Christmas column 2016

I know that I say this every year, and I’ll say it again.  I can’t believe that its December again and I’m writing my annual Christmas wish list.

Throughout the year, I come up with ideas and sometimes just passing thoughts about how to make a drycleaner’s job easier.  Are we missing some products that would improve quality, service or presentation of what we produce that would make our customers happier or our lives easier.  Sometimes, my dreams come true.  That’s exciting.  Years ago, I asked for an “on-board” computer to measure productivity on shirt units.  Unipress, among others, made that a reality a few years ago.  I wanted a more comfortable environment for pressers and Sankosha, among others, made that a reality.  I never forget about the maintenance guy and as a result, shirt equipment is much easier to work on these days.  Packaging and presentation are important to me and to your customer; much has been done to improve that.  The industry has come a very long way since I entered into it 4 decades ago.

So Santa Claus, let it not ever be said that I am easy to satisfy.  I have a few other ideas.

I guess that most of your have a collar cone.  Many of you may not use it correctly.  In order to get the highest quality product, a shirt needs to stay on the collar cone for 30-60 seconds (1 cycle), in exactly the manner that you see pictured here.

This shirt will look really amazing when it comes off this collar cone because the collar has cured, uh, standing up.  Not rolled down.  You have all seen collars that look like this:

dec2 dec1Unfortunately, you can get this unsightly product even if you use a collar cone.  And even if you use the collar cone correctly.  This happens because once the collar is rolled downward like this, nothing will make it stand up again.  This collar has received was is, in effect, a soft press in the wrong way.

So, dear Santa Claus, what we need is a collar cone that has a collar clamp, similar to the collar clamp on a body buck, that will hold the collar roll up.  The clamp, as well as the cone itself will be heated.  The result will be a stand-up collar!

What the industry needs is an easy-to-use software product that will help you to manage your labor cost.  Plant operators manage labor as best they can, but there is no tool to make it fool-proof.  They rely on their POS, which, because they measure pieces in and out, not pieces processed, is ineffective.  If your labor is out of line, you find out about it a week late.  You need to be able to tell at 9 am on Monday if your labor cost is trending in the wrong direction, not at 4pm on Friday.  I’m going to get on this one right away!

I was at the appliance store yesterday and I saw something that is hard to comprehend; a refrigerator with a camera built into it.  Really.  There is a remarkably large TV screen on one of the doors and a camera inside the refrigerator.  Touch an icon on the screen and you can see what is inside.  You can tag the food with dates, for example, you can tag a package of hamburger as 2 days old.  I imagine that the next day, that tag is incremented to show that the meat is 3 days old.  So if someone thinks that is a good idea, then how about a camera on a shirt press?

Perhaps you could scroll through the shirts that have been pressed.  With that, you could spot trends.  For example, when Betty presses 3 out of 10 shirts have a pressing defect on the back, but when Maria presses, there are no defects on the backs of any shirts.  The conclusion suggests that Betty needs to be retrained.  The camera told the story.  That’s gotta be better than telling me something that I already knew.  I bought the hamburger last week!

“If you do what you’ve done, you’ll get what you always got!”