse your current graphic installations workflow to find weak spots that cause bottlenecks for a team. Installation project managers often face communication gaps with installers, making ten phone calls with different people, explaining ten times the same requirements simply to book someone for a job. Even when you’ve found the subcontractor and the project is already in progress, updates are very slow to get back to you. As a result, deadlines can be missed.
2. Choose a single platform for communication with everyone: designers, installation managers, installers, suppliers, sub-contractors and customers. To enable this, you have a choice of ready-made solutions. However, try to keep an eye on specific signage and graphics installation management software. For example, Vism, a signage project management tool, can help you organise your graphics and signage installation without hassle. It combines all the features you need to find available installers from your network, share job information, get completion photos and signatures, and collaborate with your teams much more efficiently.
3. Minimise unnecessary interruptions in the workflow by accurately planning the process. For example, you can avoid stocking your graphics in a warehouse before installing them by scheduling an accurate time of arrival to the installation location.
4. Clearly define roles and responsibilities between team members to know who is responsible for a particular part of the graphics installation. Also, prioritise tasks based on their importance for the final project’s success. As a successful installation unites so many links like design, printing, logistics, and the installation itself, one person cannot manually track each of these steps. Putting a responsible manager at every stage can exceed an already scarce budget. The solution is to work with responsible and experienced contractors for each role and to track their progress with the industry-relevant tool.
5. Ensure the deadlines for each project stage are constantly updated and visible to every job team member, including subcontractors. An interactive job calendar will seal the deal here. You can track the workload of your in-house teams to allocate jobs better and understand when your team might be overloaded, delegating work to subcontractors before it becomes an issue.
6. Build relationships with installers based on trust and mutual respect. They will pay back with loyalty and closer alignment with your business goals. Interactive communication within one platform with your team and installers will add this personal touch and become the marker of trust. You will eliminate the necessity to switch between emails, social media, chats, and countless phone calls by just putting everyone in the same chat synchronised with the availability calendar, task manager, and storage for graphics.
7. Provide ongoing and relevant feedback to installers to recognise their achievements and together find ways to improve. Also, provide them with the opportunity to give their feedback on working with you in return. In such a way, you will create a feedback loop where all opinions are taken into account, which guarantees continuous improvement of your signage and graphics installations.
Even though installing printed graphics might be challenging and overwhelming at times, it’s really satisfying to see the results of your hard work afterwards. Customers, colleagues, even people passing by all recognise the high quality of service, that is instantly visible. That’s why at Vism, we aim at helping you to become the best installation provider with simplified workflow.