A little over two months ago we decided to relocate to Boulder, Colorado. We had outgrown our workshop in the Pennsylvania countryside and felt a metropolitan area would better serve both the company and its employees.
The move went as smoothly as moves ever do, and we experienced essentially no downtime in production. In fact, the new workspace has already helped us to streamline some previously inefficient processes.
Although we do our best to build our boots based on their order date, this isn't always possible. One thing that needs to be taken into account is what I refer to as "lasting realty." We don't have an infinite number of lasts, so certain sizes are at a premium -- if there is an influx of orders in a certain size we have to push some orders back and brings others forward in order to keep production moving.
Our custom-made lasting racks have really helped in that regard. They allow us to quickly visualize the lasts we have available, which helps us to determine what uppers should be sewn in any given week. An upper that is sewn too far ahead of time runs the risk of being damaged, and an empty last is detrimental to productivity.
Having a larger workshop has also helped our sewing department. Our uppers are closed in batches, and having more floorspace allows our clicked-out uppers to be easily separated based on the thread color that will be used to close them. Every upper requires three different sewing machines, and an ill-timed thread change wastes a lot of time.
Production efficiency is always something we were thinking about, but our new shop has allowed us to carry out ideas that were previously unimplementable. We will always be working to improve our production methodologies, but we're very happy with the strides we have made since relocating to Boulder.