About 10 years ago, I met a man named Simon Vick.  Simon owns Vick’s Cleaners in Kinston, NC.  I didn’t know it then, but it would be quite a few years before I would work at his plant.  Over the next few years, I would have occasion to meet up with Simon 2 or 3 more times at the Clean Show and the Mid-Atlantic gig in North Carolina. It was then that Simon hired me to work with his son Tim, to whom he was passing the baton.  I remember how he told me “You’ll like Tim.”  Hmmm, ya think?

Simon did a few somewhat unusual things at his plant.  Some of you have heard of this.  Some of you may also do this.  Simon paid his pressers a salary.  They had it pretty good!  But under the new regime, with Tim in charge, this wasn’t going to work.  Tim had his sights set on different goals.  Tim needed to do things a lot differently than Dad did and he and I worked together to make this happen.  But what Tim and I do together is one thing, what he does on his own, after I’m gone is another thing, entirely.  But what he has been able to accomplish, along with tools that the Tailwind System provides, has been remarkable and it is for that reason that
I am very proud to introduce him as this year’s Tailwind Systems Manager of the Year.  He is a most worthy recipient!

Throughout 2015, he would call me, every few months or so, and it was always great to hear his progress report.  He has diligently used FlightPlan for Profits, since day one and gets among the best numbers in the business.  When I was last at Vick’s, in October, I noticed a report page from FlightPlan, framed above his desk.  He told me, “that was the first day that I achieved our productivity goals, so I framed it.”  He now attains his goals, daily.  This is quite a feat.  In a small shop, in a small town, with a small number of pieces, it isn’t easy to cut labor $500 per month.  Tim religiously uses Tailwind management tools and saves 7 times that, every month!  Tim wrote this on the Tailwind Facebook page:

Tailwind systems is greamoy16framet! Don came to our plant and saved us nearly $1000 per week! His system really works and his expertise in managing labor has changed our business forever!

 Tim documented his experience in transforming a company in an article that he wrote for a local trade publication.  He lived and breathed the daily grind of doing what was right, in spite of the challenges, hard work and resistance that he encountered.

“As my father is slowly transitioning our 115 year old family business over to me, we brought in a consultant. We wanted to see if we could regain profits through production and management since business is down and no new business is coming through the doors. We brought in Don Desrosiers. Don helped save us money through managing our production and our pressers more closely.  Don showed me how to monitor and manage production, put this information in a computer program that he created, (FlightPlan for Profits) and now, on a daily basis, I am using his software. This software is a MUST HAVE for any owner/manager. You can see and cut out a lot of things that is costing your company real money.

On the first day we looked at how well my crew could produce. My employees proved to us the numbers that they could produce and they all exceeded our expectations! I was being shown a different way to manage production than I was used to. I took his concept and ran with his ideas. He showed us the amount of money we were leaving on the table, so he made suggestions.

The new strategy was ALL about managing our production and the employees to make a bigger profit margin. I would do it all over again the same way if I had to. I required each department to produce the numbers I was asking of them (30 pieces per hour per operator in my dry cleaning finishing department and 50 shirts per hour in laundry. I cut at least 75 hours off of my payroll in the beginning! Now we are running with the efficiency that we were looking for since our BIG change.

I have always heard “you can’t grow if you won’t change.”

From this whole experience I have learned how to manage the production numbers in a whole new way. There isn’t a job that I can’t do in our plant. I sure am glad that I have been through what I have, to have the knowledge and experience I have today. From Don I learned what commitment means. I learned how to press, gain respect of all of my employees, and make our company more profitable by managing by the processing numbers more efficiently. My experience with Don has made me a better leader, manager, owner, and person. Today, we are saving about 50 hours a week off of payroll from using his ideas and strategies. That’s a huge savings! Our production cost in laundry has dropped more than .30 cents per piece. Our production cost per dry cleaning piece has dropped more than .50 cents per item.

Using Don, was one of the best things that I could have ever done. He showed us a way to increase our profit margin when no new business was coming through the doors.”

Tim Vick is a very worthy recipient of the 2016 Tailwind Systems Manager of the Year and urge you to join me in congratulating him.  He has received a custom-made desk clock, an official certificate documenting his accomplishment and my enduring admiration for a job well done. He can be reached at