With the Clean Show just around the corner, your old shirt may be just fine, but are you aware of what the new units are capable of?

We have all wished for the shirt unit that produces a shirt that requires no touch-up whatsoever.  We are closer to that then you may think. There is always the training issue that can throw that concept to the wolves, but given a properly trained and supervised employee, you can produce a heck of a good shirt off a modern shirt unit.

So, what can a new shirt unit do that your current unit cannot do?  Ultimately, it can save you a lot of money.  It can even pay for itself.

First, let’s establish a benchmark and establish a definition for the term “no touch-up”. It’s not going to be literal.  Very large or very small shirts or tailored shirts will preclude you from ever having to touch-up all.  The percentage of touch-ups, as a goal, should be 8%.  That is a very small percentage and perhaps to the point of unfathomable by you at this point, but it is doable.  This does require good management and a trained, conscientious employee.  If this results in the reduction of a fulltime employee, you can easily save $1200 per month; covering the monthly cost of a new shirt press.

So how do we get to 8% touch-up?  I have clients that claim 100% touch-up.  First of all, if you still have a sleeve press, be aware that most of your pressing defects are caused by the sleeve press.  Defects around the sleeve gussets (the area around your wrists when you wear the shirt) are caused by the sleeve press when you don’t properly clamp the cuffs in place.  Many cuff clamps are broken and have been broken for years.  If the cuff clamp itself works properly, the pad underneath the clamp is often deteriorated or missing, causing the cuff to slip downward. The padding on the sleeve press buck is very thin by design, therefore the press quality isn’t going to be very good in any case, so it’s going to be difficult to get the sleeve gusset area to look great.  Also, there tends to be a crease at the top of the sleeve.  This is caused by the sleeve riding up on the sleeve buck a bit. You want to pull down on the back as the press heads close, but that isn’t always, possible, practical or safe.

If you fail to attach the cuff at the exactcorrect place there will be a press defect.  Where it will be and how bad the defect will be depends on how you actually attached the cuff with the clamp.  Attach the cuff too high, there will be an unpressed, rough-dry area in between the cuff and the sleeve.  If the two cuffs are not attached in an identical manner – that is, one high, one low – the sleeve measuring device will not work correctly because the measuring device will rely on only one of the seams.  A defect on at least one of the sleeves is guaranteed. There will be 1) an unpressed area at the extreme top of the sleeve (near the chest when you’re wearing the shirt), or 2) an over-pressed area where the sleeve press pressed a part of the front of the shirt, resulting in sharp, pressed-in wrinkles on the front of the shirt, or 3) one of each of these defects on each side of the shirt.

All of this goes away with a blown sleeve unit.  The quality of the finish is better than you think, and the blown sleeve apparatus isn’t going to cause any unwanted defects.  Before my personal shirts were pressed on a blown sleeve unit, I always felt that the finish would be undesirable.  Not so.

So that’s the argument for getting rid of your sleeve press, but perhaps you’ve already done that. After all, blown sleeve units have been around for over 20 years now.  But do you know that collar/cuff presses have changed a lot too?  So much so, that I see no reason to buy a regular collar/cuff press these days.  For very little additional money, you can buy a collar/cuff press that can press two shirts at one time, in the same footprint as one that can press just one shirt! Only a few years ago, pressing a second shirt to boost production required 30 additional square feet of floor space, not to mention an additional $10,000.  This is a technological breakthrough.  If you have a double-buck shirt unit, but only one collar/cuff machine, buying one of these at the Clean Show will pay for itself with increased productivity within a few months!

And we are always concerned about breakdowns and downtime.  The modern, technologically advanced machines diagnose themselves. And these days, they don’t just go that with a simple “error code” that you need to look up and read about to find out what’s wrong.  The most modern machines display a photo of the defective part, along with instructions on how to fix it!  Even a novice can get a disabled machine back on line in no time.  How’s that for saving labor?

And to help with that all-important training, some machines even have built-in employee training videos!

It’s always nice to get new equipment, but I always want to equipment to be free, somehow.  I want equipment to be paid for with some sort of real savings.  Usually that savings is labor, but sometimes it is utilities or something else, but remember that it always must be kept in check with good management.  Without good management, savings can ben chancy, sketchy or even non-existent