Business Philosophy

How to raise your labor cost without really trying.

How to raise your labor cost without really trying.

It seems that this should be a column that I write in the middle of the slow season.  But you are reading this in the middle of the busiest time of year.  This is the time that you’ve looked forward to all year.  Now is when you have the most amount of cash left over at the end of the bills.  But let’s try to learn some lessons from this busy time and perhaps that will translate into real cash savings come the dog days of summer.

Let’s fast-forward into the future, to the summer of 2018.

It’s Not a Mall, It’s a University!

It’s not a Mall, it’s a University.

Some people simply love to go shopping.  It’s a trek to the Mall to look for things that you want more than the money that you have in your pocket, or perhaps will have in your pocket over the next year or two.  I suppose its ok to be like that; its not for me to judge.  But in business, there may be reasons to analyze that a bit more.  In business, the purpose is to generate revenue.  Buying “stuff” just for the purpose of doing so could be counterproductive if that acquisition of “stuff” is more a purchase than an investment.  An investment is something that feels a lot like a purchase, but it has a hidden agenda.  The difference is that when you invest, the intent is that by acquiring this new product, system, method or equipment, you will generate more revenue than you needed to put into it in the first place.  This is not a new concept.  You’ve heard the line; “this will pay for itself in 2 years!” (or some other attractive length of time).  That’s an investment – at least on paper.  But suppose it doesn’t happen?  You bought a new POS because you were promised (or led to believe) that it would prevent theft, increase revenue, assure consistent pricing.  You bought a sandwich legger to double your production, or a double-buck shirt unit for the same reason.  Did you get what you bargained for?  If not, did the man in the mirror do his/her part?  Did you measure?  Did you manage?  Results never happen without that.  Never.

Judging your own Quality

I was at a car dealer the other day.  The business manager sat at his desk while he dutifully went about his job.  All that I could see was his shirt.  It was awful.  It is virtually impossible to be kinder than that.  It was a (supposedly) white shirt with French cuffs.  He wore cuff links.  There were at least  three major pressing errors and the shirt was dingy and many shades away from white.  The French cuffs weren’t folded at the proper place and the cuffs themselves were hardly “off-white”, they were gray.  It was hard to believe that anyone would put that shirt on and wear it.   I can’t believe that I was such a geek to be paying that much attention.  But it really isn’t because I am in the garment care industry.  The shirt looked awful.  It was hard not to notice.  It was even a bit too small for him and that was most noticeable at the cuffs. I hate to mock this guy, but he probably felt like a pseudo big shot because he sent his shirts out to the cleaners.  His cleaner did him no favors.  I wanted to snap a picture, but I don’t think that the shirt would have looked as bad in print as it did in person.  So I will swap out the picture in exchange for the thousand words.  I was tempted to say, “Who does your shirts?”  But if I had asked him, chances are high that I would have heard of the cleaner (this occurred about 30 miles from my home) and I cannot imagine what my rebuttal to his answer could have been.  “Oh yeah, I know the guy.  He does a terrible shirt and you should be embarrassed.”  I was certain that whoever his cleaner is, he is definitely not a client because the shirt was pressed on an old-fashioned 3 piece unit and I don’t have any clients around here that still use a sleever, so I took some comfort in that.  Some of what was wrong with this shirt cannot be blamed on the cleaner.  It was old and spent.  I figure the shirt was 10-12 years old.  The lack of a good fit can only be attributed to the wearer.  So what were the defects?

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