Journals 2014

Christmas Wish List

northpoleSo here we are, once again, the end of the year Holiday season and time for my annual wish list. I work on this column year round because I am always looking for new and better ways to do things. It helps to keep my mind open. When I expanded my business into India, I was quite impressed with the focus on presentation of finished goods; the packaging. I said this before, when I wrote about my experiences in India; I was so enthralled with how great my clothes looked that I didn’t unwrap the last shirt for over a year. It literally looked better than new. I have at least one client that is a boutique cleaner, and their could teach all of us a whole lot about packaging. Many garments are returned to the customer in decorator boxes. “Better than new” is an understatement. But this isn’t what I’m asking Santa for. This sort of packaging already exists. What I’m thinking of is a line packaging for all type of garments that raise our level of professionalism to new heights. The folded shirts from India were folded over a cardboard that was much larger than what we see here. I guess about 9 inches wide and 15 or 16 inches tall. This was covered by a crystal-clear wrap that was somewhere in between cellophane and poly. And the cello-wrap fit snugly over the shirt, resulting in a package that was durable. You can’t toss around a folded shirt that’s been packaged here. It would easily fall out of the loose bag and fall apart. Not so with a shirt that’s been securely packaged. You could toss it around a room, for sure, but more importantly, such a package could travel in a suitcase around the world and still look better than new. I know, because I’ve done it. As a bonus, the image enhancement would be unparalleled. This industry needs a full line of affordable but effective new ways to present our hard work. Let’s get out of the box!

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Screw Conveyors

You have all heard about screw rails; you know, those screw conveyors that are designed to move a pressed garment from one place to another. Usually, this is from the press area to the inspection theater.

I have encountered a variety plants that have screw rails and the situations are vastly different and that is a bit of a surprise. How can there be any complications with such a simple thing as moving garments from one place to another with a conveyor?

Screw rails have a stigma that labels them a luxury. Nobody seems to talk about their true benefit. I will fill you in soon. The “luxury” of them, in my view, is completely trivialized by the real advantage that they bring to the table. Few people really recognize that advantage though for one or more of the following reasons:

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How to treat employees

The dirty little secret about business is that hidden cost that far exceeds the other generally recognized high costs of running a business. It’s not rent. Its not utilities or supplies and its not even labor cost. Surely labor is your biggest expense, by volume, and it certainly is a constant challenge to keep it in check. But the most expensive individual item that you pay for is employee training. It is out-of-control expensive and I fear that too often you don’t get your money’s worth.

Let’s say that you have a 2-person double-buck shirt unit. Generally, these two employees combine to do 90 shirts per hour. Each employee cost you, say, $12 per hour. That is a total of $24 paid out to do 90 shirts, or about 27 cents each. Add to that, another 27 cents for two other support people that combine to do the washing, inspection, touch-up, buttons, assembly and bagging. 54 cents per shirt.

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