|True Cost of Packaging Enhancements|
|There are dozens, perhaps a hundred or more types of products that will enhance your finished product. You probably use many of them yourself. Coat retainers, garment covers, sweater bags, plastic butterflies for shirts, cuff clips, cuff links, bust forms, shoulder guards & tissue paper are just a few examples.
Before you begin using a new one of these, consider the true cost of these packaging enhancements. The cost goes far beyond your cost to purchase them. The labor involved to affix them can be significant. Furthermore, there can be a catastrophic backfire. Consider this: Let's say that you are currently using coat retainers on sport coats and blazers and decide that the sleeves should be stuffed with tissue. Also, you are tying the cuffs on your shirts together with a cuff clip and you want to enhance your finished shirt with plastic butterflies. Someone will need to put these on. Let's say it is the inspector in their respective departments. Now you add these additional duties. Is there time to do it? Will you need to add an additional employee? You probably won't even consider hiring an additional person just to affix or attach packaging. And assuming that you don't, is the result a backed up inspection area? If so, does it mean that employees take more time to finish up after the pressing is done? The extra labor that you incur may be attributable to the packaging enhancements that you've added. I am not discouraging the introduction of these at all. They can be a very worthwhile investment, just be aware of what that investment costs.
But suppose the inspector still keeps up to the flow of garments from the pressing arena. Is there a cost then? It is possible that the inspector no longer has time to inspect the shirts because he/she is too busy stuffing sleeves or adding butterflies? This is a catastrophe. You, in effect, have traded away quality for paper and plastic. Bad choice. Packaging should not be used to cover up substandard quality. In fact, I believe that they often are.
Consider the plastic butterfly. This is a clear plastic device that is used to prevent the dreaded "droopy" collar. The droopy collar is usually easily preventable, but instead often the cause is allowed to continue and the butterfly is affixed as if it were a mask. I recommend them because they add professionalism. But be sure that you add them for the right reason. Any type of packaging device must be used to protect and retain a look, not to make it happen. In the photo, we have the dreaded "droopy collar." There are a number of things that could have caused this. Getting to the bottom of that is what really needs to be done. If a cardboard or plastic butterfly is attached to this shirt, you may feel better about yourself and your product, but the fact is, when the customer removes that fluff, they will reveal your true product which is what you see pictured. Don't think that the collar will be standing at attention. It won't.
So here is what has happened:
It is very likely that your overall quality has slipped a notch, but the paradox is that you think the reverse is true. Now your collars stand up and your finished product looks better and more professional. Somehow, minor (or not so minor) issues that used to get touched-up get ignored now. Too bad. Placing a cost on that is far too cosmic. What is the cost of diminished quality? I don't think that anyone knows, but we all know that it is something.
So now, it costs you more to do a poorer job. Is there a place for these enhancements? Absolutely! As long as it is for the right reason. Don't cover up a droopy collar with plastic or cardboard! Press the collar correctly so that it stands at attention and then preserve it with plastic or cardboard so that the shirt looks as good when the customer wears it as it did when it was hot off the press! That is worth a nickel per shirt! (Remember, not a penny ... a nickel).
You are dying to ask me how to prevent a droopy collar, aren't you? It isn't that hard. Most likely the collar simply is not completely dry. That could have a dozen causes:
I think that I made my point. Don't throw bodies-labor-money at a problem. Fix the real problem! Sometimes it takes a real effort to find out what the real problem is, but it is always cheaper than labor. Everything is cheaper than labor!