I found a site for a cutting contractor –Todd Rutkin– that you may find interesting because you can watch a film of their cutting room. Now you’ll see why I say that cutting table length can be a direct measure of professionalism in cutting because his tables are long!
Check out the 360 view of this outfit’s cutting room with either the fast connection or dial-up. While you play the video, you can pause and zoom in to see the details of the lays and markers. If you look at the tables, you can see there are lots of small jobs laid out (short lays and shallow plies) which bodes well for all of you. While the company is named Computerized Apparel Cutting, I saw plenty of manual spreaders which are just fine for most of you because most of you are too small to need automated cutting. Also note the set-up of the work space. I’m used to seeing work spaces like this so I won’t notice the same details that you would but still, note that the long tables are waist high (eases lower back pain) and that the work areas are very well-lit. Most of you -and I do mean most- have very poor lighting. Todd has 8 foot shop lights -with reflectors- up and down each table.
Also notice the absence of overhead raceways which is typical of a cutting room. Raceways are a different kind of electrical outlet that is suspended from the ceiling and these are nearly always used in the sewing areas because machines are usually (within reason) in a fixed location. Raceways are safer as one is not tripping over cords on the floors. I just mention that as you should see raceways in a sewing facility. As this is a cutting facility, they’ve suspended the cords from the ceiling (a related raceway concept) for the same reasons. Plus, the cords can be moved out of the way while not in use and you can see the black loops of wiring hanging along the sides of tables from above.
Then from the main page, if you allow your cursor to rest over “fusing” you can get a view of the fusing machine. When hiring a contractor, the size of the bed of their fusing equipment is very important. If a contractor only has hand held irons or home-sewing level pressing equipment, you don’t want to hire them. This outfit is set up for block fusing so they’re showing exactly the kind of equipment I’d expect from a professional facility. By the way, any good contractor takes a great deal of pride in their equipment and will happily show it to you. This company offers a full-range of services from embroidery and fusing, to marking and grading. From the looks of it, this seems to be a fine pre-production facility with all the requisite infrastructure. Has anybody used this company and have some feedback?
Also, do you have any links and resources you can share? Please add those by posting in comments. I’d like to build a nice library of links so help out if you can.