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Shirts are a Pain Because….

Shirts are a pain because we treat them as the red-headed stepchild.  Right from the start – when a customer comes to the counter with shirts – they are treated as an outsider.  There is one procedure for all of the items that we service – pants, dresses, sweaters, suits, coats, jackets, ties, gowns, blazers, etc. – and a different procedure for shirts.  In some plants, learning to mark-in shirts is considered to be advanced training.  It is something that you are taught after you’ve learned some of the more basic things like running the computer, waiting on customers and vacuuming the rug.

Prohibit Sarcasm

I have a busy professional life.  That must be obvious outwardly because I am very often asked; “When do you find time to write your columns?”  The answer is “On airplanes.”  I usually have 3 or 4 columns in the works at the same time and on occasion, an idea for a column comes to me and I defer the completion of the articles in progress and favor my latest brainstorm.  The works in progress are often general shirt related subjects like “how to press a better shirt” or “Why aren’t my shirts getting clean”.  The brainstorms usually come from a particular incident that has recently occurred at someone’s drycleaning plant.  There is a third type and they tend to be more philosophical.  They tend to be ideological webs that are far easier for me to think than to type.  There have been two on my computer for well over a year.  I am committed to completing them because I think that they are important. Today, I’ll carry on more about these philosophies that are more on the general side rather than specific to shirt laundering.  Still, they have value in your shirt department as well as your general day to day duties of running a drycleaning business.

Evaluating the Quality of your Shirts

Evaluating the quality of your shirts.

Just by reading the title of this month’s article, you may have already formulated a firm opinion as to where you fit in.  I have clients that have done this well before I ever meet them.  They usually have a number.  That is, they have rated the shirts that come out of their plants on a scale of one to ten.  Many of them are actually quite conservative with their evaluations.  That is a whole lot better than those that claim to produce a perfect shirt.  It isn’t likely that anyone can maintain perfection in this business.  If you, at times produce a “perfect” shirt, do not use that as your “poster child.”  Doing so is the equivalent of wearing blinders.  A manager’s job is to look for trouble, find it before a customer does and fix it before it before it becomes a customer service issue.  The better your operation, the harder it will be to find problems.  Look for quality issues and call them “opportunities” rather than problems.  They are truly opportunities.  Opportunities to exercise your management skills.  Opportunities to improve your business.  Someone much smarter than me once said;  “Many of us shy away from opportunities because they are often dressed in overalls and look too much like work.”  Get over it.

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