"I didn't get my uniforms delivered this week."
This the most common complaint our Sales Team hears when talking with prospective customers using another work uniform rental supplier. In the textile rental industry, this common problem is call a shortage.
This blog post explains why work uniform rental shortages occur and how we eliminate them.
Why Do Shortages Occur?
Some reasons include the following:
- Uniforms were picked up for cleaning, but didn't leave the laundry in time for the customer's next delivery the following week
- Garments from different wearers/accounts may be tied together when staged for clean delivery
- The Route Service Representative (driver) may have put the garments in the wrong locker when making a clean delivery or delivered them to the wrong customer
- It may take the laundry more than a week to fix a garment in need of repair or to replace a worn garment pulled from service where there is no garment available for return on the following week's clean delivery
Other reasons why a wearer may not have enough clean uniforms:
- Somebody may have put their soiled garments in the designated soiled garment pick up spot after the Route Service Representative made his soiled pick up and clean delivery
- The uniform wearer may not have enough inventory to support the number of days a week that they work - i.e., they may only have enough uniforms issued for a five-day work week; if they work a six-day week, they won't have enough clean uniform to wear, so this shortage of uniforms wasn't necessary the laundry's fault even though the wearer did not have a clean uniform for the sixth day they worked
How to Eliminate Shortages
At Roscoe, we have many systems in place to reduce the occurrence of shortages, but when they do occur, we also know that we have to respond immediately to make sure team members are in uniform and ready to report to work. These are a few of the things we do:
Every Uniform Has an RFID Chip & Barcode
When we pick up a garment for cleaning, it's scanned as being received, we scan and track the garment if it requires special attention (repair, replacement, rewash, etc.) and then we scan the garment again when ready for delivery. The RFID chip and bar code contain the information and history of every garment issued so that if one is detached from the garment, we still have the other. The chip allows us to process merchandise quicker, allowing more time for inspection when ready for delivery, and the bar code is man-readable showing the wearer's sort/locker number so the Route Service Rep. knows where to place the garment when returning it clean.
Soiled Garments Are Washed & Finished the Next Morning
The same or next day, they are then sorted by route, customer and wearer. 2-3 days before the customer's next delivery, their clean merchandise is ready for delivery and we make sure that what was picked up for cleaning is in fact ready for the customer's next delivery. If something is missing, we either locate it or provide a temporary garment on next delivery (it is a rarity that we actually have to do this). This system ensures that if 5 soiled garments are turned in for cleaning, 5 clean garments are ready for delivery the following week.
Our System Ensures that All Garments Are Sorted & Delivered Correctly
We have a system to ensure that individual's garments are not bundled together when staged for clean delivery and we label the inside and outside of lockers to reduce the likelihood of clean garments being put in the wrong locker. We also clearly separate each account's garments to help ensure each of our customer's garments are delivered back to their business and not somebody else's.
We Educate all Work Uniform Wearers
Educational literature is provided to each wearer when they start our uniform program that explains how assigned inventory works and how and when to have soiled garments staged for pick up by our Route Service Representative. This information is also posted where garments are stored at customer's location so everyone understands how the program works.
How We Handle Mistakes
When we do stub our toe and make a mistake... and we will, we have an aggressive one-hour response policy. This means that, if we can't be at your doorstep within the hour, we'll at least let you know what is being done to resolve a particular situation within an hour of receiving your call.
If you want to eliminate work uniform rental shortages, let's talk before your current contract auto-renews for another 3-5 years. We can tell you more about our people, processes and facility and show you how we can handle all of your work uniform rental needs, in addition to custom floor mats, shop towels and wipers, dust and wet mops, restroom supplies, and anything else you might need to ensure a clean and safe working environment.