I’m all for being efficient. Efficiency saves production labor, production costs, makes for quicker workdays, and so on and so on. This is true for any industry that has a labor factor. The very definition of efficiency by the dictionary and related sources is to describe and prescribe the extent to which time, effort or cost is well used for the intended task or purpose. (Wikepedia, 2012) Trying to produce a specific outcome relative to the boundaries set within the parameters of your particular business, in this case our plants, is the ultimate goal. Of course, you might imagine this is true of any industry. The ultimate purpose is to make more money. That can also be the downfall of a good business-knowing when to find the right boundaries of your business paradigm without losing quality.
The very term “efficient,” is as confusing as a goat on Astroturf! Efficiency is a measured concept. Your business goal sets the boundaries that keep you in the correct operating principles. Always keeping in mind not to lose your product quality in the process. I wish it were so in businesses today with all the cutbacks. Darned if what I say isn’t so. When you go anywhere and purchase anything – the price has gone up, but the quality, and quantity, have diminished. It never fails. Greedy corporate types and self serving stock holders will drive quality in the ground just so they can assure themselves continuing profits without a hit. It disgusts me to no end.
“Exceeding Your Customers’ Expectations, Is The Hallmark Of Your Business”
A simple way of distinguishing between efficiency and effectiveness is the saying, “Efficiency is doing things right, while effectiveness is doing the right things.” This is based on the premise that selections of objectives of a process are just as important as the quality of that process. For instance, if you can leave quality and productivity in your business model, then increased revenue, increased volume and increased profits will follow. Exceeding your customers’ expectations is the hallmark of your business. Only you can make that happen by watching over your quality and packaging.
An example of lowering the quality in our industry might mean the difference between a decent strong hanger as opposed to a weak lightweight one that will bend with the slightest movement. Your customer will notice this! Another horror to your quality might be dropping the amount of drycleaning or laundry detergent you add. While we all know that too much detergent is about as bad as not enough, it begs one to wonder why anyone would reduce the proper amount of detergents and additives in laundry or drycleaning. Your customer will notice this!
It amuses me to watch some operators having the employees make a mad dash to finish as early as possible and slam everything out just to meet an operational deadline. Haste makes waste. Efficiency is measuring how well one can manage operating with an eye on productivity without running a marathon in the production area. The resulting garments will suffer in quality. Your customer will notice this!
Working within the safe industry standards and boundaries of the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute standards will pilot your production efforts to a quality product. Hiring on an efficiency expert that cannot even spell quality is no efficiency expert. This business has more “experts” than Carter has liver pills! Operating a plant for 35 years does not make one an expert. Ho hum, attitudes and working to please the boss so he may save more money is not putting out a quality product. Your customer will notice this!
Productive labor below 30% will result in “so-so” work. Is that how you want to be known? As a marginal business representation of your quality? I would think not. Productive labor is known in these working job description positions:
• Markers and taggers
• Prespotting after cleaning
• Post spotting
• Drycleaning operator
• Laundry operator
My friend in Canada, Sheldon Fishman, recently wrote about Efficiency and Profits. I agree with most points, particularly concerning machine replacements, which can greatly affect your productive percentages. Any way you slice it, once beyond the variables you can change, just remember to perform all production tasks wisely and keep a sharp eye on your final product. Don’t let your product quality slip in an effort to save money. Cutting corners may spell doom. Your customers will eventually notice the difference!
I’m headin’ to the wagon now, these boots are killin’ me!
I wish everyone a great, happy and prosperous New Year! Get ready for 2013!