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The Hidden Value of Quality Thread

We all know that saving money and reducing the bottom line is a must for any business these days. For many machine embroidery businesses, one perceived way to reduce costs is to purchase a less expensive thread. The theory is that less money spent on purchasing thread will result in less cost for the business, which will then result in greater profit. The reality, however, is that the old saying “You get what you pay for” is an old saying for a reason. Inexpensive or “cheap” thread may seem like a good bargain on the surface, but when you add up the costs associated with running the thread, it becomes apparent that inexpensive thread isn’t always the bargain it’s cracked up to be.


Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that you own one embroidery machine with one head. Your embroidery machine has a manufacturer approved speed, which is the optimum speed for quality embroidery and maximum production. If you have a thread that can handle being run at the manufacturer approved speed, you will be getting the maximum production and profit out of your machine. If, however, your thread breaks or frays when run at this speed, you have to slow the machine down, which increases the time it takes to stitch a design and decreases the rate of production.

If your thread runs well at 350 to 500 stitches per minute, but your machine has the capability of running at 700 to 1000 stitches a minute, you’ve sacrificed half your production capability to save a few dollars on a spool of thread. Imagine if you could find a thread that would run smoothly when your machine was running at 700 to 1000 stitches a minute. The time it takes to be complete a job would be cut in half and your production output would be doubled. A shorter production time means you can produce more items in your work day, and an increased output means you ultimately have more items to sell, which leads to increased profit. A single, additional embroidered item can pay for an entire cone of thread, not just the additional cost of the cone, and certainly more than the relatively small amount of thread used in the design.

Please keep in mind that this is a very simple example. The above math does not take into account things like PF&D (personal, fatigue, and delay) or color changes, or machine maintenance. Those things can have an impact on how much you produce and how well your thread runs. In this example, we’re assuming a perfect world, where the only variable is the quality of the thread that is being run.

When you look at the math, you can quickly see that a quality thread actually generates additional income instead of being an expense. When you purchase a cheap thread, you’re really taking a gamble. You may get lucky and find that the thread works well, but you may also find that your “bargain” thread isn’t much of a bargain as you spend a lot of time and lose a lot of money adjusting to the problems the thread causes.
Kristine Shreve is Director of Marketing and Tom Chambers is Director of I.T. and Research and Development at EnMart, on of T-ShirtForums Preferred Vendors. Visit EnMart online at www.myenmart.com
EnMart also shares information about embroidery through the EmbroideryTalk blog (http://blog.myenmart.com) and about sublimation through the SubliStuff blog (www.sublistuff.com).
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